Usually hitting the drive-thru for food is a sure bet you aren’t picking up something healthy.
On Saturday, the Rochester Farmers Market will offer drive-thru service at its Graham Arena winter market location.
People can select their items online and pick up their food from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. People can pay online or in person. Orders should be placed by Wednesday evening in order to give market volunteers and vendors time to fill them.
"It’s a massive, logistical change from the way we do business," said Jessica Joyce, market manager.
Although this will be the first time farmers market staff and volunteers hold a drive-thru market, the concept is new to the organization. Market leaders developed a plan for drive-thru service to accommodate large-scale distribution.
"It’s actually an idea we’ve been working on for quite a while," Joyce said.
However, instead of providing a large volume of produce to a few customers, the drive-thru is being set up to supply a large number of customers' small orders.
"The idea was to sell to institutions -- catering companies, nursing homes," she added. "We took the infrastructure and flipped it for individual retail."
As of Monday afternoon, the regular indoor winter market is still on as scheduled. However, as more cases of COVID-19 appear in Minnesota, there’s more pressure to postpone or cancel public events to help slow the spread of the virus.
Joyce said she would understand if the market would be canceled. The market might be a social event, but its customers are essential for area producers for their livelihood. The market is also a source of local, fresh produce, Joyce said.
The drive-thru option will be offered at each of the remaining winter markets — March 21, April 4 and April 18.
Vendors will deliver their food beginning Friday evening through Saturday while volunteers assemble the individual orders.
"Actual pick-up won’t take very long," Joyce said.
Delivery is also available for orders of $20 or more for a $5 delivery fee. Those orders will be delivered between noon and 4 p.m., Joyce said.