It has been almost 2 months since life changed so drastically for everyone in Ontario. Many parts of life have been turned upside down as we are all working together to fight an invisible threat. Staying home, washing our hands and keeping our distance has become a powerful role we each can play. In the Newman household we have settled in to a different, but still busy normal. We have had moments of frustration with the situation and each other, but on the whole we understand that we are very fortunate.
I have all my children home safe. We have plenty of space and work to maintain a feeling of normalcy. I am not sure if we have managed it, but I do hope we have made some good memories made for the kids. My oldest son has just finished his first year of college, so I am keenly aware that the opportunities for us all to just hang out are limited.
I have been trying to keep these positives in mind as I adjust to the ever changing new reality. For some this reality includes a real threat to their health and job security. Almost everyone is dealing with many uncertainties. Most of us are facing the uncertainty of what our work will look like, where our food will come from and how our life and business expectations will change.
Over the last couple months, I have been impressed by the ability of local businesses to pivot their strategies. Equally impressive has been the support shown by our community for these small businesses, demonstrating the great strength of our community. Local restaurants have been especially good examples of adaptability. The speed with which these wonderful businesses have switched to pick up and delivery of family style meals, date night offerings and even coffee delivered to people’s homes is inspiring! Great work everyone!
I would also like to commend our local arbitrators on their hard work. Maintaining safety while growing to meet demand has meant long hours and an increased workload. These critical businesses have worked around the clock to add infrastructure, increase cleaning and add new levels of customer service. Three cheers to The Beefway and Elora Road Meats in particular. Keep up the great work!
The growing season has begun and just like so many of our other local businesses, farmers are adapting to ensure safety and food security for our area. We are slowly moving out of crisis mode and into COVID management. We know that will mean farmers markets will not look the same this season. Many of us count on these markets for our fresh produce each week.
True to form, local producers are tackling this problem with a range of creative solutions. There is sure to be something that will fit your new reality so no one has to go without local produce this year.
A few of our local producers are moving towards a CSA model of sales. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture (see previous blog for more information). This model has been around for a long time and the greatest thing about it is the security that it provides. The producer receives job and financial security from the customer prepaying for the season and guaranteeing weekly sales. It is always good to know that your hard work is going to be appreciated. In return, the customer will receive fresh produce all season long.
If this sounds just right for you or your family you can sign up now for one of these great options.
A Still Small Farm is offering a weekly or biweekly subscription box. Andrew is born and raised in Ripley. He provides a greens focused produce box. With 10 years of growing experience, he grows using organic methods. Boxes can be picked up each week at a convenient location in Kincardine. You can even add a home delivery option to your box.
Streicher’s Family Farm is offering a weekly small or large produce box. The farm is located just outside of Kincardine. The Streicher family has been offering their organically grown produce at the Kincardine Monday market for the last 10 years. With the market on hold until at least July they have decided to put together a weekly box for you. Boxes will include a minimum of 8 vegetables every week, including strawberries in season. With free delivery to the Kincardine area this is a great deal. Bulk produce is also available in season. Contact me for pricing and contact information.
Mixed produce boxes are similar to a CSA subscription box,but without the commitment.
Ruetz Family Farm is another familiar face from the Monday market. To ensure we don’t miss out on their early produce, they will be offering mixed boxes available for pre-order each week with a pick up location in Kincardine. They are also offering bulk sales when available so keep an eye on their Facebook page for the final details.
Needful Things Produce continues to put together produce boxes each week from a collection of local sources. Safe pick up in Kincardine is available.
In contrast to the CSA style of sales we have a couple businesses who have gone digital.
Beacon Hill Farm Market has been bringing us local meats, baking and produce to their stand just north of Kincardine for many years now. This year, Mike and Heidi have opened an online store to help maintain social distancing while shopping. They are open now each Thursday for weekly ordering.
Franklin Produce is new on the scene, but I expect big things from them. Katie Franklin is growing produce this summer between her semesters at university. Thanks to the help of her family, she was able to get an early start on things and will be ready to go soon. Keep an eye on this one as she launches her online order system in the near future!
Eat Local Grey Bruce has always been an online local option. This food cooperative is a gateway to dozens of local producers. This organization has recently seen a surge in popularity. They have had to put a cap on orders to ensure high quality service, but I know all the staff is working around the clock to meet demand. I expect that we will see this wonderful order and delivery service continue to grow and be available to more people as the season continues.
There is still hope for market style shopping!
The Kincardine Farmers Market is currently working with Public Health to design a safe shopping atmosphere. This market normally opens Saturday mornings at Connaught park, and consists of wonderful collections of local farmers who sell home grown food each week. They are hoping to be open June 6th so stay tuned.
Of course when it comes to local food security it is important to support our full time producers. In these uncertain times they are more important than ever. We can all supplement our grocery bill in our backyards as well. Not only will growing your own food fill your stomach, it is also a fun and healthy activity.
Whether you are just starting out or already a pro you should check out Kinship Gardeners This new Facebook page is a great source of advice and sharing. You never stop learning in the garden. How amazing to have a community develop around growing food.
With so many things that are uncertain right now at least we know that we have the growing season ahead of us. Producers are ready to go and now you know how to find them.
Sign up for a subscriptions box, shop online, Like some Facebook pages or plant your own seeds to take the uncertainty out of grocery shopping. We are fortunate here in Bruce county to have some great producers, wonderful local businesses and a strong community to tie it all together.
If I missed someone who you are looking forward to getting local produce from please leave a comment so that we can add them to our list. Let’s keep supporting one another!
See you soon
PS Thanks to a community comment we have another link to share.
Voisin’s Family Farm would normally be accessible at the Monday Farmers Market. They have gone to an online ordering system with a local pick up spot in Kincardine. Be sure to check them out as well.