Lonely Mountain Farm in Watsonville is a family farm in production year 'round. The Baker family has cultivated the 12 acres for 11 years. Twice a week, they sell their harvest at the Ferry Building Farmers Market.
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"We all know farming is not an easy job, but that's the hardest part is when you got the food, and you've put in all this labor, and then you can't find a place for it to make some return on," Kenny Baker said, standing in his fields.
Over the past year, foot traffic at the popular market was impacted by the pandemic as remote work emptied nearby offices and restaurants closed that sourced their supplies here.
The nonprofit group CUESA (the Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture) that operates the market, developed market boxes for curbside pickup to help the farmers. Now comes a new strategy as the market sees how consumers have become accustomed to home delivery. Next week, Ferry Building Farmers Market Delivered will launch.
"If you cannot come to the Farmers Market on a particular Saturday, that's OK," said Christine Farren, CUESA Executive Director. "You can still order online from your favorite farmer and have it delivered to your house and then, you know, come back to the market the following week or the week after."
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A dozen growers will participate to start with more added in the months ahead. Delivery will be handled by The Fruit Guys, another family run business, with service to all nine Bay Area counties for a $10 delivery fee. There's no minimum order.
Kenny Baker say this will help expand sales but won't replace the education and personal contact he enjoys with shoppers at the market.
"We share stories, and I tell them what's going on in the farm," he said. "It seems really good for both of us to be in touch with the city and for them to be in touch with the farm."
Online orders will be taken Monday through Thursday night for Saturday delivery. In time, it plans to expand to 24/7 ordering and more frequent deliveries. Here is a link to its website.