Davis Farmers Market announced May 8 that its Picnic in the Park event is canceled for 2020. This is the first full-season closure since the Wednesday evening event began in 1995.

From April through October, the market traditionally expands its hours, taking advantage of longer days for a weekly festival of food, music and family fun. The event, along with the famous Saturday market (since 1976), are reasons The Davis Enterprise readers continue to choose the market as the Best Community Event and Best Place to Take an Out-of-Towner.

Nevertheless, the Davis Farmers Market continues as an essential grocer, 3 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays in Central Park, Third and C streets. There are several restaurants offering grab-and-go takeout food too, but alcohol sales are prohibited.

Health guidelines have closed community gatherings for months to come. Executive Director Randii MacNear said she plans Picnic in the Park to resume on April 7, 2021.

Since shelter-in-place orders began in March, Yolo County and state health officials have been clear that Certified Farmers Markets are essential to community food security. The Davis Farmers Market remains a place to grab fresh ­food – straight from the producer.

An April 17 PBS/NPR story said, “Health experts say the new rules have made farmers markets one of the safest places for food shopping during the pandemic. The strict regulations they’re following, their outdoor setting, and the fact that food is going directly from the grower or producer to the customer (so there’s less handling than in bigger grocery stores) suggest that farmers markets are safer.”

The market has reorganized vendor booth setups and added spacing between sellers. Masks are required. There are lots of signs requesting social distancing, and extra hand-washing stations. MacNear encourages shoppers to come alone to ease crowds.

Sellers wear gloves and masks, and typically select the produce for the shopper. Many items – like the popular cherries – are pre-bagged. Shoppers are discouraged from eating at the market, or stopping to chat with friends.

“The Davis Farmers Market is overwhelmed with gratitude for the positive community response during these times,” MacNear said. “We look forward to resuming these community-defining social gatherings – when the time is right.”

Check for updates on https://www.davisfarmersmarket.org, or visit its Facebook page.