It’s both an honor and a challenge to be an “essential business” during the COVID-19 pandemic. No doubt most farmers would gladly tell you they’ve always been essential, but the impacts we’ve felt here at Ferndale Market have pulled us in many new directions. We’re in the food business from farm to table at Ferndale Market, so it’s been like riding a rollercoaster blindfolded as the situation turns each day.
In our on-farm market, our team rallied incredibly fast to get us ready for curbside grocery pickup and local delivery. We’re fully up and running with both, and I’m proud that we were able to quickly find ways to serve both customers and local food partners, all with social distancing in place. The curbside and delivery options had been aspirational long-term goals for quite some time, but became a reality in less than two weeks with thoughtful work and hours of web programming. Our frequent cleaning of all surfaces continues and we’ve worked closely with our food partners to stay in stock on essentials. Short of buying our own flock of laying hens to supply more eggs, we’ve done all we can to keep the shelves stocked.
As we fill turkey orders for our retail partners, we’ve joked that this feels like Thanksgiving, but without the plan. We’ve had the hustled pace typically reserved for autumn to keep up with the surge in retail demand, all while feeling a very real sense of loss for our foodservice customers during the shutdown. We had orders for colleges, schools, and restaurants that will now wait for more normal times.
We need to laugh amidst all of this, so I’ll share that our turkeys are a healthy reminder that ordinary rhythms continue. Flocking creatures that they are, they are not practicing social distancing and are definitely not sheltered in place as we get them back outside for spring on these nice days.
It’s my hope that in this time of disrupted supply chains, we can demonstrate the strength of local foods and the resilience of independent businesses. As we’ve said from the start, we’re all in this together. We are proud to be essential and will continue to be here as we navigate together.