For many seniors, one of the best parts of summer is being able to spend time outdoors. This year that’s especially true. After months of being forced indoors because of winter weather and threats posed by the coronavirus, warmer temperatures and blue skies are a welcome relief. If you are looking for some safe activities to enjoy outside, your local farmers’ market might be one to consider.
Local farmers’ markets offer many benefits to older adults:
- Budget-friendly produce and plants
- Opportunity to walk for exercise outdoors
- Access to organic fruits and vegetables
An added bonus is that most farmers’ markets have worked hard to implement safe shopping practices to protect visitors from the coronavirus.
What can you do to make the most of your local farmer’s market while still staying safe? We have a few suggestions.
5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Local Farmer’s Market
1. Research the market online: Our first suggestion is to check out the farmer’s market website and Facebook page. Most list their vendors and what each one has to offer. Farmers’ markets often share a map with the location of each vendor for visitors to print. It helps you plot your route before you head out. You can also use the map to locate handicapped parking and restrooms.
2. Consider shopping times: Once you are familiar with the market, you’ll likely discover there are good times and bad times to shop. Right after work, for example, is when markets tend to be crowded. If you shop early or late, you might be more comfortable. Shopping right before the market closes might earn you a few bargains from vendors who don’t want to haul unsold items back home, but you also run the risk of favorite items being sold out.
3. Dress with care: Sunny days at outdoor markets require the right apparel. Uneven sidewalks and pavement, common at farmers’ markets, present fall risks. Sneakers or walking shoes are probably a better choice than sandals. Protect yourself from the sun by applying—and reapplying—a quality sunscreen. A hat that shields your face and sunglasses to protect your eyes are also essentials. And don't forget to wear a mask!
4. Pack cash and your own bags: Another tip to make your outing go more smoothly is to bring cash and reusable shopping bags with handles. Vendors appreciate not having to pay credit card fees. Bringing your own bags is an environmentally friendly choice that also makes it easier to carry your purchases.
5. Get to know the growers: Our last tip to make the most of a local farmer’s market is to get to know the growers. They are a wealth of information. For example, you can learn how to prepare and store produce. You can pick up tips to make fresh flowers last longer or how to grow a perennial plant you purchase. You’re also likely to find produce you’ve never tried before, such as kohlrabi or yard-long beans.
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It is more important than ever right now to follow all of the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. This includes practicing good hand hygiene, social distancing, wearing a face mask, and frequently cleaning high touch surfaces.
Read this blog to learn more about infection control efforts at Sunrise.