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Farmers Markets On Central, South Coasts See Surge In Business With Supermarkets Swamped

You’d think people were lined up to get into a nightclub: there’s 20 people waiting to get in.  But it’s noon, and the line of people all have shopping bags, waiting for their chance to get into a Ralph’s supermarket in Thousand Oaks.

It’s definitely a different world even compared to just two weeks ago. On the other side of the city, there’s a large crowd for the weekly Thousand Oaks Certified Farmers Market.

Some people here are regulars. Others are coming to find items they are having a hard time getting in supermarkets. Jose Ramirez, with Canyon Meadow Farms, sold his entire supply of eggs in minutes. Ryan Hite is carrying a carton of eggs like it’s a winning lottery ticket.

Business is booming here. Karen Wetzel Schott is with the farmer’s market. She says they have been much busier than normal.

The booths have signs cautioning people and reminding them of social distancing. In case patrons don’t comply, Mark Ortega with the Farmers Market is patrolling it to remind them. He says most people get it, but when they forget, he’s there to give them a reminder.

As supermarkets and big-box food store struggle to keep up with the unprecedented demand, Farmers Markets on the Central and South Coast are finding an unexpected new customer base. And, many of the vendors say unlike the past, they are often selling out their stock, and are busy trying to meet the demand.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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