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(Illinois Farmers Market Association / Facebook)

A flood of farmers markets are getting ready to open, but visitors should expect a different experience in 2020. For starters, there will be no picking through produce and dawdling will be discouraged. 

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In a Sept. 11, 2010, file photo, Temeka Williams, right, of Detroit, uses her bridge card tokens for a purchase from Elizabeth and Gary Lauber from Sweet Delights at the Farmer's Market in Detroit. Farmers, growers and operators of open-air markets are heading into a busy time of the year, in early May 2020, as many states still are under stay-at-home orders for residents and non-essential businesses to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Farmers, growers and operators of open-air markets are heading into one of their busiest times of year while facing the added challenge of the coronavirus.

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Virtual farmers markets aim to prop up local food producers during the COVID shutdown. (Gemma Billings / Flickr)

From Green City Market’s spanking new app to McKinley Park’s Google spreadsheet, farmers market organizers are working overtime to support growers and get fresh, local food in the hands of Chicagoans.

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A sample farmers market to-go box. (Courtesy of Closed Loop Farms)

Closed Loop Farms is leading a group of local food producers to deliver everything from Michelin-worthy greens to naturally fermented sodas directly to your door.

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Mushroom and Kale Royal Pie

Our panel of expert chefs and restaurant owners – Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson of Pleasant House Bakery, Dan Smith of Hearty Boys, and Cleetus Friedman of Fountainhead – weighs in on how you can get the most out of dining out this summer. View some recipes.

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The season for farmers markets is upon us. We have some advice about where you should go for fresh foods this summer.