For our CSA members and market customers trying to figure out your future eating, we wanted to let you know our farm plans.
This is a very strange time for all of us to be experiencing. If you’re like me the unknowns of what is to come with the Coronavirus are causing anxiety. There is a lot of uncertainty in health, economics, travel and so much more!
I wanted to take some time to talk with all of you about what the future looks like to Just Farmin’ in the face of this pandemic. Let me start by saying, the health of our community is the most important factor, hands down.
As a small business owner, it’s critical to adapt to the happenings of the world and that is exactly what Just Farmin’ is doing. Here are some things we are doing to better facilitate the needs of our community:
- Increasing our CSA Share Membership and Pickup Locations
- Launching online sales of Just Farmin’ Produce and Eggs
First of all, we are doing a LOT of the things that come naturally to us as vegetable farmers—washing hands, social distancing, sanitizing equipment per our SOP and using gloves to pack produce.
The greenhouse is up and humming, high tunnel planting started, and we are seeding up a storm, because that’s what farmers do. We all need to eat, and our goal is to do our best to keep providing healthy, delicious food to you, our community.
But like you, we are watching the news, worried about how Covid-19 might impact our older or immune-compromised family and friends, those with underlying health issues, or the many of us with jobs where you can’t work from home or take a leave from. We worry about the cracks showing in our fragile health care system and the household finances affected by the economy.
- Our main focus is to keep on planting on like normal. Our goal as a farm is to grow healthy, delicious, local food, and get it to you, our community and customers, the best that we can, and in the safest manner possible.
- For farmers markets, it’s an evolving situation, but with two months to the start of summer markets, we have time to prepare, both as a farm and as a market. Some of the options we are looking at include: pre-bagging all of the leafy green produce, taking online orders in advance, having extra folks there so one farmer handles the veggies and the other any money, and of course, a lot more sanitizing and hand washing! We will not be reusing bags, bands, or baskets this year (I know, we really want to cut down on waste, but we also want everything and everyone clean and safe).
- We cannot stress enough that you have to Wash All of your Produce. It is highly important that you take the time to wash the produce no matter where you purchase it!
- On the CSA front, we have contingency plans for distributions, depending upon how things look by summer. In the ultra-worst case scenario, we plan to deliver pre-bagged shares to porches/garages/etc, if folks are stuck in their homes. We haven’t worked out all the logistics on this because we really, really, REALLY don’t want things to get to that point in the world, but home delivery is on the table if needed. In the less than worse case scenarios, we will have lots of hand washing facilities at the pickup sites and around the farm.
- We also always build a buffer of a few weeks at the end of every season in case of bad weather. If things are unsettled because of Covid-19 all summer, this buffer will let folks take a week or two off the CSA when you have your hands full at home, and then make it up at the end of the season or into the fall. Likewise, if we have sick employees or are sick ourselves, this buffer allows us to stop distribution for a week or two until we are back at full health on the farm, and make up those shares in the fall. Again, we haven’t fully figured out the logistics of managing this, but we wanted to let you know that we are working on building in a bit more flexibility to the shares.
- Finally, we understand that there’s a lot of economic anxiety going on, and we have explored recurring payment options. For CSA, the idea of committing to a whole season helps us farmers manage our plantings and cash flow. But we totally understand the hesitancy folks might have to commit to a long-term relationship with a CSA right now when you aren’t sure what the future might bring. We do have the capacity to set up automatic monthly and bi-monthly payment plans that can help give your household a bit more financial mobility.
Yes, you’re nervous and we are nervous as well, and we hope we don’t need to dig into these plans. But we also all need to eat, so we will keep doing what we do best—growing healthy veggies, washing our hands a lot, and getting our farm’s bounty to you!