VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The Old Beach Farmer's Market walk-through feature is back open, allowing visitors to walk by stands and preview some of the produce and food Hampton Roads' small businesses have to offer.
The walk-through was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, also known as coronavirus. For a while, the Farmer's Market held a drive-thru as a way to adapt to changes. The Farmer's Market reopening coincides with the reopening of Virginia and states across the nation.
"Oh my gosh, we're so excited to be back," Lori Golding-Zontini, one of the Farmer's Market organizers, told News 3. "In Virginia, it's military, agriculture and tourism and that's how we survive in Hampton Roads."
There are changes now -- people are urged to wear face masks and stand six feet apart from each other to comply with social distancing guidelines. Signs are placed throughout the parking lot to remind people of the guidelines.
Old Beach Farmer's Market was founded in 2008 by Laura Habr, the owner of Croc's 19th Street Bistro. The Farmer's Market's purpose is the feature and help support local small businesses and farmers by boosting their business.
It is at the bistro's parking lot that the Farmer's Market sets up. The Farmer's Market is the first "certified farmers market" in Virginia under the commonwealth's "Green Program." -- a program that "promotes eco-friendly practices in all aspects of Virginia’s tourism."
Golding-Zontini told News 3 there are normally 35 vendors at the the Farmer's Market -- businesses from near and as far as the Eastern Shore.
One of those businesses is Empowered Plant Cakes, a company that produces organic and vegan-friendly cakes. Paige Welch, the owner of Empowered Plant Cakes, said the Farmer's Market did help provide support.
"Doing Old Beach kind of, honestly saved my business," Welch said. "When coronavirus first hit, I do a lot of whole-sale and a lot of my whole-sale to restaurants kind of went down as restaurants shut down."
Some visitors, such as Allen and Brooke Chandler, came to do their grocery shopping.
"The fact that it's local businesses and we can support them," Allen Chandler said, "it's all really fresh, you know where it's coming from."
Old Beach Farmer's Market meets every Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon, but with only one day each in November and December. The Farmer's Market sets up outside of Croc's 19th Street Bistro located at 620 19th Street in Virginia Beach.
More information such as vendors and events can be found on the Old Beach Farmer's Market website. Businesses who would like to inquire about setting up a stand can reach Golding-Zontini by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .