For people looking for local food during the COVID-19 crisis, the choices may be fewer, but there are still plenty of places to buy it.
The Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Farmers Market is closed until further notice, because the city shut down the entire fairgrounds property, including the adjacent Joel Coliseum.
Cobblestone Farmers Market will take place this weekend but at a new location. It will be outdoors in the parking lot at 1001 S. Marshall St. from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. It is opening a half-hour early to allow seniors or high-risk customers shop between 8:30 and 9.
The outdoor setting will allow increased distances between vendor tables. Pets will not be permitted. Cash will be accepted. Many vendors are offering pre-orders. Visit Cobblestone’s Facebook page for details.
Also, the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market in Colfax remains open. Hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
It is still early for most of the seasonal farmers markets to open, and several should be making announcements in the coming weeks.
The brick-and-mortar small markets are remaining open for the time being.
Ronnie’s Country Store, 642 N. Cherry St., is keeping regular hours: 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Owner Ronnie Horton said he has been careful to keep 10 or fewer customers in the store at a time in accordance with the White House’s social-distancing recommendations. “This is a slow time of year for us, so six or eight people here is a crowd anyway,” he said. “But we also have a lot of customers who live downtown and maybe don’t have a car or can’t get around to other stores.”
Other markets have reported an increase in business.
“We’re busier than normal,” said Sandy Hester, who co-owns Lewisville Country Market, with her husband, Roger.
The market, at 6373 Shallowford Road in Lewisville, has begun offering curbside service, but also is allowing customers in the stores.
It is keeping normal hours — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday — and continues to get deliveries from its regular suppliers.
“Pretty much everybody is still coming, except a few elderly customers,” Hester said. “There seems to be a need for it. Even though restaurants are doing takeout, I think people are staying home.”
The Triad Co-op’s market, which operates inside Acadia Foods at 228 W. Acadia Ave., also has been busy.
“We’ll stay open as long as Acadia Foods stays open,” said co-op member Carol Zerner.
As of Friday, Acadia, which offers takeout and delivery, had adjusted its hours to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
“Business is much higher for us,” Zerner said of the co-op market. “People are coming in to get takeout and they’re also shopping in the store while they’re here.”
Supplies of food have not been a problem.
“We got a huge order today,” Zerner said Thursday. “We even got one load of toilet paper, though we’ll probably have to limit sales of that. And we got a lot of fresh eggs from Harmony Ridge (a farm in Tobaccoville). We’re trying to help our farmers.”
Supplies from area farms also were plentiful at Let It Grow Produce, 1318 S. Hawthorne Road, though owner Becky Zollicofer has begun to change the way she serves customers.
“The problem isn’t getting it, it’s keeping it stocked. I’ve been busy every day,” Zollicofer said. But sometimes she has been too busy and the store got crowded and customers weren’t keeping the recommended social distance of 6 feet.
She then set up a tent outside with her cash register and by Friday had stopped allowing people in the store. Though business has been good, she said, she has noticed a reluctance of people to stray from home. So beginning next week, she is going to offer pre-ordering for delivery only. Details can be found on Let It Grow Produce Facebook page.
“Today, if someone comes to the store,” she said Friday, “I’ll just ask them what they want and go in and get it for them.”