In my last update I promised we would do our best to gather the information and make decisions based on that information. I am not providing breaking news when I tell you that things in our business are continuing to evolve, just like everywhere.
Most of you have experienced the shortages in supplies and food through the grocery stores during the past few weeks. In the never ending blame game that makes up a lot of folks daily activities, I have heard shortages blamed on hoarding or stockpiling. No doubt some of that is occurring, but did you realize that on a typical day 36% of folks get their meals eating out. Compound this with the number of meals typically served to our students through the schools and you have a significant increase in demand for food.
Thankfully during this crisis many companies have stepped up to produce the much needed equipment for our hospitals and the heroes that staff them. These items can be manufactured quickly to meet the demand. The food system is not quite as responsive. When additional demand is placed on the supply whether it is animal or vegetable, it must be grown and this takes time. The young chicks in the brooder cannot suddenly be forced to mature size. Decisions to up production on some items can only be made in very narrow windows, often a matter of days or a week depending on the crop. Food that has been produced for restaurants and commercial uses does not easily move to the retail sector to meet demand. No one can really tell us how long this will last or what the long term effects will be and I know that our food system is only a part of the things that must be managed during this time, so please be patient as we respond and adjust.
I do think it is important for each one of us to be aware, alert and responsible in our actions. For our part, things have become a bit more clear… in a murky sort of way. The State of Ohio, working with the farmers’ market association has acknowledged the need to provide some type of market during the season. While we have not heard from our market managers it seems likely that the seasonal markets will take place with additional rules and procedures to protect vendors and customers alike.
We have decided to grow some of the popular garden plants to have for sale again this year. Many of you expressed desire to grow your own supplemental gardens and so we will have plants available at the markets. We will also be opening our on farm store to provide a safe space for those of you not comfortable going to the markets or who like the experience of visiting the farm. We expect this to be ready sometime in early May.
Our Farm Club will continue to operate as normal throughout the season.
As far as progress goes, we are on schedule for seasonal crops. The greenhouse continues to fill up and the outdoor planting should begin this weekend as things dry up a bit and temperatures warm.
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Please stay safe and say a prayer for the sick, as well as our health care workers and their families.