Supporting local businesses safely is priority one for the Tanana Valley Farmer's Market

Irene Wood selling plant starts at the Tanana Valley Farmer's Market (KTVF)

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Alaska’s oldest established farmer’s market opened its doors Saturday showing vendors and customers what community events may look like in a post COVID-19 Fairbanks.

The General Manager of the Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market, Brad St. Piere, talked to us about what patrons can expect.

“We’ve re-designed the market this year so there is a little more space between vendors, [and] we are requiring that everyone has a face mask. We are reserving the first 30 minutes of market days for those over 65 or at higher risk.” Piere said.

With hand washing stations located around the grounds, hand sanitizer at every booth and extra room between vendor and customer, the market is taking the health of their participants seriously.

For many of the 122 businesses that sell, this is a major part of their income.

Irene Wood likes to call herself an “experimental farmer” and has been selling goods and plant starts at the Farmer’s Market for many years.

“We are often seasonal so it’s really important for people to realize this is our season and we need support now because it’s been a trying spring,” Wood said. “And it’s part of being the Fairbanks community which is such a unique and wonderful community.”

Tyler Skrivanek, the owner of Marlo’s Bakery got his business’ start at the market and continues to sell his family’s baked goods there every week.

“It’s a great way to get our name out into the community... get different people who don’t stop by the bakery to get familiar with our products... and it’s a great extra source of income for us in the summer time.”

General Manager St. Piere says the market is also offering something new this year -- a virtual market page where orders can be placed online and shipped or picked up.

“We do ask that you be patient, this is our first pandemic... but we are figuring it out. It looks like people are coming out,” St. Piere said. “Fairbanks has been the greatest supporter of this market for the last 34 years that we have been around.”

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