Farmers markets grew quickly in number and popularity in the past decade, but this year some new rules are springing up to help keep shoppers safe as they peruse locally grown produce and handmade crafts.

Social distancing and masks have been required for all vendors and, in most markets, for shoppers as well. These rules helped residents and visitors get ready for the governor’s order that masks be worn in various Oregon counties, including Lincoln County, as of Wednesday, June 24.

“Our first day went really well,” said Lincoln City Farmers Market manager Lori Lemons. “The customers for the most part complied with the regulations with no problem, and some even came back to thank us because, even with all the new rules, it was a little bit back to the old normal. But our whole thing is safety for our visitors and our staff; we have older ones and even little ones that come to the market and we want to protect them.”

Having to limit the number of people in the market at any one time to allow for social distancing meant an extra job for market managers but, according to Lemons, the efforts received a positive response

“We had a little back-up a few times but I don’t think anyone left unhappy,” she said. “We apologized but people just said ‘We’re just so glad you’re here.’ One customer said the farmers market gives them hope, and another said ‘I got my berries and it made my day.’ We’re the original farmers market in this area and we wanted to open as soon as we could, so if we have to work a little harder, it’s worth it.”

While visitors to the market will see plenty of familiar faces (at least from the eyes up) a few new vendors are keeping things fresh.

“We have some exciting new booths like Brandywine Fisheries who are bringing fresh, locally caught fish; and Bear Valley Nursery, who will have lots of vegetable starts for your garden,” Lemons said. “La Bonita Bakery came a few years ago and did street tacos but we really needed a bakery and they stepped up and are doing a great job.”

The Lincoln City Farmers and Crafters Market is held Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm and is located on the lawn of the Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NE Hwy. 101. For more information, go to www.lincolncityfarmersmarket.org.

The Newport Farmers Market began its outside operation in mid-June and will continue through October on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm. The market is located on the corner of Angle and Hwy. 101, and includes a hot food court.

One of the largest markets on the central coast, the Newport market will operate a staggered schedule of vendors so that booths can stay a healthy distance apart from each other. Visit the market Facebook page to see which dates your favorite vendors will be in attendance.

Yachats Farmers Market, which will continue on Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm, is located at W. 4th Street and Hwy. 101, with locally grown and organic produce, local artisan foods products and locally made natural crafts. The Yachats Ladies Club will be selling handmade items that are normally offered at the group’s bazaars, which have been cancelled this year. Visit the market’s Facebook page for more information.

The Neskowin Farmers Market is on Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm. Usually located at the Neskowin Beach Wayside, the market is being temporarily held in Neskowin Valley School’s covered play area at 10005 Slab Creek Road, about four miles inland from the wayside. Parking is available in the gravel lot and you will have to walk around the building to the play area. Check neskowinfarmersmarket.com to stay updated on location information. The small-but-quality market features produce from Corvus Landing, and Mama Tee’s Farm, seafood from Barnacle Bill’s Seafood Market,\ and artisan cheeses from Nestucca Bay Creamery.

Tillamook Farmers Market, which runs Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm, is located on the corner of Laurel Avenue and 2nd Street. The Kids Bucks program is back; get your bucks or more information at the Market HQ Trailer and grab a fun Food Hero activity to take home. Completed activities can be posted online and winners will receive a prize. For more information, go to tillamookchamber.org/Tillamook-Farmers-Market.

Pacific City Farmers Market, which opens Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm is located on the library grounds at the corner of Camp Street and Brooten Road. Vendors include Grow, Forage, Cook Ferment, who offer edible flowers to bring some extra color to your meals. Find more information on the Pacific City Farmers Market Facebook page

One last rule; pet owners love to bring their dogs to the markets, but this year you are asked to please leave your canine companions at home.

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