Pandemic explodes direct-to-consumer business


Pandemic explodes direct-to-consumer business

Farm-to-table producers have seen record demand as consumers have faced grocery shortages and turned to more local food choices.

“In twelve hours, we did more than in the whole first year.”

Trevor Hoff co-owns an on-farm market in Maryland which sells everything from hanging baskets to local meats and produce.  He says while the coronavirus has been an awful situation, its created a better relationship between consumers and food producers.

“I think the small, local farms were the ones feeding America and maybe they weren’t getting it from the grocery stores as much.”

Alex Bell operates Old City Acres about an hour south of Detroit, which he created as a freshman in college.  Prior to COVID-19, Bell says he sold vegetables year-round to restaurants, farmers markets and through a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture.  He says when restaurants closed in the spring, thankfully demand from consumers did not.

“The CSA blew up.  In two or three weeks, our CSA quadrupled.”

He since invested in farm stand, using an old shipping container to sell produce where demand has continued exceeded supply.

Both were featured during Wednesday’s “From the Farm Gate” panel discussion hosted by Farm Credit. 

As entrepreneurs, they stressed the need to have quick access to funding and internet connectivity to stay relevant in the current environment.