The market is putting an extra focus on safety this year while continuing its commitment to provide a venue where community members can buy fresh food directly from local growers and food producers in this time of COVID-19.

Many of your favorite family farmers and ranchers will be back when the Mount Shasta Farmers’ Market begins its 21st year on Monday, May 18, from 3:30 to 6 p.m. on E. Castle Street.

As sauerkraut maker David Edmondson of Salt and Savour sees it, “I attend farmers markets and festivals in five or six counties, yet none compare to our MSFM. This just feels like home and it’s so much fun seeing all the familiar faces every season.”

MSFM vendors will be offering vegetables and fruits, honey, meats and eggs, heirloom seeds, plants and starts, prepared food and drink.

The market is putting an extra focus on safety this year while continuing its commitment to provide a venue where community members can buy fresh food directly from local growers and food producers in this time of COVID-19. Vendors and market staff will wear face coverings and gloves. There will be added space between booths, four new handwashing stations for customers, and new signs designed to remind customers of the importance of social distancing, handwashing, and using exact change to minimize money handling.

May 18 will be the first of 22 consecutive Monday certified farmers’ markets in downtown Mount Shasta through Oct. 12. Edmondson suggests that regular customers encourage a friend who is new to the market to attend. “It’s such a great way to meet local producers and see how much Siskiyou County has to offer,” he said.

Because the number of people that can be in the market at any one time is being limited due to social distancing requirements, there will be just one entrance and one exit, on opposite corners at E. Castle St. and Mt. Shasta Blvd. Both will be staffed by MSFM volunteers under the coordination of longtime volunteer Judith Gabriel. Market managers Steve Gerace and Paj Kane expressed their appreciation to Gabriel and the volunteers, who all practiced social distancing while they met to talk about their jobs last week.

MSFM is continuing to offer Market Match, providing up to $20 per market day for CalFresh beneficiaries and WIC and senior shoppers.

Declared an essential service in California, farmers’ markets are continuing to succeed during the pandemic for many reasons, including the direct supply line from producer to customer and the open-air setting. As pointed out by the Farmers Market Coalition, farmers’ markets stimulate the local economy, help preserve farmland and rural livelihoods, increase access to fresh food, and support healthy communities.

In the spirit of cooperation during these challenging times, Mount Shasta Farmers’ Market is encouraging customers to please:

• Stay home if you are feeling ill and have someone else do your shopping instead

• Wear a face covering

• Send only one person per household to shop at the market, along with one other household member if necessary

• Come to the market prepared with a list so you can make your purchases efficiently

• Avoid physical contact and maintain a 6 foot distance between yourself and others

• Follow the u-shaped pattern of suggested customer movement through the market as indicated by arrow signs on the ground

MSFM sends out a weekly Friends of the Market newsletter by email with information about vendors and their products for the following Monday. To get on that mailing list, you can send a request and your email address to: market.manager@e-jedi.com. Many vendors are establishing pre-order and even pre-sales systems. Some are listing what they intend to bring to market by the Sunday before. Find out more about who has pre-ordering available on our e-newsletter.

If you’re interested in volunteering at the market, send an email to Steve Gerace at that same address.

The Mount Shasta Farmers’ Market is a project of Jefferson Economic Development Institute. Information about the market will be updated throughout the season on the JEDI website: e-jedi.org/farmers-market/.