Dear friends and community members,
You are probably receiving a lot of these messages from businesses and organizations right now regarding their response to the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19. We definitely don’t want to add to any rising anxiety, in fact quite the opposite, and we do want to make sure that you know that despite spending our days seeding and prepping beds (social isolation!), we are very aware of the issue and making a plan to address this global, and local health crisis. First off, we are stepping up our sanitation protocols. We already follow and document industry best practices for hand washing, cleaning our harvest tools and bins, washing our produce, cleaning our prep stations and fridges etc. On top of existing sanitation protocols, we will be using gloves and masks when bagging greens, packing our CSA and restaurant delivery boxes, or stocking the farm store. Though we hate to increase our plastic use, we will also be using plastic liners in our CSA and restaurant boxes as long as there is any concern of Coronavirus. We will also wear gloves at the farmer’s market, and when possible, have two of us available so that one can exclusively handle produce, and the other can exclusively handle cash. Currently there is no evidence to support COVID-19 being transmitted through food, but rest assured we will be washing our hands, produce, and facilities extra thoroughly.
If food is medicine (we believe it is), then eating local, healthy food is your first line of defense in building a healthy immune system. We still have availability for our CSA, and may open up additional shares. We are also considering more flexible options for CSA or on-site ordering and pickup. We would be honored to serve you and your family, pandemic or not…though it’s a pretty good way to avoid the grocery store.
We plan on opening up our Farm Store in April or May, and will keep the store stocked and extra clean.
As of now, March 21st and April 4 Farmer’s Markets have been cancelled. Though many of our overwintered crops did not survive the extra rainy winter, we may offer what we have at the SJI Co-op or open our farm store early. We also have potted culinary herbs such as Thyme, Sage and Rosemary, which are said to contain antiviral properties among other health benefits. When the market does re-open, there’s great air flow, and hopefully it’ll be sunny out and you can absorb some Vitamin D, proven to help with colds and flu. Our Farmer’s Market is classified as a grocery store and retail space and has no current plans to cancel market days, however this may change as this is an evolving situation. If things persist and get worse, we are considering the possibility of pre-orders for the Farmer’s Market, and potentially limited home delivery services for our most vulnerable customers or anybody that needs to self-quarantine.
No matter what happens out there, we all still need to eat every day, so we are going to continue doing what we do, which is growing as much nutrient-dense, delicious food for our community as we can. We are a strong, supportive community and we will weather this together.
Farming is already a game of uncertainty, and being a business in Friday Harbor means that we, like many of you, rely on tourism. Visitors to the island bolster our sales at the farmer’s market, our farm stand, and the restaurants we work with. Suffice it to say, this situation adds a new layer of uncertainty about the coming growing season.
Alas, we’re still planting – it’s what we do best. As they say; You don’t plant seeds unless you have hope for the future!
As things seem to develop every day, we’re not sure how long this will last, or to what degree it will affect us; however I think it highlights the importance of supporting your local economies, and especially food producers. I am confident that this will only strengthen local food systems and our local economy in the long run. Are we nervous and anxious? You bet. Luckily, farmers are some of the most adaptable folks around. For now, our day to day hasn’t changed that much. Springtime on the farm involves a lot of social distancing, keeping our head to the ground, and washing our hands a lot anyways.
Be smart, listen to your gut (and the CDC), wash your hands, be kind and compassionate.
All our best,
Greg, Zach, and the DSF Team