ITHACA, N.Y. –– The Ithaca Farmers Market is set to have their grand opening this weekend, despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The market is scheduled to return for its spring market on Saturdays in April at the Steamboat Landing pavilion, with shortened hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The pavilion has 88 booths, but this month the vendor capacity will be capped at 40 –– with vendors spaced out in every other booth. The shorter hours and the empty booths will allow more room for customers to navigate the shopping area with the suggested 6 feet distance between patrons.

“This is usually a really special day for us, and it was hard to tell our vendors that not everyone could come,” said Executive Director Becca Rimmel. “But it’s the right thing to do for everybody.”

Under Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, farmers markets are listed as essential businesses. With permission from Tompkins County Health Department, IFM has chosen to stay open to provide safe access to healthy food for the Ithaca community. The market has recently installed touchless paper towel dispensers in bathrooms for a safer experience, as well as hand sanitizer stations around the building. They have also outlined on their website the “new guidelines” of the market –– including only sending one person per household, and not touching goods before purchase.

For the last two Saturdays in March, IFM ran their last winter markets outside — helping to work out kinks for vendors, staff and customers before this weekend. This Saturday customers can expect to find a variety of farm and food products such as meat, cheese, eggs, vegetables, fruit, honey, jelly, bread, wine, cider, baked goods, plants, soap and some prepared food. Eating on-premise is not allowed at the market during COVID-19, so all food will be sold packaged to go, to encourage later consumption.

“We want to be as careful as possible,” said Rimmel. “Hot food suggests that it should be eaten right away, and that causes people to congregate.”

Because artisans such as leather workers or potters are not classified as essential businesses they will not be included in the market. The market will be posting about other ways to support this group of vendors –– including shopping from their online stores. Customers can use the vendor directory, reach out via social media or sign up for the market’s e-newsletter for more info.

ATMs will not be open during the market this month and EBT tokens will not be available. While some vendors still only accept cash, many are installing card readers or touchless payment options to limit exposure

People are encouraged to reach out to their favorite vendors and order ahead to minimize time at the pavilion on Saturday.

“It’s going to be really different, but we’re happy to be here for our community,” added Rimmel. “We’re taking every precaution we can to make our market safer than other grocery options right now.”
Wondering if your favorite vendor is at the market this weekend? Check out the Saturday Market Facebook event or Saturday Market webpage for an updated list around 10:30 a.m. on market day. So far here is the list of the outdoor season’s approved vendors. Not all approved vendors will be at market every weekend.
  • Just A Few Acres
  • Blue Oyster Cultivation
  • Bright Raven
  • Magic Garden
  • Windsong
  • Buried Treasure
  • Rainbow Valley Farm
  • West Haven Farm
  • Glenwood
  • Here We Are Farm
  • Kingbird Farm
  • Under the Tree
  • Stoney Creek Nursery
  • Oxbow Farm
  • Berkshire Hills Honey
  • Crosswinds Creamery
  • Early Morning Farm
  • Autumn’s Harvest Farm
  • Schoolyard Sugarbush
  • Cayuta Sun Farm
  • Humble Hill Farm
  • Daring Drake Farm
  • Blue Heron Farm
  • Sabol’s Farm
  • Jackman Vineyards
  • Glenhaven
  • Little Tree Orchards
  • Stick & Stone Farm
  • Ithaca Organics
  • Ithaca Soap
  • Macro Mammas
  • Bellweather
  • Backyard Bakeshop
  • Just Desserts
  • The Cinnamon Shop
  • The Silver Spoon
  • Veronika’s Pastries
  • Osakaya
  • Solaz
  • Peachey’s Produce

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at