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Farmers market uncertainty causes worry among vendors

Posted at 6:19 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 19:19:27-04

LENEXA, Kan. — Some farmers are worried about making ends meet without having a place to sell their produce.

The Lenexa Farmers Market was supposed to open April 25, but the city said it is postponed for the time being.

As a way to keep business going for vendors, the city has started an online farmers market.

Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation Department Logan Wagler said the city is working to develop an operations plan.

"We're waiting to see what happens with the stay-at-home order," Wagler said. "It sounds like the county is going to extend that a little bit further and we're going to watch closely what the county does with the stay-at-home order, but also the guidelines from the state of Kansas."

Jacob Thomas, owner of JET Produce and Meats, said he and his wife are worried about the future of their business.

"This is our family, this is what we do, and so when we learned that farmers markets may not start, it scared us," Thomas said.

Thomas said his business makes the majority of its money from May through October, mostly selling at the Lenexa market, and it's not as simple as setting up at a different one.

"Without us going down to the people at market, I don't know if we're going to be able to sell enough product to make ends meet this year," Thomas said.

Thomas is hoping people will come out to his farm stand, where he has social distancing measures in place.

Chad Gilliland owns Next to Nature Farm in Leavenworth, which sells small-batch, all-natural, handmade beeswax products. Gilliland has been selling online as well as doing no-contact home deliveries.

"it's been difficult, but we've managed to think outside the box and work to continue to get our products to our customers in a safe manner," Gilliland said.

Both men hope community members will remember they're still producing and selling their products, and they still need your support.

"When you shop at a farmers market you're helping your local small businesses, you're helping your neighbors, that money stays in the community," Thomas said.