Farming Alongside COVID-19

Update for CSA Members—May 14, 2020

We’ve known since March that this season’s CSA pickups would not be business-as-usual. We’ve been paying attention to state mandates and social trends as they evolve, gathering feedback from our members, and reflecting on our own capabilities as a small, family business. With the first harvests right around the corner, we’ve identified several COVID-related measures that meet some or all of the following criteria:

 

  • reflect basic common sense

  • bring us into compliance with existing laws

  • provide options for members seeking to minimize their risk as much as possible

  • preserve the farm’s communal atmosphere as much as possible

  • protect farm staff

  • ensure we’re still able to do our job

 

These criteria are not mutually exclusive, but finding the right combination of measures was a tough balancing act. And, as we all know, the situation is constantly changing. If additional changes are warranted, we will communicate them to you. For now, we are eagerly anticipating the first harvests, with the following:

 

Masks

Anyone entering the Tin House is required to wear a mask. Farm staff will be wearing masks during pickup hours. Additionally, members should wear masks while picking berries, flowers, and/or herbs.

 

Social Distancing in the Tin House

Much as we love the social buzz of CSA pickup, there are two simple ways to alleviate crowding in the Tin House:

   1.  Members should collect their shares solo (i.e. check your family at the door)

   2. Save your socializing (including with farm staff) for outside

We have already added a second cash register for the farm stand. If/when the situation requires, we will limit the number of people allowed into the Tin House at a given time. 

 

Members Should Wear Gloves or Wash Hands

Before collecting their shares, all members should put on a pair of gloves or wash their hands at the sink.

 

Shop With Your Eyes, Not With Your Hands

Members should scan the bins carefully before making selections, so as to minimize their handling of the produce. We take great pride in our harvests, and there’s no need to rummage to the bottom of a bin in search of the “better” item. 

 

Harvest Tools

Pruners and/or scissors are required for harvesting herbs. Members are encouraged to bring their own, though they may still use the farm’s at their own risk. 

 

Extended Pickup Hours

We are extending pickup hours for the entire 2020 season. The first hour of each pickup is reserved for seniors and at–risk members. The new schedule is:

   Tuesdays

   2–3pm for seniors & at–risk members

   3–6pm for all others

 

   Thursdays

   2–3pm for seniors & at–risk members

   3–6pm for all others

 

   Saturdays

   9–10am for seniors & at–risk members

   10am–1pm for all others

 

Curbside Pickup

We are now offering curbside pickup, for a fee. Your share will be packed by farm staff into one of the farm’s plastic crates. When you arrive, staff will deliver the crate to a table in front of the Tin House, where you can transfer your items into your own bags. Curbside pickup starts at 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30am on Saturdays. Option must be purchased online by May 24—$100 for full shares, $50 for half shares. 

We trust these measures will make sense to you. Our recent survey of CSA members delivered a wealth of suggestions, some of which we implemented, and some of which we didn’t, based on whether or not they met the criterion outlined above. In these uncertain times, it is difficult to chart the course, but knowing our own personal goalposts is what keeps us grounded. The next few months will continue to be a challenge, but we’re confident that as long as we take responsibility for ourselves, let kindness be our default, and eat plenty of wholesome veggies, we will get through this. 

 

All the best, and see you at pickup!

Caroline & Dan 

March 19, 2020

Greetings Farm Community,
 
First and foremost, we hope you all are healthy and safe. These are frightening times, and we hope you have managed to find a measure of comfort in the midst of such uncertainty.
 
Secondly, we want to assure you that the farm is chugging along by day, while keeping abreast of COVID-19 developments by night. Even as other NY businesses are required to power down, farms are included in Governor Cuomo’s list of essential services that must carry on. Now more than ever, people are seeking a safe, local food source, and we are keenly aware of our responsibility to meet that demand. The challenge for us is plotting a course through a landscape that changes by the hour. Fortunately, this is something farmers are particularly good at—hoping for the best, while simultaneously preparing for the worst.

Experts suggest COVID-19 will peak in early May, so we are preparing for the likelihood that added safety precautions will still be needed when harvests begin in late May. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: Everyone needs to wash their hands! Disposable gloves for our food handlers and regular sanitizing of common touch points are basic measures we will be implementing both in the fields and around the Tin House. Other measures on the table are extending pickup hours to mitigate crowds, individually packaging certain items, and/or boxing all shares. All of these measures will increase our labor and supply costs, so we don’t consider them lightly, but we do consider them. At the same time, we must also emphasize that in normal times, moderate exposure to pathogens is good for our immune systems, i.e. we don’t want our actions now to be construed as a backtracking of our firmly-held belief that dirt is good for you! But these are not normal times, so we will do our best, as we always do.
 
We feel for so many people at the moment. For the elderly cut off from the world. For the immune-compromised cowering in fear. For the parents who have been handed the teaching baton at the same time that they must absorb a catastrophic shock. For the small business owners, gig workers, artists, and others suddenly cut adrift. For the youth who stand to be overlooked. For the kids who don’t understand. We at Restoration Farm are lucky to have been spared the worst, and embrace the role we have to play—feeding our community the most nourishing food possible. We’re looking forward to sharing it with you, and reconnecting with you, very, very soon.

All the best,
Caroline & Dan

©2007-2020 by Restoration Farmers, LLC. All rights reserved.

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