Letters to the Editor: Thank You for Keeping Farmers Market Open

Letters to the Editor: May 14 – 20, 2020

Thank You Falls Church for Keeping Farmers Market Open


My husband and I own Black Rock Orchard in Lineboro, Maryland. We have been coming to the Falls Church Farmers Market to sell our fruit for more than 25 years. The market has a loyal following. Falls Church customers have shown up in the past to see us through trials of bad weather, poor crops or worker shortages.

The Covid virus presented an unanticipated challenge.

When Howard Herman told us that the market would have to close unless it changed into a preorder Grab and Go system, we were desperately unprepared. Some of our markets suddenly closed while others opened to a much smaller base of customers.

It didn’t seem possible to redesign our business model so quickly. A farmers market depends on customers coming for person to person contact with farmers, browsing displays, and hanging out with family and friends. Online sales are the antithesis to customer service.

We trusted Howard Herman and frankly, we were glad to have a goal. We bagged up our apples and organized an online store. We expected the difficulty to be the customer response, not the computer technology.

What happened next should not have been so surprising. We received an outpouring of online orders, more than we could process efficiently. The Falls Church customers showed us that they cared enough about buying local produce to stand in line twice, once to get into market and again while I searched for their names on my preorder list. Each week, they reorder again.

Each week, Howard Herman shows up at 6:30 a.m. wearing shorts (and a mask). He sets a good example. It is reassuring to see him there each week in such a different market atmosphere. It can’t be easy for him.
Last week, one customer brought me a fried egg sandwich and another brought me a mask she sewed herself. She noticed my glasses fogging up the week before.

In this nervous period, when we depend on staying away from each other, The Falls Church Farmers Market is a community jewel and a sign of hope. Thank you.

Emily Zaas

Lineboro, Maryland

NY Gov. Cuomo Is Not Virus Hero He’s Made Out To Be

Some friendly advice for Nicholas Benton, along with anyone else who is opposed to President Trump’s efforts to carefully reopen the economy, via a governor who they feel is doing a better job: Find a better choice than New York’s Governor Cuomo. Since the crisis started, Governor Cuomo has left open the petri dishes known as the subway system, ghoulishly forced retirement homes to accept coronavirus patients, and when asked about people whose livelihoods are being destroyed, he simply sniffed that they should “get a job as an essential worker”. But if you’re more concerned with actual results versus partisan politics, a better place to look would be what Governor Noem has done in South Dakota. Hopefully Governor Northam is taking notes.

Jeff Walyus


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