People are itching to get in their gardens, grow food or just enjoy locally farmed products.

Proof of that sprung up when the Alexandria Farmers Market opened for the season on Saturday, May 9 along Second Avenue in Big Ole Central Park.

The market had a heyday, selling out of some items within the first hour as a steady stream of customers braved the wind, rain and cold to buy a wide array of items from cheese and donuts, to potted plants and canned vegetables.

"It was such a big crowd," said Lucas Sjostrom with Red Head Creamery. "This was one of our best days, like a hot day in the summer. It's nice to get this kind of support from the community despite what's going on."

David McArdle from McArdle's Market Garden also sold out of some items. He was expecting business to be good, based on what he heard was happening at farmers markets throughout the state, and Saturday's crowd did not disappoint.

"People are buying plants, putting their gardens in and they want locally grown food," said McArdle.

By 11 a.m., two hours after the market opened, the crowd ebbed because some farmers were out of things to sell.

Holly Davis and David Policard, who were staying at Davis' mom's house in Alexandria, were among the shoppers. "I'm excited to be out for the market's first day and to see what's here," she said.

The market took many precautions against the coronavirus, such as setting up signs reminding people to practice social distancing and advising customers to avoid handling items unless they were purchasing them.

Kim Young with Young Family Farms in Brandon used some creativity to sell one of her wares — homemade bars of soap, labeled "I Corona," which contained a mystery amount of money rolled up inside each bar. "It's a hit with kids and encourages them to wash their hands in order to get to the money," she said.

The Alexandria Farmers Market will be open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, Thursdays (beginning June 25) from 3 to 6 p.m. and Tuesdays (beginning June 30) from 9 a.m. to noon.

Organizers are asking customers to follow a few guidelines:

  • Have only one family member do the shopping.

  • Avoid gathering at any location. Keep moving throughout the market.

  • Avoid handling any items unless you are purchasing. Use your eyes to inspect, not your hands.

  • When using personal protective equipment such as gloves, wipes or face coverings, please discard responsibly.

  • Be patient and follow individual market policies and instructions.

  • Watch flow of market, enter and exit at only marked locations.

  • If you are not feeling well, please stay home.

  • Consider having smaller dollar amounts to limit money exchange. Or round up if you are able – the farmers will appreciate it.

  • Some vendors are only set up to accept cash, while other vendors may only accept electronic payments this year. Be prepared for both.

  • Look for instructions posted around the market.

  • Machine wash your bags between each shopping trip. Check market requirements on reusable bags.

  • Be patient and allow additional time to shop or wait in line. Expect delays.

For more information, go to the Alexandria Farmers Market Facebook page, facebook.com/alexandriafarmersmkt.