By Linda Haase
Canceled. Postponed. Suspended. Shut down.
One by one our favorite places closed in fallout from the coronavirus — including greenmarkets in Lake Worth Beach, Lantana, Delray Beach, Boca Raton and beyond.
With social distancing the new normal, several farmers markets have carved out versions of working remotely.
Less than 24 hours after organizers at the Lake Worth Beach Farmers Market were told to close, they came up with a plan: an online market, where they would coordinate transactions between vendors and customers and arrange deliveries.
“Giving up just isn’t in our nature and we decided that there had to be a way to turn a negative situation into a positive experience, as opposed to just giving up on our customers and vendors,” explains manager Emily Theodossakos.
The response has been phenomenal — about 20 vendors are participating.
Among items available: raw, local unfiltered honey, fruit, farm fresh eggs, vegan muffins, baked goods, coconut water, olive oil, specialty clothing and jewelry, soap and edible flowers.
“In addition, and what we are most proud of, is that our main farmer is making a variety box that includes various fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and two dozen farm fresh eggs,” says Theodossakos. “We are taking orders from customers and arranging for home deliveries. So far we are up to about 50 produce box delivery orders and it’s only been two days since we started this.”
The Lantana Shoreline Green Market, in its inaugural season, may have been the last to close — its last day was March 15.
Now, Hector V. Herrera, the market’s founder and manager, is spearheading a virtual greenmarket focusing on essential foods that can be ordered online and delivered.
“We want to give people hope and a light at the end of the tunnel,” he said about the project, which should launch by early April. “We are working hard to make sure farmers can still have a direct connection to people who need their products.”
The abrupt closures also halted the winter/spring Delray Beach GreenMarket and the Boca Raton Greenmarket, along with the Artisans & Green Market at Mizner Park, which opened for the first time on Feb. 9.
“The vendors were in tears and the customers were asking how they were going to get things,” said Laurie Landgrebe, who sells homemade gourmet granolas and muesli at her booth, Laurie’s Pantry, at the Delray market. “It is devastating. March and April are high season for us, when we make money.”
So, she reached out to vendors from several green-markets in South Florida, offering her Hallandale warehouse as a distribution point, and is in the process of setting up an online market.
Customers will find items sold at several greenmarkets, follow a link for more information about them, and order home delivery, she said.
Keeping greenmarkets in business is vital.
“All our vendors are local small businesses who have families to support and they rely on the market income, so these closures have put many in a difficult financial position,” says Theodossakos. “As we always say, the fruits and vegetables don’t stop growing, but if the farmers don’t have a way to sell it, sadly it goes to waste. We’re trying to do our part to help everyone through this difficult time.”
• Lake Worth Beach Farmers Market: Lakeworthfarmersmarket@gmail.com or a private message on Facebook.
• Delray Beach GreenMarket: Farmersmarketstogo.com.
• Lantana Shoreline Green Market: Shorelinegreenmarkets.com or via Facebook.