Studio City Farmers Market adapts to Omicron


Printed with permission of Hannah Carbunaru

Hannah Carbunaru ’24 visits a fruit stand at the Studio City Farmers Market, masked up in front of a table of mandarins.

Iona Lee

As COVID-19 cases rise to almost 2.5 million cases in total due to the surge of the Omicron variant, the Studio City Farmers Market remains open while enforcing community health guidelines. The Farmers Market was established in 1998 and is open on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ventura Place.

The Studio City Farmers Market facilitates an outside area for many fresh produce vendors, specialty foods suppliers and homemade items creators to sell their products and spread the word about their small businesses and farms.

While many enjoy shopping at the market for guaranteed fresh produce and homemade products, local cheese vendor Jeremy Fattorusso said that being flexible through this time is something all vendors had to get accustomed to from the increase in COVID-19 cases.

“Throughout the different restrictions, we needed to be flexible as they took samples away and stuff like that,” Fattorusso said. “I have noticed a couple of farmers and different vendors that just stopped showing up, and sometimes that happens because of their seasons and harvest. But it seems like it definitely wasn’t worth their time anymore.”

Unlike Fattorusso, a fruit vendor, Oscar Diaz said the pandemic had repopularized his booth as many grew eager to shop at the Farmers Market again.

“[Shoppers] see the difference between us and regular [markets] when they receive [stale] stuff from an ordinary grocery store,” Diaz said. “So customers regularly come back to the markets to get fresh produce. They pay a little more, but it makes a difference in the flavors of the fruit.”

Farmers Market patron Hannah Carbunaru ’24 said she appreciates the market being open while the weather heats up.

“I was stuck in my house for such a long time that it’s nice to be outside and see people,” Carbunaru said. “I am especially happy that the weather is getting nicer and sunny because then I can be outside and not cold.”

Similarly, local florist, Allison Venegas noticed more shoppers who were eager to shop after the market reopened. Venegas said sales for her business had increased through the pandemic.

“I feel like it’s actually [affected] the Farmers Market positively because sales have gone up for the farmers,” Venegas said. “I think it’s because people [feel more comfortable] being outside instead of inside.”