Cheddar on and off the Farm
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the critical need for access to healthy, trusted foods. Our cheddar and Farm products are a small part of that equation. With heightened safety protocols, including masks, distancing, and an already rigorous hygiene regimen, our cheesemakers continue to make cheddar daily. Here’s how that cheddar is making it through our local food system (and beyond) to you and others.
Since the start of this crisis, our local community has been able to place orders for our cheddar and other local Farm products. Dave and Sara carefully place ready packages outside the Welcome Center & Farm Store on a same-day basis for a safe, contact-free pick up. Soon we’ll be adding prepared foods to the list of items. Keep an eye out for that and we’ll keep you posted.
Our mail order lines have been busy. As people send care packages to isolated loved ones, or seek out healthy, trusted food themselves, we’ve been sending out our farm products in greater quantities than ever. Recently, we put together a special “Mother’s Day Brunch” package to enjoy at home or send to the mom in your life. As WPTZ-TV recently highlighted in this story, mail order at the Farm and elsewhere has been a bright spot among many challenging trends in the state.
While our cheese sales are staying strong, many of Vermont’s small cheese producers have seen sales plummet by 50% or more, and many don’t have online sales systems. If there’s one lesson from these trying days, it’s that we are all in this together. You can support Vermont cheesemakers and farmers by finding them in the Council’s Online Sales Directory and having products shipped directly to your home.
In the past month, Shelburne Farms has been supplying cheddar to the Intervale Food Hub at more than double the rate in 2019, as the Food Hub boosts its community distribution of produce. Members of Shelburne Farms’ staff are also pitching in on the Food Hub’s frontline programs: two staff members are helping to organize and pack food orders for delivery and pickup, and on Wednesdays, our cheesemaker/driver Natalee hops into our trusty cheese truck, “Shelby,” to make Food Hub deliveries. NOTE: The Food Hub is accepting pre-registrations for Summer 2020 season (June - October).
Food shelves are struggling to fill an ever-increasing demand for their services right now. Shelburne Farms has been supplying the Shelburne Food Shelf with cheese for years, and it works out well for both organizations. Oftentimes, the best way to support a food shelf is with cash donations. Contact your local food shelf to find out what their needs are.
The COVID-19 crisis has been a time of uncoverings, revealing the strengths and weaknesses of our food systems, economic systems, healthcare systems, infrastructure, personal relationships, and so much more. It is presenting us with unprecedented challenges – and opportunities – to envision and build better systems on the flip side of this crisis. We will be there one day.
We thank all of you who continue to support the Farm and our community of farmers in Vermont. You are helping to build resilient food systems for that day.