Since the beginning of the pandemic, farmers markets and other small businesses have had to adapt to evolving changes in order to stay afloat. Many have turned to selling their products and services online. The Olympia Farmers Market recently joined their ranks with the launch of their online market on July 1.

Bryce Dazell, the Market’s operations manager, said the idea had been floating around for a while but statewide social distancing regulations jump-started the process.

“We really think the benefit will far outlive COVID-19,” Dazell said in a release.

During the pilot phase, there are close to 10 participating vendors but they hope to incorporate all established vendors and crafters soon. Orders which are placed before midnight every Sunday night and paid for with a credit or debit card, are then picked up the following Wednesday. Simply park and check-in with staff on arrival.

This turnaround time gives local farmers and artisans time to compile, package, and deliver items to the Market on an off day, without crowds of shoppers. By picking up outside of traditional hours, vulnerable and at-risk populations can socially distance with greater ease and safety.

Dazell has been studying other regional markets who offer online shopping options.

“The idea of doing something like this is very much alive. Our infrastructure allows us to do some cool things that other markets can’t do,” he said in a release.

Final specifications are still being determined and staff will make adjustments to the process during the pilot test phase. Dazell would like to eventually add in the EBT and SNAP Market Match program and streamline the process from start to finish. They’re working with a committee of Market board members to assess the project, make recommendations, and act as a sounding board for suggestions and brainstormed ideas.

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