We are into April, and during a typical year this is about the time I start getting the pre-season jitters. The greenhouses are in full swing planting seeds to be transplanted at a later date. At the farm we are laying irrigation, ordering supplies, planting crops, and examining our perennials (such as strawberries, blackberries, & raspberries.) We are also getting our post harvest packing house ready for the season. Servicing refrigeration, sanitizing prep areas, organizing work spaces and making sure trucks and equipment are ready to rock and roll. Then there are permits and licenses, hiring needs, and reconnecting with employees, farmers and landlords.
That is all during a typical year. But this one is anything but typical. In addition to everything else we are flipping our usual self service business model on its head to concoct a full service style CSA & market while following Covid-19 safety recommendations and guidelines. We are designing systems for packing orders for curbside pickup, hunting for hand sanitizer, ordering masks and gloves and lots of disinfectant. We will need to retrain ourselves and then our staff and then our customers. Honestly it’s a bit overwhelming thinking about how this season is going to play out, but we are going to rise to the occasion and make it through. These are crazy times and we all have a role to play and a responsibility to do it best we can. My respect and gratitude goes out to all those that are on the front lines in the healthcare profession and my heart goes out to those whose source of income has all but evaporated and now trying to figure out how to make ends meet. I find myself empathizing with grocery clerks and food vendors the most, getting ideas from their new modifications, realizing that will be me in just a few weeks. Hang in there everyone, we’re all in it together and fresh produce is on the way!
In general I wanted to pass along important information from the CDC regarding Food Safety and Covid-19, and stress that “Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.” I also wanted to share some key points of our Safety Plan which will be stressed at the farm, during post-harvest, and on site at our CSA Distributions and Stands:
- Wash your hands frequently Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub to kill viruses that may be on your hands. It is important to pay close attention to thoroughly cleaning the entire surface of your hands and paying attention to areas between the fingers, knuckles and the back of your hands.
- Disinfect all hard surfaces on a regular basis Hard surfaces should be disinfected regularly to prevent contamination and spread of the disease.
- Maintain social distancing Maintain at least 6 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Remember, that the virus must enter your body through some mechanism for you to become contaminated – that includes being near someone else who is sick or touching your face with contaminated hands.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
- Practice respiratory hygiene Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Thank you for your patience and understanding (in advance). The good news is that so far it looks like we are in for a great growing season and many of you are cooking a lot more and will appreciate some fresh local ingredients. Looking forward to seeing everyone soon.