Lenexa Farmers Market opens with extra safety measures, reserved hours for at-risk shoppers

The Lenexa Farmers Market is going to look different on Saturday. City staff added one-way foot traffic patterns, physical distancing between vendors and hand-washing stations, among many other changes. Photo credit Bill Harrison. File photo.

The Lenexa Farmers Market will open its third season this Saturday morning with 15 vendors. The farmers market was originally set to open April 25, but plans were delayed due to COVID-19.

“City staff and our vendors have been working very hard and waiting patiently to open this season,” said Logan Wagler, deputy director of parks and recreation in Lenexa. “We know that the public’s access to fresh produce and products is so important during this time. What better way is there than to shop locally at a community farmers market?”

Wagler said staff took extra time to develop responsible operating plans for the market that prioritize health and safety of everyone. The market will function as a walk-up market without a drive-through option. Operations are subject to change with the progression of the pandemic.

“While this year’s market may look and feel a bit different, we hope everyone comes out and supports our local small business owners,” Wagler added.

The Lenexa Farmers Market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through Oct. 31, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays from May 26 through Sept. 1. The market is located under a covered walkway on the ground level of the parking garage near Lenexa City Hall at 87th Street Parkway and Winchester Street, west of Interstate 435.

City staff noted that farmers markets are considered an essential service, like grocery stores, because they provide access to food.

The first hour of shopping is reserved for at-risk shoppers like seniors (age 60 and over) and those who are immunocompromised. This includes shopping from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. Photo via City of Lenexa.

“This is an important time to support small businesses and our local food system,” city staff said in an announcement. “Farmers markets offer products at the peak of freshness that travel shorter distances to reach customers and are touched by fewer hands in the process.”

Here are some of the changes at the market:

  • Vendors will be spaced farther apart to meet physical distancing guidelines
  • High-touch surfaces and items will be sanitized regularly, including payment tokens
  • Vendors will separate cash and product handling
  • Staff and vendors will wear masks and use appropriate hand hygiene practices
  • Hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer will be available for staff, vendors and the public
  • Only vendors and staff may touch products until they are bagged and given to customers
  • The first hour is reserved for at-risk shoppers including seniors (age 60 and over) and those who are immunocompromised
  • No entertainment, food sampling, cooking demos or children’s activities
  • Staff and vendors will stay home if they are sick

City staff encourage shoppers to:

City staff is encouraging shoppers to leave their dogs at home, unless the dog is a service animal. Photo credit Ty Konzak. File photo. 
  • Plan ahead; make a list of goods to purchase and shop quickly and efficiently
  • Consider preordering, and if paying in person, vendors prefer credit/debit cards or exact change
  • Consider shopping alone to reduce the total amount of people at the Market
  • Leave dogs at home unless they are service animals
  • Follow one-way foot traffic throughout the market
  • Wash hands upon arriving and before leaving
  • Consider wearing a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth
  • If using cash, bring small bills to limit the need to make change
  • Be patient, flexible and kind as everyone gets used to changes
  • Stay home if you are sick