Bedford County farmers' markets say they’ve seen successful year

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 5:31 PM EDT
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FOREST, Va. (WDBJ) - It started off as an uncertain year ahead in Bedford County.

Farmers' markets in Forest and Bedford weren’t sure what to expect due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We had to make sure that we were social distancing, that we had tape on the ground for everybody to follow their six feet guidelines. We had to separate out the booths. Usually in the pavilion we have everybody under it. We couldn’t do that this year," said Erika McFaden, Bedford Farmer’s Market manager.

McFaden says despite the initial uncertainty, the pandemic might have actually boosted turnout.

“I think people felt safer. I think it was something people felt that they could do in a safe manner to get out of their house and buy fresh produce and things that were healthy and not have to go into the enclosed spaces of the grocery store," said McFaden.

The story is much the same up the road in Forest - more people turned out to get fresh produce.

“The food distribution chain was interrupted so a lot of people were insecure of where they were gonna get their food so they knew of the farmers market," said Dorothy McIntyre, Forest Farmer’s Market owner and manager.

Pictures show plenty of people turned out in Forest - enough to see over $400,000 worth of sales by the end of September.

McIntyre calls the turnout a huge win for the local community.

“They all are very supportive of both markets. They see the value of bringing local to the community, so it’s been wonderful to watch that grow," said McIntyre.

The Bedford Farmer’s Market plans to have a market November 14 and December 19 for the first time.

The Forest Farmer’s Market will have a market once a month from November until April.

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