Flourishing farm to table

When coronavirus first hit and we were all told to keep our distance, local farm stands responded. They question was not “Can we do this?”, but rather “How do we do this?”

The earliest part of Spring is typically slow for farm stands, but this year things changed.

Kelli Johnson Campbell co-owns her family’s produce stand in Hendersonville, North Carolina. She states, “In April, we consider it the loser month... It’s very hard to just keep above your profit margin...” Kelli goes on to say that she and her family actually able to pull a paycheck the first week they were open, and their business tripled.

Trevor Hoff is the owner of Local Homestead Products in Maryland; he says that he had customers lining up two hours before they opened. “There were days where we were 1200 percent up from last year...,” he states. “We’ve been open 10 years, but we had one Saturday, we did more than we did the whole first year we were open.”

The extra business has led to capital investment. Hoff says that they ended up buying three trailers. Investment for Campbell meant opening an online store.

“We went from 2-15 orders a day, to 70-80 a day,” Campbell adds. “So, we had to hire a whole line of staff to make sure we got these order packed and did it right.”

She says that eventually a van was added to accommodate the extra produce. However, the capital money depletes savings to get through the winter, and congressional help did not cover a quickly scaling business.

Campbell says that they will maintain the online store, and continue operating through the winter instead of closing up shop for the season.