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DETROIT — For a dozen years, Johnny Gyergyou has sold meat, poultry and eggs from his Berlin Township livestock farm at Eastern Market in Detroit.
Lately, he’s been staying home as fear of the COVID-19 virus has kept thousands of shoppers away from the popular venue northeast of downtown.
“The crowds are small and there aren’t many vendors,” said Gyergyou, adding that it’s just not cost-effective to haul the loads 33 miles to Detroit where they may or may not sell.
“We’ve been doing fairly well (selling) at the farm. It’s not Eastern Market sales by no means, but at least it’s helping us along here,” said Gyergyou, 72.
Farmers, growers and operators of open-air markets are heading into a busy time of the year as many states still are under stay-at-home orders for residents and non-essential businesses to slow the spread of the coronavirus which has killed more than 60,000 people in the United States and at least 230,000 worldwide.
Shoppers venturing out this year are just as likely to come across tables of hand sanitizer and face mask-wearing produce peddlers as they are to see bushels of corn, quarts of blueberries or flats of petunias.