It seems that our world is changing very rapidly, and we are all working to adapt and keep up. Here at the farm, we've been busy both with the start of our season and with following the course of the Coronavirus pandemic. There are a lot of changes in the works for how we do business - as everyone, small and large, works on keeping our communities safe, vital services running, and local economies thriving. We hope that you will agree with us that supporting local businesses is important now more than ever. If we can keep money circulating in our communities, we can support each other to get through this time.
We also understand that it is not possible to continue to shop at local stores in the same way. I had a peaceful moment on the weekend, waiting in the warm sun at my car in the parking lot of our local butcher's shop while staff took orders by phone and email and delivered them curbside. I sat on the hood of the car hoping and believing that others will also be willing to cultivate patience and wait in lines for us to serve customers individually when we return to market next month. There are so many examples of people being kind and patient with each other during this difficult time, and it definitely inspires a lot of hope for what the future will bring.
We are practicing "social distancing" (which we would like to call "physical distancing" as we are trying to remain socially connected to our friends and family) - limiting trips to stores as much as possible and taking all precautions when we do have to go out.
We are so grateful that we have the freedom to work from home and the outdoor space to keep ourselves happy and healthy. We know that many people do not have either of these options - those who do not have the ability/option to work from home or take time off, and those who don't have easy access to outdoor spaces. We know there are people whose concerns about getting sick are much more frightening and real than our own. We can only hope that everyone can work together to protect the most vulnerable and the frontline workers.
But take a walk outside if you can! Social distancing and responsible behaviour do not preclude you from enjoying the sun, breathing fresh air and moving your body. Give others space when you meet them, but give your body some vitamin d and exercise.
Right now, people all over the world are realizing what things are most important in their lives. I hope we in "first world" countries are also learning about the privileges that we have, and remembering that although the changes we are experiencing right now might be the most difficult time that many have lived through, there are millions (or billions) of people who have survived and thrived through much worse. These people are all around you, all over the world, and throughout history. We are human, and that means adaptability and resilience. I hear and read this from so many people right now, and that gives me a lot of hope.
We also have to accept that we cannot control the course of this or the outcomes. The only thing that we can do is manage the small part of the world that we are responsible for. In our lives, this means getting ready go grow food and take care of the land, taking care of our own and our children's mental health, and doing our part in the effort to slow the spread of this virus so that our medical system and all the frontline workers who keep our society going do not get overwhelmed. Again, this is human business.
So, back to work! The greenhouse is filling up with trays of sprouting seedlings. We can't wait to get these plants to you, our customers, and into the ground. Full-on Spring feels so close we can almost touch it. We potted up our first tomato seedlings on the weekend - these little guys will be planted in the ground in the greenhouse for early cherry tomato production. (We'll also be planting cucumbers in the greenhouse.) Meanwhile, Adam is seeding our field and sale tomatoes as I write, having started peppers, eggplant and other long-season crops over the weekend.
Our walk-in cooler is almost complete (hopefully finishing that this week) and we have sinks and tables for our wash station. A few more trips to our Agricultural supply store and local hardware store will be necessary, but we hope to place orders online for pickup to minimize our interactions.
In financial news, we are getting some help from Farm Credit Canada, our farm lender, to take the pressure off while we finish setting up all of our infrastructure before our markets start. They are working hard to keep farmers thriving, for which we are grateful. We also appreciate all of our new CSA member signups. If you are considering signing up and are unable to cover 50% of the cost at the moment, please remember that you can choose to pay week-by-week during the season (we still ask for you to commit to the full 20 week season). We know that money is tight for so many people at the moment, and we never want financial concerns to get in the way of accessing fresh local produce.
Currently, we are still planning to return to the Ottawa Street Farmers Market on April 18th, and we will keep everyone updated on new procedures at the market to keep everyone safe. We have had limited communication with market management, but will do everything in our power to ensure that this market is a safe and bountiful place to get your seedlings and food.
We are also hoping to return to Market in the Creek in Stoney Creek (Thursdays from June-October). They are currently monitoring the situation and making plans for how to make this a safe market in light of coronavirus spread.
And don't forget about seedlings! Pre-orders are welcome, payment due when delivery/pickup is arranged in late April/early May. The full list is on the site here under Our Products / Seedlings and Perennial Plants.
All the best, Nica