Maple Wind Farm in Richmond One local farmer that we reached out to was Beth Whiting at .
How are you doing considering the current circumstances we find ourselves in?
We are lucky to be working in normal capacity caring for our animals and gearing up for a busy season - our staff has remained healthy. By the middle of May we will be a full staff of 16 and we will begin to process chickens for the first time this season on May 19th. We had an online store in place since last year and our home delivery program started a few weeks prior to the stay at home recommendations. When that occurred our orders went from 6 per week to over 50. We are now doing free home delivery in our area during the COVID-19 crisis and just started shipping with in a 24 hour zone of the farm this week. We're packing orders every week is like Santa's workshop!
Vermont has an amazing history of supporting its local communities and farmers, any specific moments that have stood out to you during this time?
It's great to see farms collaborating to cross promote each other's products. Many farm stands and home delivery services are getting food in the hands of families in our area. Currently we offer 10 other producers products on our platform and are bringing more on weekly. Folks are realizing that we need local food systems more than ever to thrive - the support has been wonderful.
How do you see Vermont farmers adjusting to the “new normal”?
Vermont farmers are resilient, creative and entrepreneurial and we are pivoting to meet the needs of our community in new ways. New products, new packaging, new marketing channels, new ideas - and we are all sharing resources with each other so everyone has opportunities to flourish during this time.
How are you changing or innovating your farming practices during this time?
We have the same practices with production of our livestock. Our USDA processing facility will have safe systems and modifications in place by our first day to address our staffs safety working in close proximity.
The big changes are that many of our wholesale accounts are gone temporarily but the direct sales have blossomed and our number of community members have grown. More people are searching the internet and looking for high quality, transparency and products they can trust. With the addition of our shipping program, that also expands our community.
What are you looking forward to most once the “stay-at-home” order gets lifted?
Looking forward to greeting customers without a mask, giving out handshakes and hugs. Potlucks with friends and seeing even more people gathering in all the beautiful places in Vermont.
Any words of hope or inspiration you would like to share?
Vermont has a long history of farming and working landscapes - lets keep it that way. Support your local farmers and producers.