It’s no surprise in this environment of sanitizing and social distancing that most are adopting a ‘safety first’ mentality. Here at the Produce Grower headquarters in Cleveland, we’ve gone from working remotely to staggering days in the office among our coworkers. Not everyone has been so lucky to be able to telecommute.
In Ohio, retail, restaurants and bars are starting to open up, which has left many calculating the risks they’re willing to take. Some stores are choosing to remain closed out of safety precautions for their staff and many would-be diners and shoppers are choosing play it safe and stay home.
And for those choosing to stay home, that means more time in the kitchen and more groceries coming into the house. Many have concerns about the food supply chain. Combine that with an increase in delivery times and ever-present concerns about food safety, some vertical farms are reporting a boost in sales. With the ability offer local, fresh and safe produce, Bowery Farms and AeroFarms, for example, are increasing their outputs. Bowery Farms, in fact, is reporting double the usual online sales and an increase in retail orders.
Like restaurants, produce growers are in a tough spot as demands and circumstances change in these strange times. But the ability to provide local and safe produce is filling a huge need.
It takes constant vigilance, evaluation and re-evaluation to find what’s best for your operation and your market, but in such unstable times, it’s sure to pay off.
In this month’s cover story, you can read about three microgreens growers that have made the necessary changes and adaptations to be successful through the coronavirus pandemic. By capitalizing on the quick turnaround and high nutrition value of their crops, they’re finding ways to be successful in both the short and the long term.
I hope their stories inspire you to make positive changes and take calculated risks at your own operation.