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How Local Farmers Are Bringing You Fresh Food During the COVID-19 Crisis
Food

How Local Farmers Are Bringing You Fresh Food During the COVID-19 Crisis

Despite images of empty grocery aisles, there hasn’t been a lot of disruption to local supply chains at this time. Here’s how to support local farmers and get fresh food.

During this new reality, everything has changed, including how we shop for local food. Here are a few ways of how local suppliers are adapting to the new norms.

Philly Foodworks is supporting local farmers and limiting disruptions to customers.

While people are boasting about their vegetable boxes from restaurant supplies like Giordano’s, local suppliers like Philly Foodworks have been providing these services directly to customers for years.

As a mission-based business, Philly Foodworks has supported local farmers to reduce crop overlap, offer fair prices and help farmers invest in essential tools and equipment.

Now, local farmers are facing additional hurdles due to COVID-19 like decreased sales from restaurant outlets, uncertainty about how much to plant for the coming months and travel disruptions with migrant workers.

To help combat these hurdles, Philly Foodworks co-founder Dylan Baird has increased purchases from local suppliers like Mycopolitan Mushroom Company over the past few weeks.

As Baird explained, “You just have a lot of farmers who are struggling dearly because they don’t have those outlets or restaurants.”

Although Philly Foodworks may be temporarily out of stock for some specialty products, Philly Foodworks co-founder Dylan Baird assures that it still has essential products like produce, cheese, bread, and meat.

The question of how our supply chains will be affected in a few months is more unclear. For one, travel plans may cause disruptions. Local suppliers often depend on migrant workers who often return to the area when the growing season begins. If farmers’ markets see a smaller demand, farmers may reduce what they plant for the warmer months.

Suppliers will also need to adjust to disruptions to traditional shopping schedules, too. “Anybody who’s older or who has any kind of immune-compromised (condition) is not going to be able to go to grocery stores. We, as a society, are going to need to figure out over how large a number of people are going to get food,” says Baird.

Philly Foodworks is continuing to provide customers with safe options, sanitizing vehicles and the warehouses regularly. Customers can receive orders straight to their door or choose from a limited number of pick-up sites available. Remaining pick-up sites are typically either private residents or businesses (deemed an essential service) that have a 3-hour pick-up window.

Customers also have the option of adding on a donation to their orders, which will go directly to restaurant owners and hospitality workers.

Farm to City is switching to Pre-Order Farmers Markets.

Farm to City, which operates local farmers’ markets, is continuing to offer markets with limited products a shortened time (10 AM to 12 PM) and a revised process. Those interested in Rittenhouse, Chestnut Hill, and Bryn Mawr Farmers Markets must pre-order and pre-pay prior to arriving at the markets in order to pick up a pre-packed order at designated times.

Farm to City has also implemented safety guidelines:

  • Send one person per household to pick up items at the market with a copy of your order.
  • If there is another customer at the table, form a line distancing yourself from other customers.
  • Customers are asked not to approach the vendor until the other customer has left.

Customers can pick up orders at designated times based on their last name (i.e. with last names beginning with the letters A to M from 10 AM to 11 AM, etc.).

Learn more about the specific guidelines and what to order on Farm to City’s website.

Food Trust is implementing new safety precautions at Farmers’ Markets.

The Food Trust’s three year-round Philadelphia Farmers Markets (Fitler Square, Clark Park, and Headhouse) are still operating with new safety guidelines.

  • Hand-washing stations will be implemented in several places, and customers will be asked to wash hands when entering the vicinity.
  • Only farmers are allowed to touch products, and customers can motion to their intended purchase.
  • Farmers and market employees will be wearing gloves at all times, changing the gloves regularly, and payments will be transacted by different employees.
  • Some vendors may offer pre-bagged produce alternatives.
  • Market employees will be dispersed throughout the market and will help form lines with distance in between each customer.
  • Signs will be placed throughout the markets reminding customers about CDC guidelines.

Customers can check individual vendors to see if they are still operating at the markets.

Learn more about the guidelines at Food Trust’s website.

Shop at the South 9th Street Italian Market or get it delivered.

While the Visitor Center of the market is closed, you may have to check with individual vendors to see if they’re still open at the market.

The 9th Street Italian Market offers an online delivery service, which is available from 11 AM to 7 PM. Delivery fees range from $7 to $8.

Reading Terminal Market is also making home deliveries.

Reading Terminal Market is open during the week from 8 AM to 6 PM with extra precautions. You can check to see if your favorite vendors are still operating.

You also have a choice to play home deliveries online through Mercato. The home delivery service operates during the weekdays from 10 AM to 6 PM.

For a free delivery option, call your vendor with your delivery information, and they’ll get their order out to you.

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Jessica Rogers

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