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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

61st Street Farmers Market Opens Saturday With Hour Set Aside For Seniors, At-Risk Shoppers

People receiving SNAP benefits can use their Link cards at the 61st Street market and potentially double produce purchases through a matching program.

A vendor wears a mask at a Chicago farmers market.
Chicago Mayor's Office
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WOODLAWN — The 61st Street Farmers Market will resume its in-person market Saturday after several months of operating solely as an online hub for deliveries and pickup orders.

The market will be held 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays until Oct. 31 at the Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. A “priority shopping hour” for elderly, immunocompromised and other at-risk patrons will be held from 9-10 a.m.

All attendees must wear a mask, and market organizers “highly encourage” patrons to preorder items online for easy pickup. A full list of the market’s precautions for limiting the spread of coronavirus is available here.

Most of the market’s regular vendors will be open for business, though the city doesn’t yet allow vendors like Rubi’s taco joint to sell prepared foods, said market manager Wendy Zeldin.

Illinois recently allowed SNAP benefits to be used online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, but farmers markets are not among the approved online retailers.

Because of this, Link card users have been unable to purchase items from the 61st Street Farmers Market since it was shuttered in April due to the pandemic.

Market organizers are “so thrilled that people will be able to use their Link cards in person” again, Zeldin said. The market also matches SNAP benefits for eligible purchases up to $25, doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables someone can buy.

The Market Box program, created to continue providing fresh foods to low-income Woodlawn residents through the pandemic, will continue even as the market reopens.

Community donations have funded the market boxes through the end of August, Zeldin said. Continued contributions could fund the program through the entire market season.

You can click here to donate a food box. A $40 donation covers a full box, or you can contribute a half-box or multiple boxes.

Those interested in requesting a food box can click here. Low-income, Black Woodlawn residents will be prioritized.

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