Adirondack farms adapt to restock locals’ pantries

Farms are organizing on-farm and curbside pickup for customers who are avoiding crowds during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo courtesy of Fledging Crow Vegetables

By Melissa Hart

Even though we’re only a few months into 2020, “panic buying” ranks high for one of the memorable phrases of the year, up there with “social distance.” In the recent rush to stock up on pantry staples like rice, beans and canned goods (not to mention toilet paper!), perishables tend to be pushed aside.

But as time spent avoiding coronavirus drags on, eating something fresh becomes more of a priority for some people. From the perspective of a small, organic vegetable farm like Fledging Crow in Keeseville, now’s a great time to think local about your food.

“We were thinking about what we could do,” said Jessica Wimett, who helps her husband, Ian Ater, run the farm. They saw the bare supermarket shelves across the region as an opportunity to step up and help boost access to locally grown produce.

To offer a homegrown solution, Fledging Crow has teamed up with fellow veggie growers Juniper Hill Farm in Wadhams and North Country Creamery in Keeseville to offer produce (such as greens and storage crops like root veggies) and dairy products, at a wholesale price, to people throughout the region.

They floated the idea in their networks and were flooded with support, encouraging them to move forward, Wimett said.

Here’s how the ordering will work:

  • Available items and prices will be uploaded into an online ordering system.
  • People can place their order and select a pickup location.
  • On a designated delivery date (TBD), farm partners will pick, process and bag up the products and Fledging Crow will deliver to designated pick up spots in Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Keene Valley. Those local to Keeseville can opt to pick up at Fledging Crow.
  • Minimum purchase at each location is $30/customer.

The “curbside” pickups will take place in parking lots (such as empty school lots), meaning the buyers don’t have to get out of their vehicles and the food will be pre-sorted for easy delivery, with limited interaction.

“Once we wash and harvest everything, it will be as fresh as possible,” Wimett said.

Working quickly to get this off the ground, the farms are busy taking stock of inventory, with an aim to launch by next Friday, March 27. For now, interested people can email: fledgingcrow@gmail.com. Fledging Crow also still has openings for CSA memberships. Information on that can be found at www.fledgingcrow.com.

This effort joins a handful of other initiatives around the region designed to make local buying as easy as possible in the midst of coronavirus limits on gathering sizes. This Saturday (March 21), the Saranac Lake Farmers Market is running a “Farmers Park It” event, with online ordering here. Pick up will be at the Hotel Saranac. And the Farmacy in Keeseville is also offering curbside pick up and delivery. Call 518-834-6090 for information and to place orders.

While there are so many unknowns about the virus and how long this outbreak will last, one thing is certain for Wimett: “This experience has been very powerful to see community organizing in action.”

About Melissa Hart

Melissa is a journalist with experience as a reporter and editor , combined with work for nonprofits. As the Explorer's digital editor, she serves as editor of Adirondack Almanack.(com) and helps manage the Explorer's website. When not online, she enjoys hiking, camping and other outdoors activities, and spending time with her husband, their twin daughters, and rescue animals -- two dogs and two cats.

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