Sacramento’s Midtown Farmers Market still open despite coronavirus outbreak

Vendors say coronavirus is impacting their business.


Tara Gnewikow

Sacramento locals shop for fresh produce at the Midtown Farmers Market Saturday, March 14. The market remained open despite concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Tara Gnewikow

The Midtown Farmers Market in Sacramento is scheduled to remain open Saturday despite recent concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus. 

The Sacramento City Council released a resolution Friday which declared a local emergency for the city and directed the City Manager to “cancel city permits for special events that more than 250 people may attend and are scheduled within the next 30 to 60 days.”

RELATED: Sacramento City Council announces emergency measures due to coronavirus

However, the market still happened.

Vendors provided hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and also limited self-serve samples. A sign displayed at the Beber Fresh Almondmilk booth urged customers to not touch their display products and allow their workers to handle the bottles. 

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Tara Gnewikow
A sign displayed at the Beber Fresh Almondmilk booth at the Midtown Farmers Market Saturday, March 14. Vendors encouraged customers to let workers handle the product in an effort to maintain sanitation.

“A lot of our grocery-type business is doing better because people are buying more groceries, delivery,” said Jeff Korec, who owns The Pasta Queen with his wife Susan Korec. “But this market, we didn’t know if it was going to happen (last Saturday).”

The Pasta Queen sells freshly made pasta and sauces in their store located in Gold River, California, for delivery and at the market. 

“Sixty percent of my income comes from this market. We hope to transition that to delivery during this time of need. But I don’t know, we’ll see,” Susan said.. 

The Pasta Queen Booth displayed a sign that read, “Buy four get a free roll of toilet paper.”

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Tara Gnewikow
Susan and Jeff Korec, owners of The Pasta Queen, displayed this sign at their booth at the Midtown Farmers Market Saturday, March 14 as a joke amid the coronavirus panic.

“That’s a joke,”  Susan said. “Gotta have some cheeky humor, right?”

Miriam Garcia, who sells produce for Yañez Farm, said she noticed less people coming to the market. Garcia’s business sells at other markets, but some like the Carmichael Park and Pleasanton farmers markets have already temporarily closed and left vendors with excess product.  

Garcia said she did not know what her farm would do with the vegetables in the field they cannot sell.

“I just think that if vendors can’t sell, it’s going to severely impact their business because the food’s going to go bad and they’re not gonna make more business from that,” said Eva Dmitriyenko, who sells strawberries and avocados for Williamson/Shoup Farms.

The Sacramento City Council resolution also established a $1 million economic relief package to issue loans to eligible small local businesses.

Many Sacramento State students also frequent the market, like freshman kinesiology major Louie Zavala, who heard about it from another student on social media.

“Prices were reasonable and all the produce was very fresh and most were organic,” Zavala said via Instagram direct message. “So healthy foods for a great price.”

The Midtown Association said it still plans on holding the Midtown Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. as usual this Saturday, but any changes will be updated on its social media, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.