RAVENSWOOD — The Ravenswood Farmers market now is offering drive-thru shopping for Chicagoans who want to buy fresh produce from local farms.
The Ravenswood market normally pops up once a week in the Ravenswood Covenant Church parking lot at 4900 N. Damen Ave. Neighbors would chat, shop for fresh produce from small farms and eat breakfast from vendors like Tamale Express while listening to live music from local musicians.
However the state-wide shutdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus has forced the market to adapt.
“People can come to the market in our parking lot and we have a drive-thru set up where people do not need to get out of their cars,” said Phil Staurseth, pastor of Ravenswood Church and one of the market’s organizers.
The market started offering contactless pickup from Patyk Farms on April 20 and so far it’s been successful, Staurseth said.
The market announces what produce and meat from Patyk Farms will be available for pre-order at the beginning of the week via a Facebook post. Shoppers can place orders by commenting on the post.
“The current ordering system is kind of old school. Someone at Patyk Farms then looks at the comments and writes down everything everyone has ordered to get it ready,” Staurseth said.
Orders are delivered Friday to the market where buyers can pick them up. Payment can be done by cash, check or via credit card. Neighbors who haven’t pre-ordered can also point at items they want to by while staying inside their car.
“Compared to other markets in the area, we’re just this little one that has a ton of families who go to it. We’re trying to be really careful with this to keep everyone safe,” Staurseth said. “At the point of purchase we make sure everyone wears masks and everyone must stay in their car.”
Gene Wagendorf, associate director of the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce and one of the market’s organizers, says he’s still waiting for best practices guidelines from the city on how to handle farmer’s markets moving forward.
“In the meantime, we’re doing these contactless pickup points for people who want to buy produce from the market,” he said.
Additionally, the chamber is also working to create a more streamlined online ordering system for more of the market’s vendors.
“We’ve already started work on an online form for Patyk Farms to make it a bit easier for people to place pre-orders. That way they don’t have to post it in the social media comments,” Wagendorf said. “Since we’re already doing that we’re also hoping to do a similar kind of form for the community supported agriculture subscriptions Paddock offers too.”
For more information on how to place orders for pickup visit the market’s Facebook page.
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