Farmers’ Market to resume Saturday walk-up markets with COVID-19 precautions.

Starting in August, the Farmers’ Market will offer walk-up shopping from 9:30 A.M to 1:00 P.M. on Saturdays at its new location on Willow Island. Photo: Dane County Farmers’ Market, used with permission.

Author: Sam Buisman

The Dane County Farmers’ Market plans to resume its traditional Saturday markets with pandemic-related precautions at its Willow Island location next month. 

According to a press release, the Farmers’ Market will again offer its famous walk-up Saturday markets beginning on Aug. 1 but with additional rules to keep customers and vendors safe from COVID-19, including mandatory mask-wearing, enforced social-distancing and heightened food-handling precautions. The walk-up market will run from 9:30 A.M to 1:00 P.M. on Saturdays, while the Farmers’ Market will continue to offer its drive-thru pick-up service from 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M. on Sundays and 3:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. on Wednesdays. 

Market Manager Sarah J. Elliott said in a press release that the Farmers’ Market hopes to meet the various safety needs of its customers through both services.

“Many of our loyal customers love the Local Food Pick Ups because they can leisurely shop from their homes and then safely and efficiently drive-thru the Pick Up while the farmers place their orders in their vehicles, but we also understand that some customers prefer to shop in-person,” said Elliott. “By continuing the Local Food Pick Ups and also adding a new walk-up component, we hope to be able to meet the needs of all of our customers in a safe manner.” 

While the Farmers’ Market shifted from its iconic Capitol Square walk-up markets to a drive-thru model on Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center at the beginning of its outdoor season, Farmers’ Market officials announced in early July that the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic will keep the market off of the square for the rest of its season. 

This re-opening comes as COVID-19 cases continue to shoot up in Dane County. According to Public Health Madison and Dane County, the county confirmed 358 new COVID-19 cases over the last week, with its total confirmed cases now sitting at 3,825.