Farmers’ markets are open for the season, and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has released a guide to ensure people feel safe when shopping for produce and other products.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture advises market shoppers that "things will look a little different this year at the market", because of COVID-19. Farmers’ markets have implemented new practices for protecting the health and safety of vendors and customers.

New practices this season may include physical barriers to separate customers and vendors, limits on the number of people, or prepaid and ordering systems.

“Now is a perfect time to discover your local farmers market,” said Kirsten Bansen Weigle, manager of the Maple Grove Farmers Market. “During this time, many of us are looking for foods grown locally with minimal handling."

Bansen Weigle said that customers should always connect with their preferred markets online before going, "to learn about their COVID-19 response plans and how to be a safe market shopper.”

Newsletter signup for email alerts

According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, eager customers can expect a bounty of early spring crops at the market on top of the fresh produce already there, from rhubarb, leafy greens, spring onion and asparagus. Many vendors are also selling local products from the state's farms like maple syrup, baked goods, meat, eggs and cheese.

To find a nearby market, search the Minnesota Grown Directory, which has 192 farmers’ markets and more than 1,000 total farm and market listings. Directory users can search by product, city, zip code, or look along a route to discover local foods and products for sale near them.