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Pittsburgh Farmers Markets Kick Off Another Pandemic Season

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Farmers markets across the Pittsburgh region begin to open this month.

Farmers markets across the region are opening for the 2021 season, bringing locally grown foods -- as well as a sense of normalcy -- back to residents.

“People have always looked to this farmers market as kind of an unofficial kickoff to the summer season downtown,” said Jack Dougherty, the director of Special Events at Pittsburgh Downtown Partnerships, which operates Market Square Farmers Market.

“The market is honestly just one of several pieces of programming and activations that we have planned to really bring downtown back to life for this year and start to get us towards more of a sense of normalcy for this season.”

Dougherty said the market will remain in Market Square for the entire season this year, after a brief change in location last year due to lower foot traffic downtown.

“We’re starting to see the foot traffic and some of those office workers coming back to downtown slowly but surely, so I think that might be one of the differences, and the welcome differences for this season,” he said.

The market will implement pandemic safety precautions again this year. Vendor stalls will be placed farther apart, guests will be asked to social distance “when possible,” and staff, vendors, and visitors will be required to wear masks.

“We’re pretty confident in the safety of the event just given that we’re in an outdoor, distanced configuration,” Dougherty said.

Other farmers markets in the area, including Bloomfield Saturday Market and Lawrenceville Farmers Market, will also require masks and implement their own safety policies.

“We're continuing to require face masks, no eating inside of the market, distanced vendor spaces, and a layout that continues to support large amounts of social distancing,” a spokesperson for Bloomfield Saturday Market said in an email.

Market Square Farmers Market runs every Thursday through October 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bloomfield Saturday Market operates on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through November 20. Lawrenceville Farmers Market opens on Tuesday, May 18 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., with the first hour reserved for “shoppers disproportionately affected by COVID-19.” The market runs through December 14, and organizers ask that first time attendees sign up in advance. A list of markets offered by the City of Pittsburgh can be found here.

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at