We spoke with Joyce Hanes and Greg Valdivia at Northwest Organic Farms in Ridgefield, Washington about how the pandemic had impacted their sales and this was their response:
The Clackamas Print: Has the pandemic impacted your income and your sales?
Joyce Hanes: Yeah, and during the pandemic it was not as nice as it could’ve been. You know, none of the restaurants were open and so a lot of the wholesale houses weren’t buying, so we mainly sell to wholesalers, not individuals. We sell to Chuck’s produce and Zupan’s market. It’s community supported agriculture. You as the customer would come to be the farmer in January and you buy a share you can buy a half a share or you can buy a full share and then you have until the next bundle to have your share paid for all of it.
Our shares here at the farm are $350 maybe $360 now and a full share is $600. When doing business with us you’d come every Tuesday and Thursday for pick up and we have a bag full of vegetables ready to go. You have a lot of rules that you have to follow right and so they always wore masks and stuff when they were in the field and people were nervous about the food that was being brought in from any place and so most of our customers we’ve had for at least five years and they feel very comfortable with us and they know that Greg is a perfectionist you know he won’t sell anything that’s not supposed to be sold?
TCP: How much do you sell your kale for?
Hanes: $1.50 for one bunch. We have customers that don’t have something and they bought 2 bunches, but for 2 bunches, it does not take too much time for two bunches, so we were wasting our time to complete a couple of vendors. So we now sell a bunch for $2.50.
Joyce also shared that most farmers won’t talk because they like to keep to themselves and she also thanked us for coming out and talking to her and her husband, saying “it’s nice that people are trying to shop more locally in these hard times.” They had no kale at the moment but they did say if you call ahead of time to pick vegetables up they can arrange something.
When we choose to be shopping at farmers markets instead of at bigger supermarkets it is a way to lend a helping hand to our neighbors in these desperate times. Giving what we can give to someone who may be struggling just as much as us is helping them. Shopping at big industries we are not.