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Ocean Beach Farmers Market reopens under new guidelines

Many changes to the farmers market attracts huge crowds and unique vendors each week but the love for the OB Farmers Market hasn't changed.

SAN DIEGO — A beloved farmer’s market is back open with a different shopping experience.

The unique Ocean Beach Farmer’s Market reopened on Wednesday after it was closed for nearly three months because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Last week’s reopening was canceled due to concerns over Black Lives Matter protests.

RELATED: Beach communities board up storefronts ahead of potential protests

“It’s really a part of what makes OB so special,” said Tracy Wagner, Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association Operations Manager.

From Chez Elliott slicing fine cheese from around the world to hitting the same spot for 21 years at Chrystal’s Pure Honey made from Dale and Chrystal McBride's hives in Vista, vendors are glad to be back.

“It keeps an old man out of his chair. We’re 85 years old and we're still having more fun than you could ask for,” said Mr. McBride.

The buzz of reopening created a long line to get into the farmers market on Wednesday.

“We're happy, we're happy, yeah farmers market,” said a group of women who make it a girls day each Wednesday.

However, you’ll notice a new experience. Masks are required. There’s a tape wrapped around the booths to keep people six feet away from the vendor. You can’t touch the food. You point to what you want, and vendors will get it for you. There are also no samples.

“It’s extremely difficult to not give a sample when you are selling something difficult that people don’t know too much about,” said Elliott Dogbe, owner of Chez Elliott. “People have to trust you and I am so blessed that many people already know me in the market.”

The line may have been long because only 85 people at a time are allowed inside the market.

"If they let more of them in, we would have more customers,” said Mr. McBride.

There are strict county health guidelines in place, and on Wednesday, there was an inspector on sight an hour after the farmers market opened.

“We are hoping as the market progresses and we play by all the rules they will allow us to have more people as time goes on,” said Wagner.

RELATED: San Diego County Farm Bureau says impact of pandemic on the industry has been 'catastrophic'

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You’ll notice no dogs are allowed, there’s only one entrance and two exits and no artisan vendors.

“There is no music and we miss that because music is such a part of what we do here in OB,” said Wagner.

Vendors have to be eight feet apart and rather than facing the sidewalk, they are facing the street. Wagner says they only have 37 vendors and usually there are more than 110. There are only farmers, flowers and a few hot food booths on Newport between Cable and Bacon.

Even with the new experience, the deeply rooted love for the Ocean Beach Farmers Market to shop local hasn’t changed.

“We need this to be here every Wednesday. Every Wednesday it is a tradition, we're regulars,” said Traci Conant, customer.

The Ocean Beach Farmers Market is open every Wednesday in the 4900 block of Newport from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The San Diego County Farm Bureau lists 38 certified farmers markets in the county. Click here to find the day, hours, if they have re-opened and the new guidelines. 


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