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Growers market a go for now

The Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market is scheduled to resume as usual Tuesday, March 17, in Ashland, in spite of concerns over COVID-19 that have shuttered many other businesses, according to a message on its website.

The market, which includes 155 vendors and is held every Tuesday and Saturday in Ashland and every Thursday in Medford, opened its 33rd outdoor season two weeks ago.

In Ashland, the market is open Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the National Guard Armory, 1420 Main St., and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in downtown Ashland in the 100 block of Oak Street. In Medford, it’s open Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Hawthorne Park, 501 E. Main St.

A message on the home page of the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market, rvgrowersmarket.com, addressed the market’s response to the novel coronavirus, and the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control to cancel or postpone events at which 50 people or more gather. The CDC also announced Sunday that the recommendation does not apply to the day to day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses, although elementary schools in Oregon won’t open again until April 1 at the earliest.

The Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market, which includes everything from baked goods to produce and beef, posted a 197-word explanation for its decision to remain open which is available on its website (rvgrowersmarket.com).

“Your health and safety is critically important right now and so is your access to buy nutritious local food,” reads the notice. “All Rogue Valley Growers Markets are considered essential entities for access to food and are an establishment not an event. So we will be open. We are your safer grocery store without walls and a much shorter supply-chain. The nature of open air and set-up/strike also limits the coronavirus’ ability to build up on surfaces.

“Our locations provide ‘social distancing’ of three feet or more, not easily found in your local grocery store. We encourage our community to all work together.”

The message went on to explain that organizers will provide extra hand-washing stations and access to hand sanitizer, and will educate vendors and work “closely with Jackson County Environmental Health Services and the Oregon Health Authority.”

It added that there is a zero-tolerance policy for market staff or vendors who are experiencing illness, but declined to lay out how that policy would be enforced.

Market Executive Director Daria Land could not be reached for comment.

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.

file photoTony Davis tries a sample of radish kimchi from Cindy Yi of Grants Pass at the Ashland Growers Market.