When all this craziness started my first thought was “Oh no, they’re going to close down the market.” We sell at the OKC Farmers Public Market every Saturday and a huge chunk of our income comes from there. At first, I didn’t think too much into anything else. I didn’t truly understand what was coming. A week or two later and I began to realize this was serious. People were dying. Stores were out of everything. And people were stocking up on our chicken and beef products like crazy. We have not only been receiving orders on our online farm store, but through text, Facebook, & phone calls. We were overwhelmed by all of the support for our little local farm. But at the same time, we were running out of inventory. We only have 2 chicken houses, which can hold around 350 chickens each. We schedule our processing dates months in advance and only have the capacity to take chicken to the butcher about every 5 weeks. We were trying to figure how to to raise more chickens…which is still in the discussion phase. We also ran out of beef. We only started raising beef (for resale) a couple years ago and are still in the early stages of growing that side of our business. We didn’t plan on taking any to the processor until late summer, but we have one that will be going this week to help with inventory. It’s exciting and a little overwhelming too. We love that people are starting to realize local farmers are more reliable and that they are getting the community’s support right now.
In the past couple weeks farmers market has leveled off a bit and has been up and down some. I think people are more afraid to get out. The market is doing a great job at enforcing both vendors and customers to comply with cdc guidelines. We wear gloves and curbside pickup has been encouraged. Most customers are wearing masks. They are not allowed to touch anything on our tables, and only we can bag their items.
Unfortunately, our restaurant sales have completely stopped and one of our regulars in OKC had to shut down for the time being. I’m concerned that this will negatively affect our vegetable sales since we sell a lot of produce to restaurants. Hopefully our local deliveries and farmers market will be an outlet for them, as long as market continues to stay open, which is a concern of mine. My heart hurts for the local restaurants in our community. We know a lot of the owners and chefs personally and this has been so hard for them.
But we are still farming hard. We spent the entire day yesterday planting and making more beds for more veggies to go in. We want nothing more than to be able to offer local and nourishing food to the people of Oklahoma during this time of crisis. We’re not going anywhere! We’re making adjustments and changes as needed and I think we are all in new territory…but at least we’re in it together.
When this first began I was just thankful that we live so far away from everything. We are already very isolated living 30 minutes away from the closest town. We raise our own food and we are mostly self-sustainable. We already homeschool our daughter so we’re good to go in that regard. But as this has continued it’s getting harder. Eden and I go to story time at our local library every Thursday and that’s canceled. Dance class is cancelled and I had to tell Eden her recital will not be happening next month. When we do have to go to the grocery store, I go in and leave Eden and Chad in the car. Eden throws a tantrum every time because she loves to go into the stores. She’s been staying at her Nana & Papa’s on the weekends because we don’t think she should be going to market right now. Every time we tell Eden she can’t do something she asks if it’s because of “the sickness.” It’s funny, but not funny. Her little 4 year old mind just can’t comprehend the situation. We’re trying to add in some extra fun things, including a hike and camping trip on the property later this week!
I’m trying to not let fear have a hold of me. I’ve stopped watching the news so much. It’s scary to think that a loved one could get this virus and die. It’s overwhelming to think of all the elderly people across our nation locked in their homes so lonely. And the medical staff working so hard. All of this is unreal.
But this small local farm is still here, planting and feeding animals daily, and our family is doing the best we can with our current situation to keep on keeping on.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. ~ John 14:27