Marco Island Farmers' Market begins Wednesday with new safety measures like pre-ordering

A typical Farmers' Market day at Veterans' Community Park on Marco Island shows the throngs of people who enjoy nosing around the stalls looking for produce, food and novelties.

Marco Island Farmers' Market will begin Wednesday with new safety measures like pre-ordering to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

People interested in pre-ordering items from their favorite vendors can find a list with their contact information on the city's website.

"It will help with the people being able to social distance," said Samantha Malloy, manager of Parks, Recreation and Culture.

Malloy said the vendors she has spoken with have welcomed these and other new safety measures, and that some have been following similar precautions at other farmers' markets.

Diego Velasquez, manager of Anita's Guacamole, said they are prepared to receive orders in advance. Clients can call (954) 338-8267 or go to to order but they must pay in person with cash or credit.

"Whatever helps us, helps the market, we are a go," Velasquez said.  

Velasquez also said this will help vendors as well as customers.

"It is a big help for the customers too because some people still want to stay home, (and) I think this is going to help (motivate them) to come out more," he said.

A woman cuts mangoes at Marco Island Farmers' Market.

From September:Marco Island city councilors say no to mask requirement at farmers market amid COVID-19

Other safety measures include the elimination of the large food tent where people would sit down to eat, Malloy said.

The city also reduced the number of booths from 100 to 71 and will only allow prepared food to be served to go. Some vendors will occupy two booths.

Attendants will be encouraged to wear masks or face coverings but it won't be mandatory, Malloy said.

In September, Malloy presented an action plan to City Council where mask wearing would be mandatory but several council members said they opposed the mandate.

Dr. Jayanta Gupta, assistant professor and director of the public health program at Florida Gulf Coast University, said in September that people should wear a mask indoors and outdoors if there is a possibility they will come in close contact (6 feet or less) with people who do not live in their household.

Gupta earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology (environmental health) from University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 2008.

Gupta said even people who are not showing symptoms like fever, cough or fatigue can still spread the virus and should wear a mask to protect others.

"When you wear a mask, we want to protect others from my coughs, sneezes or respiratory droplets to (lower) the risk of COVID-19 spread," he said.

Vendors will be required to wear a mask, Malloy said.

"We are all in this together," Velasquez said.

The venue of the farmers market will continue to be Veterans' Community Park but it will change sometime in March to Mackle Park once the construction of new facilities begins at Veterans', Malloy said.

"At first we had thought it was going to be the end of January but now it is looking like it is going to be closer to the end of March," Mallow said.

The market usually takes place every Wednesday beginning in November and runs through April. Last season ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The first market of this season will be from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 18 at Veterans' Community Park.

To see a list of vendors with their contact information, go to

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