Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has declared Aug. 2 trough 8 Farmers’ Market Week. He asked local residents to especially support their local farmers’ market next week.

“Finding locally grown produce, meat, eggs, dairy products and more at the peak of freshness is the advantage of Kentucky’s farmers’ markets,” he said in a statement. “Purchasing your food from a Kentucky Proud farmers’ market not only supports your local farmers, but also keeps the money you spend in your community.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, farmers’ markets — including the Hopkinsville Downtown Farmers’ Market — we’re forced to postpone their spring openings. The Hopkinsville Downtown Farmers’ Market eventually opened in early May.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, our farmers’ markets have adapted to protect themselves and Kentucky consumers,” Quarles said. “I encourage all Kentuckians to consider visiting their local farmers’ market during Farmers’ Markets Week.”

This year, the Hopkinsville farmers’ market changed its opening time to 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The farmers’ market is adhering to social distancing protocols as well as the face mask requirement. No pets are allowed at this time.

“In these unprecedented times, we are having to make changes to our regular operations to help with virus containment,” the farmers’ market said in a statement announcing its opening in May. “We are asking everyone to adhere to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture protocols and requirements to allow vendors and market staff to efficiently and effectively serve customers instead of enforcing compliance.”

Last year, Kentucky farmers’ markets reported around $13 million in sales.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all of our lives, farmers’ markets remain a vital resource, providing fresh and nutritious food direct from Kentucky’s farms,” Quarles said. “This crisis has put a magnifying glass on the reasons we need our agriculture producers. Be sure to be respectful of CDC guidelines while visiting the market during farmers’ markets week.”

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