OCEANSIDE — Things are moving forward for the Oceanside Farmers Market, which reopened in late May after the COVID-19 shutdown orders.
The market, held every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., first reopened on May 21 as a “no-touch market.”
The market is currently operating in three different sections reaching from Ditmar Street to Tremont Street on Pier View Way. Two of the sections are on the east side of North Coast Highway and one is on the west side.
Social distancing is enforced throughout the market with only 50 people allowed in each section, and hand-washing stations have been placed throughout the market.
Masks are required for visitors to enter the market, and vendors are required to have hand-washing stations at their booths and to wear masks and gloves as well.
On-site sampling of products is not allowed at the farmers market at this time. Additionally, no pets with the exception of service animals are allowed, and only vendors are allowed to handle selected produce or products.
As a “no-touch market,” MainStreet Oceanside wants market visitors to refrain from touching produce and items they want to purchase, and instead point to the item they want for the vendors to handle.
“Our goal is no-touch even though people like to touch,” said Cathy Nykiel, manager of the Sunset Market. “We’re trying to do our best to make that happen.”
The Sunset Market, held every Thursday evening, remains physically closed for now. MainStreet Oceanside currently offers a virtual tour of the Sunset Market on its website.
Nykiel said the county supervisors recently requested the state to consider reopening non-essential events like the Sunset Market. Nykiel hopes to see that happen soon.
Nykiel said the farmers market has been able to increase the number of vendors at the market, which has increased the variety of products being sold.
“We have a farm section, hot food, a little music keep it happy,” Nykiel said.
The market is also selling plants and has two mask vendors near the market’s entrances.
Lowell Cohen is one of the markets’ vendors. He sells Goldie Pops, his gourmet craft popcorn.
Cohen primarily spent his time as a vendor at the Sunset Market, but with that market closed he has tried his hand at the farmers market.
“It’s an excellent farmers market,” Cohen said.
Mark Bendixen, manager of the Oceanside Farmers Market, would like to see the market open up and grow a lot faster.
“There are a lot of hoops to jump through to make this happen,” Bendixen said. “We’re making it happen but it’s not like what it used to be.”
Bendixen said the county health department said it could be another month or two before the next phase of reopening happens.