July 21, 2020 – by Laura Phoenix, Farm Table’s Executive Director

Dear friends,

I want to express my deep gratitude to you for supporting us through the recent months. We’ve learned that we are all in this together; for that we couldn’t be more thankful. 

We’ve all gotten closer to our food system during this time. We’ve witnessed, first-hand, how local food systems are resilient, supply nutrient-dense food, and regenerate the soil and ecosystems on which we depend. Hopefully, we have seen how local food systems can step in and provide food when the vulnerability of international supply chains is exposed. And hopefully we have learned that local food systems and local farms require our support and engagement in order to thrive.

We’ve also all gotten closer to one another during this time, in spite of our social distancing. We’ve witnessed a popular uprising against systems which endanger BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) communities. The pandemic has revealed even more clearly the inequities in our society as BIPOC communities are hit harder by the virus. And perhaps the pandemic prepared us to rise up and protest because we have been practicing sacrificing—staying home, limiting our activities—for the common good, so that all of us have a better chance of staying well. Perhaps flexing the muscle of working for the common good helped our society see even more clearly how racism is antithetical to that good. In response, Farm Table is seeking opportunities to engage our staff, board, and community in understanding the systems that oppress BIPOC communities. This newsletter includes two articles that reveal just a bit more about those systems.

When shelter-in-place was enacted, our restaurant team rose to the occasion by pivoting operations to focus on selling provisions, especially items that were difficult to find at many grocery stores like yeast and flour. I am so proud that our staff embraced the uncertainty and creatively continued to serve the community by offering take-out food, take-and-bake items, and provisions via curbside pick-up and delivery. Having driven several deliveries, I can appreciate the special skill set that it requires! Having appreciative customers on the receiving end was affirming and fulfilling.

We’ve cautiously and gradually reopened the restaurant, starting first with counter service and a few tables on the patio. We added a few indoor tables and expanded to limited table service. In our current phase of reopening we offer coffee and pastries Thursday to Sunday mornings, opening at 9 AM. Our tables are a generous six feet apart. Our staff are required to wear masks and don gloves when appropriate. We’ve scheduled frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces. Our staff team remains healthy. 

Preservation is in full swing as produce pours in! You’ll find our signature balsamic onion jam available by the pint in our retail area. Other varieties of preserves and canned goods will be available soon. 

Our program team canceled only a few classes before moving events online. By coincidence or serendipity, the classes we had already scheduled for this spring were topics that our community was clamoring for in the COIVD-19 age: sourdough baking, backyard poultry, and weekly Victory Garden tutorials. Our programming has reached over 1,500 people in the last three months, across time zones and international borders. 

In closing, I want to thank you again for your support. You contributed by:

  • Purchasing 148 pot pies and 179 pizzas since the beginning of April;
  • Tending one of 175 Victory Gardens;
  • Joining one of our 23 online classes (and trusting that we could deliver delightful and educational content in that format);
  • Being one of our 1,500 views on our newly launched Farm Table Foundation YouTube channel;
  • Being flexible as we explored and tweaked restaurant days, hours, and operations;
  • Volunteering to serve samples at the Food Co-op in Luck (and purchasing our deli salads, breads, and soups there);
  • Feeding our community by donating $742 through the restaurant; and
  • Trying one of our many new offerings like ice cream cookie sandwiches, local bulk spinach, and Chicken Wild Rice Soup!

As July fields turn out the first tomatoes (my favorite farm vegetable), we look forward to the bounty of area farmers, the creativity of our kitchen, and the continued and valuable support of our community. Please be assured that we will continue to serve you in the most mission-focused and safest of ways. 

Be well,

Laura Phoenix