All of us are aware of the changes and adjustments to life made as a result of COVID-19. We are seeing some of the “new normal” both in our lives and around us. One change I noted early on was an increase in the desire for fresh, healthy food. In talking with our customers, and in talking with other local farmers, there was a notable uptick in people looking for fresh, locally grown vegetables.
Another change that I am seeing as I begin the process of planning, and getting ready for a new growing season is what many are calling a “seed shortage”. Seed suppliers are seeing an increased demand for the seeds they sell. Many of the suppliers are struggling with the need to modify their day to day operations, and still meet the demand for their products (seeds). For example, I usually use 2 main suppliers for my seeds. Both of them have had to meet the increased demand for their seeds, as well as issues of getting the product they sell from their suppliers.
One of my two suppliers, Johnny’s Seeds, has dealt with this by selling only to commercial farmers. My operation does not meet the size requirements, so I cannot use them. The other supplier, Fedco Seeds, has limited the times they accept orders. They have determined how many orders they can get out, and open ordering at noon daily until that is filled for the day. All orders are placed online, and orders are shut off once the limit is reached. Thankfully I had been forewarned that it would be difficult to get an order in. Preparing accordingly, I had my order all entered and ready to go well before noon. As soon as ordering opened, I filled out the shipping and payment fields, and clicked “submit order”.
Yay! It was accepted and all in. Later I found out that their order limit was reached in 1 minute and 11 seconds. I had just made it. And even with these limits on orders, to get my order in 2 to 4 weeks, I will have to drive to Maine and pick it up. If I have them ship it, I won’t get it for 4 to 6 weeks.
Just like all the other changes we all are going through, we can see them as a problem to be overcome (or not) or we can look at the same changes as opportunities for us. For me, I was able to get the majority of my seed order in earlier than I have in the past. I found other suppliers to get the leftover things from. And in thinking about the future, I realized that I will have to begin growing more heirloom products so I can save the seeds for myself, and to sell to those who will be growing for themselves. This is another opportunity to further our vision to build a community around Our Farm. We thrive on sharing what we learn and passing it on to others.