West Michigan farmers adjust markets amid pandemic

Coronavirus

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Visser Farms has been setting up farmers markets as far back as the Korean War.

But due to coronavirus restrictions, it’s had to scale back this year’s farmers markets, consolidating them all into a single location in Holland. 

“We have everything in bags for $5,” said Cindy Visser, co-owner of Visser Farms. “We don’t touch you. You don’t touch us — everything is in a plastic bag.”

Visser Farms sells to well over 40 restaurants. But because of the outbreak, no one is buying anymore.

“We have four sons that work for us full-time, so we have five families that survive off our farm,” she said. “And we had to come up with something real quick.”

This more streamlined grab-and-go approach has the standard assortment of bread, beef, and produce that you would expect to see.

But they’ve had to get crafty — even moving this year’s makeshift market online.

“When the coronavirus happened, we had to come up with something more creative,” said Visser. “So, we have an online store. You just check the boxes that you want and then just pick it up at the location you want to.”

It’s a social-distanced effort that still puts bread on the table.

“We’re focusing on trying to get product to people without having to congregate in a store or anything — right outside in the open,” said Phil Visser.

But this isn’t sustainable. And they’re looking to the future with optimism that this virus gets stomped out.

“We’re getting sweet corn and beans in the ground,” he said. “Peas, onions, potatoes, everything we can.”

“We’re planting like we’re going to have a regular farmers market, but we all have to see what happens,” Cindy said.

The farmers market will only stay open as long as there is demand. 

The market is located at 461 Chicago Drive in Holland. Its current hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. 

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