▶️ Farm-to-table businesses see bump in sales during COVID as more people eat in

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The pandemic has positively affected at least one industry: local farms and farm-to-table businesses.

Farm to Friends in Redmond is one of those businesses. They deliver fresh fruits, vegetables and other items from west-coast farms straight to customers’ homes.

“It’s really nice to know that the produce comes to the field to our distributor or who we buy it from, straight to us and then to the door,” Brinda True, owner of Farm to Friends, said. “There’s no handling. It’s handled very little and it’s fresh.”

While restaurants have suffered through the pandemic, Farm to Friends has seen a major bump in customer growth. They’ve gone from delivering around 150 boxes a week to around 300 in the past year.

“People got used to eating at home,” True said. “Before the pandemic, we were all really busy, we were eating lunch out, we were doing all this stuff. Now we’re all eating at home.”

Many sellers at the Bend Farmers Market, which opened last Wednesday, agree that business is good for those who work in selling locally-grown produce.

Kristi Keller, manager of Brandywine Fisheries out of Springfield, says she’s seen a bump in business similar to Farm to Friends.

“Most people who are homebound don’t want to go to grocery stores, that sort of thing,” Keller said. “Especially with supermarket ocean products. They find us to be refreshingly new and much better for them.”

The owner of Rainshadow Organics, operated north of Sisters, agrees that local produce is doing well.

“Business has been good in COVID,” SarahLee Lawrence, owner of Rainshadow Organics, said. “I would say people have been interested in their food system and getting more local food.”

If you want to get your own fresh produce or look for other local items, Bend Farmers Market is open from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. every Wednesday.

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