Coronavirus has more Vermonters heading to farms for food

Published: Mar. 26, 2020 at 5:48 PM EDT
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As some people flock to grocery stores to stock up on food, others are opting to buy from local farms. Our Elissa Borden takes a look at the boom in business seen by Vermont farmers.

Out away from the chaos of chain grocery stores, local farmers are working to keep up with demand.

"My husband is out on home deliveries and direct curbside pickup at our farm. We've gone from about five or six, maybe 10 of those a week to about 40 to 50 of those this week," said Beth Whiting, who co-owns Maple Wind Farm in Richmond.

Maple Wind sells mostly meat and eggs. They say their home deliveries have jumped nearly 800%.

Their curbside pickup at their storefront is a popular choice, too.

"We definitely have seen an uptick in sales of our products, not only because of the scarcity of some things but also people are really reaching out in a wonderful way of really supporting the local farms because farms have been hit hard, restaurants, just the food supply chain in general," Whiting said.

"People are starting to realize that they want to know where their food is coming from and lock that in and know that they're going to get it on a weekly basis. I think that's one thing. And also, I think people are wanting to avoid probably the big grocery stores right now," said Corie Pierce, who owns the Bread & Butter Farm.

But while some farms are booming, others are feeling the effects of restaurant closures.

"There are a lot of farms that rely almost exclusively on wholesale accounts to restaurants and as we all know, our restaurant friends are suffering really big time right now. And those farms, subsequently, are suffering because their food now doesn't have anywhere to go," Pierce explained.

Pierce says other collaborative farms have stepped up, purchasing otherwise unused produce to sell at their own stores.

"So, if there's a farm that has a lot of beautiful greens or other vegetables that they would normally sell to a restaurant that doesn't have anywhere to go, we can buy those, sell those through our outlets and I know a lot of other stores are doing that. So, we're selling a number of other farms' products right now and so are lots of other farms," Pierce said.

Allowing them to keep their shelves stocked, and other farms in business.