For Immediate Release: March 26, 2020
Pennsylvania Farms React to Changing Business Reality
Pennsylvania farmers that directly retail their products are quickly reacting to changing business realities in the wake of significant social disruption due to COVID-19. Some farms are seeing an uptick in demand for local products as consumers are seeing the value in purchasing food directly from the source that grew it and produced it, along with the desire to support small businesses in their community. At the same time, businesses that sold their products to schools, colleges and restaurants are quickly shifting their business model to deal with market disruptions.
For instance, Vale Wood Farms in Cambria County was facing a dilemma after schools announced they were closing due to safety concerns over COVID-19. The farm, which ships milk to several local schools, put out a call to customers on its Facebook page to see if anyone was interest in purchasing pints of milk that otherwise would have gone to those schools. The demand is overwhelming, and Vale Wood Farms is now seeing an uptick in sales—including requests for home delivery. Vale Wood is one of a handful of dairies that still has a home delivery option.
On the other side of the state, Ben Davies, who runs a produce farm in eastern Berks County that also raises pasture swine, has noticed an uptick in traffic at several local farmer’s markets. Customers are seeing the benefit of being able to buy directly from the farmer who raised their produce or protein, especially in these times of uncertainty.
Some farmers that rely on institutional sales—such as selling fresh products destined for college cafeterias or restaurants—are working to adapt to that disruption in business caused by numerous closing.
What has not changed is that Pennsylvania farmers are considered life-sustaining businesses and are working tirelessly to produce healthy food for their local communities. Even in this era of social distancing, farmers are still finding ways to get their products to local stores and into the hands of consumers.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau encourages you to reach out to the local farmers in your area that have retail locations and ask how they are responding to this significant change in business.
Some potential ways to find farmers with retail facilities in your coverage area are:
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization,
representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.