Food Trucks and Carts Struggle While Farmers Markets Soldier On Under Coronavirus Conditions

Food trucks and carts all over Brooklyn are struggling to stay open as Coronavirus grinds business to a halt. Farmers’ markets, on the other hand, will stay open for now.

Trucks and Carts:

Frenchy’s food truck at 333 Eastern Parkway has taken Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20 off in response to safety concerns and diminishing profits. Owner David Schiaratua estimates business has been cut in half since before the crisis.

The truck will be open Saturday, March 21, but Schiaratua will be operating it himself. Sunday the truck is always closed and after that Schiaratua hasn’t decided if it’s worth it to open shop.

Frites’N’Meats food truck at 85 Jay St. in Vinegar Hill is closing today for the foreseeable future. Co-owner Hiassam Beydoun estimates they’ve had 80% less business in recent days. Four employees will be put out of work by the closing.

He says the truck will reopen after the crisis if they can afford it.

Asis Iqbal has run a halal stand at 403-395 Pearl St. near Jay St. – Metrotech station for the past five years. He closed the cart on Monday, March 16 after Mayor Bill de Blasio closed New York City public schools. Iqbal has four children he is now looking after at home. He says the business was losing money at that point anyway and plans to return to the cart after schools reopen.

Yumpling, a food truck that mostly operates in Manhattan, but occasionally visits the DUMBO Food Truck Lot, made an Instagram post on Tuesday, March 17 that they would be suspending service until after the crisis.

 

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Keep fighting. Better days ahead! 🙏🏼💪🏽

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Over a dozen other Brooklyn food trucks and carts did not answer their phones during business hours. Similarly, many food trucks have not updated their Instagram pages since before Coronavirus hit New York City.

Not every Food Truck is giving up yet though. Hard Times Sundaes made two bold Instagram posts wreathed in flame emojis on Monday,  March 16 — one proclaiming that they will be ramping up deliveries and another asking if anyone is looking for a job.

 

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Markets:

All 10 Brooklyn farmers’ markets hosted by GrowNYC are still running, including the seven that will be operating tomorrow, Saturday, March 21, will be open. Farmers’ markets have been deemed “essential” by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to close all non-essential businesses.

That doesn’t mean that the markets aren’t changing in order to protect patrons from exposure to Coronavirus though. New rules at GrowNYC markets include:

  • Only producers and their staff will handle products, and they will wear protective gloves
  • No open drinks will be sold
  • All farm stands will use vinyl or plastic table covers, and stands will be regularly sanitized.
  • Staff have been instructed to stay home if they are sick.

The services and programs available at these markets will also be limited. All food-scrap composting drop-offs, clothing and fresh-food donations, and tours have been canceled.

For those looking for fresh produce though, Brooklyn farmers’ markets are still an option.

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Curtis Brodner

Curtis is a reporter for Bklyner. Message me with tips, questions and lavish praise (or complaints) at curtis@bklyner.com or on Twitter @CurtisBrodner.

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