The past couple of months have been challenging for all of us. As Covid-19 precautions have been implemented, SLO Veg has been proud to be able to step up for our community in this time of need. Not only have we provided the freshest, best quality local produce to keep your bodies healthy during the crisis, but we have also delivered your box and marketplace items directly to your doorstep, aiding in your shelter-in-place safety measures. It has been our honor to serve you, and we look forward to continuing to supply amazing produce as our community eases the shelter-in-place restrictions. This, of course, wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing partnerships we have with the best farmers the Central Coast has to offer. Together through uncertain times, long hours, and readjusting to meet the community’s fresh produce demands, we have taken a great deal of pride fulfilling your orders. Below are examples of what our farmers have faced to bring bountiful, delicious food to your home week after week during these times.

Alvin from Gracious Green Microgreens said it well, “It’s been overall bizarre.” Before the pandemic, Alvin mainly catered to restaurants, SLO Veg, and local farmers market customers. Despite the fallout of restaurant orders, the influx of orders from SLO Veg has picked up the slack to keep his business steady. He even put together a custom mix for SLO Veg of what would have gone into chef creations called, “Everything But The Kitchen Sink.” It was a hit. He is now sewing 94 trays of microgreens weekly for SLO Veg, and anticipates continued growth as restaurants reopen and SLO Veg orders continue to surge! Micros are more crucial than ever with their dense, immune-boosting source of nutrients to keep our community healthy.

Frank from MG Farms wasn’t prepared for what would occur during the unforeseen Covid-19 outbreak. Luckily he had enough produce planted to meet the needs of SLO Veg customers! One of the most difficult challenges his farm went through was rearranging schedules to meet time-sensitive demands. He had an overall decrease in planting demand as a result of the pandemic, but SLO Veg orders have tripled, helping his business stay afloat. Frank recently thanked SLO Veg for the continued teamwork in nourishing the community with the best quality vegetables. Together we will make it through this!

Jason from Bautista Farms says their mission of getting great local produce to the community has fortunately not been negatively affected overall by the pandemic.  Since the Central Coast is relatively self-contained, people have maintained the local veggie demand. When buying locally, you know where your food is from and have fewer chances of spreading the virus, unlike when shipping from other parts of California and beyond with more points of possible contamination. Bautista Farms has increased planting while being careful to eliminate any possible waste. SLO Veg now accounts for about 35 percent of their sales, up from 15 percent before the pandemic. Despite the virus, Jason has a positive outlook on the current situation with SLO Veg compensating for lost restaurant sales. This is a symbiotic relationship, but without the community buying local produce, there would be no demand for supplying produce locally. He is optimistic about future growth and being able to stay true to distributing local vegetables throughout the community.

SLO Veg would like to thank all of our farmers for all of their hard work and support through the ongoing battle against Covid-19. This has been no small feat for anyone, but we are grateful to be able to continually meet the needs of our valued customers and community in partnership with our local farmers. Together we have the ability to deliver these necessary services to you. The threats brought about by the pandemic are not a thing of the past yet, but, as always, there is no better way to stay healthy than eating lots of local fresh fruits and veggies!

Author: Charley Bottino