Mar 26, 2020
Organic farms shift business approaches during COVID-19
Stephen Kloosterman

Farm and food-production activities have been listed as essential by most state and local governments, but the industry has still been disrupted by COVID-19.

In response, organic growers across the country are switching up their business plans.

Here are some examples reported from around the country.

Southwest: McClendon’s Select Farm

McClendon’s Select Farm in Arizona grows a variety of organic fruits and vegetables, and also dates and honey. Since their business supplying restaurants dried up, they’ve turned to a variety of enterprises to sell their crops and recoup lost income.

The farms started offering “grab-and-go” boxes of produce at locations around town.

The service has been a hit, in part to some publicity from Phoenix’s ABC 15 TV station. They’ve also started a campaign to support farm employees, and are continuing to sell at farm markets that remain open.

Northwest: Bainbridge Organic Distillers/Williams Hudson Bay Farm

The Seattle Times reports Bainbridge Organic Distillers is one of a number of distilleries in the area shifting their production to hand sanitizer.

They are doing so using some “26 tons of corn donated by the Williams Hudson Bay Farm in Walla Walla,” according to the Seattle Times.

Williams Hudson Bay Farm grows more than 3,300 acres of organic row crops and vegetables, according to its website.

Northeast: Waldingfield Farm

The Connecticut Mirror reports that Waldingfield Farm, a 20-acre local farm, recently re-opened its on-farm market that it had previously been closed. Now, their neighbors will be able to “buy local” during the pandemic.

The on-farm market will feature a variety of vegetables from Waldingfield and maybe other local farms, the owners wrote on Facebook.

“We also have our famed tomato products, because who doesn’t need a bloody Mary right about now?” they quipped.

Photo: USDA/Lance Cheung

Stephen Kloosterman is the managing editor of Organic Grower

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