March 23, 2020

What a Week!

We are so fortunate to be part of such a robust local food system. As the news of society’s reaction to COVID-19 spread, we all wondered what, if anything, was going to change. It was my wife, Moyra, who delivered the news. While we sat around the kitchen table after dinner, she logged on to customize our weekly Farm Fresh To You box (yes, we get one too), “Thad, everything is sold out, even the radicchio.” We looked at each other. “Radicchio is sold out?” Radicchio is great, but it never ever, ever, sells out and I knew we had a field full of that stuff. It has been an around-the-clock process from that moment to catch up to the unprecedented demand.

We greatly value all our customers, from longtime supporters to those new to the service who may now be required to shelter in place, seniors and other vulnerable populations, and many who are trying to increase their social distancing and limit visits to retail stores. Although we have been, and will continue to welcome new customers, larger orders by existing customers are significantly impacting our operational systems. As an essential business, we welcome this challenge and will continue working our hardest to bring fresh, local foods to customers. We are not concerned about a shortage of supply, but the issue is the logistics of getting said supply from our fields and our partners to our packing warehouse, which is something that takes at least a day, often two. That said, I took it as a unique challenge to get customers their radicchio—we were going to figure this out.

As the dust settles (it’s not all settled yet), we made some big adjustments to better meet the needs of our customers. Last week, you likely noticed your delivery did not arrive at the normal time; we really apologize, but we made the decision to make sure as much of it showed up as possible by the end of the week. This week, we adjusted routes to ease the daily load on our drivers, and moved to daytime delivery for safety and visibility. These steps, along with some process improvements in our warehouse, should make things better.

As you read this, truckloads of products are headed to our warehouses. Produce, eggs, grains, juices, meats, dry goods—all inbound. Historically, our inventory was completely set on Thursday when the following week’s boxes were ready to customize, but this week we will update the availability on the website as product reaches the warehouse. Items will show as “sold out” until new supply lands, so please check back in your account before your customization window closes (11 a.m., two days before your next delivery) if there is an item you are still looking for.

I have been proud of our team and network of farms and producers. In one week, we greatly increased our supply and the size of our vegetable plantings, and we still made the plant date of our first tomatoes (that all happened last week.) This situation is giving ort local food system an opportunity to really shine and I hope you all realize that is is working as hard as it possibly can for you.

Enjoy your farm box and don't forget to wash your hands.