Purchasing produce and other food items from the farmers market is a great way to access fresh foods safely, at a time when many people are looking to avoid crowded grocery stores. Ordering your groceries ahead of time makes your trip to the market quick, further reducing risk.

Start by calling or emailing the vendor you’d like to purchase from. Many have email lists or social media accounts that tell you what they will have available each week, how to order in advance, and what the cutoff date and time is. Preordering not only ensures that you can get your groceries with minimal exposure to public spaces, it means that your veggies are incredibly fresh. Many vendors will keep them in a cooler or bin away from light or heat so you will take home the safest, freshest produce possible, outside of growing it yourself.

Since preordering is new for vendors and shoppers, consider these tips:

Order early. Farmers have harvesting schedules to make sure their veggies are as fresh as possible. Plus, if you wait to order until the last minute, you may miss out on popular items. Clip this directory to keep on your fridge as a reminder to order each week.

Specify the quantity of each item you would like (one bag, one bunch, or a specific weight) so the farmer doesn’t need to follow up with questions.

Many vendors are offering a way to pay in advance using online services like Venmo or Cash App. If you would prefer to pay by cash or check, have that ready with exact change to limit cash handling.

Out of courtesy to your fellow shoppers and market vendors, wear a mask to the market and use the provided hand sanitizer if you pick up from multiple booths.

Consider shopping for your neighbors or becoming a personal shopper for a person who can’t get out. This limits the number of people in the market space.

Be patient and be kind. We’re all in this together.

These vendors are taking pre-orders:

Evergreen Family Farms: order for Saturday markets & farm stand pickup, 541-403-4958 or evergreenfamilyfarmlg@gmail.com

Homestead Springs Farm & Forge: order for Saturday markets, 541-605-8286 or nwskillet@gmail.com

Jen’s Garden: order for Tuesday markets and delivery in the Baker City area, 541-403-4340 or JensGarden@gmail.com

Maria and Jose Martinez Gardens: order for Tuesday or Saturday markets and farm stand pickup, 541-861-0478

Nella Mae’s Farm: order for Saturday markets and farm stand pickup, 541-910-4098 or nellamaesfarm@gmail.com

Platz Family Farms: order for select market dates and farm stand pickup, 541-805-1560 or becky@platzfamilyfarm.com

Val’s Veggies: order for Tuesday Markets or farm stand pickup, 541-853-2358 or Valsveggies.com

W Bar Ranch: order for Saturday markets, 541-805-5180 or avadenton@hotmail.com

Members of the La Grande Farmers Market Board of Directors submitted this column. The La Grande Farmers Market runs from May to Oct. 17 every

Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to noon and every Tuesday 3 to 6 p.m. at Fourth Street and Adams Avenue, La Grande.

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