Our pallets of product from the regional food bank have been transferred to another freezer warehouse. We expect we'll be able to restock our on-farm freezer with poultry on on April 1st.
We are extremely fortunate, in that the response to coronavirus has not hurt our business so far. In fact, we have seen a significant increase in demand as people stock up.
But this also presents challenges:
-We had previously been growing at a healthy and manageable rate, and we had organized our inventory to account for this. We plan our growth months and even years in advance, since producing livestock takes time - it's impossible to make a cow grow faster than it wants to.
-We rent freezer storage space at a local food bank, as does our partner farm, Wrong Direction. We were informed yesterday that we are completely prohibited from getting anything out, at least for the time being. We do not know how long this will continue.
-The spike in demand has also required us to spend a bunch of money on storage and packing materials months earlier than we had expected. We have raised our free shipping threshold to help account for this.
-Last week we got close to the physical limit for the number of orders we can fill. We only have so much space in the freezer!
This is what we are doing about it:
-We are being fastidious about our own health. One benefit of being so small is that we can isolate ourselves on the farm. We do not have employees whose health we need to worry about, so as long as we are careful ourselves, we can continue to operate without interruption.
-We are doing our best to keep our store up to date, but this is proving to be a bit of a challenge. If we are out of something, please check back later. This is most immediately true of poultry. Unless we can sort out the situation with the food bank quickly, we are likely to have a temporary shortage of chicken.
-We are talking to other farms. There are other farms with different distribution models who have been hurt by this, and we may use them to fill in our inventory if we begin to run out of certain things. We will only ever work with farms that completely share our values and practices. If we do so you might get some packages with different labels on them. This is hypothetical at this point, but it may prove necessary.
-We will continue shipping for Wednesday delivery as well as for Saturday.
-We may cap orders for a particular delivery date to make sure we can get them all packed. If we have to do this, the next delivery date will open up. So you'll still be able to order, it just might take a couple extra days to arrive.
-We are planning on expanding our order packing area as soon as we have any time.
-We are eating good food and staying positive.
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.