Anyone who’s been through one of Canby’s fine fast food establishments will be well-acquainted with the concept as “the drive-through,” and how it can be an efficient and convenient means of acquiring food.
You probably never considered using such a method to pick up fresh, local fruit and vegetables, but hey — this is 2020. We’re all trying lots of new things lately.
When the Canby Farmers Market opens its summer season on May 9, it will allow only drive-through service for the first hour, from 9 to 10 a.m. From 10 to 1 p.m., it will revert back to its more traditional, walk-up service.
The drive-through will operate basically the same as the traditional market: You’ll form a line, browse each booth, pick out what you want, pay and move onto the next one. You’ll just do it from your car.
Canby Farmers Market Director Alexis Purcell said she was inspired to try out the model after seeing it work successfully this year at markets in Portland and Oregon City.
“At the Oregon City Farmers Market, they had phenomenal numbers,” she said. “I think it will be a good option for people. This way, more people can come and pick out what they want — all without getting out of their cars.”
The news that the Canby Farmers Market would be opening soon did raise an eyebrow or two on local Facebook groups, especially at a time when other vendor-based events (albeit on a much larger scale) like the Spring Garden Fair are being canceled.
But, Purcell explained, farmers markets are exempt under the same guidelines as grocery stores and, actually, might be your safest bet for food shopping right now.
“We were deemed essential, so we kind of lucked out there,” Purcell said with a laugh. “People still need to get groceries and other goods, you know, and this is another option for people to get out and support local farmers — which is always a fantastic thing to do.”
Even during the walk-in hours, the Canby Farmers Market will look a little different, as they enforce new procedures and protocols designed to keep vendors and shoppers safe.
“We’ll have some new processes in place,” Purcell explained. “We’ll have lots of signage, all of our vendors will be three feet apart, we’ll have hand-washing stations and all that good stuff. So we’re super prepared.”
Purcell says the market is working on a website and app for curbside pick-up and also partnering with local delivery services to offer even more options.
Many of the local vendors the Canby Farmers Market works with have apparently been getting as stir-crazy as the rest of us while the governor’s stay-home orders are in effect, and its current list includes a wide variety of local farms, food producers and other vendors, including Red Chair Farms, Dynamite Pico, Heaven Scent Nursery, The Clean Bee, Lux Sucre Desserts, Claudia’s Tamales, Beathan Farms, Parsons Farms, Over the Moon Farms and many others.
“It will be good,” Purcell said. “We’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned and a lot of great farms this year, so we’re hoping Canby will really come down and support us.”
Hear more about the Canby Farmers Market on Episode 162 of the Canby Now Podcast, “Nothing But Net”: