BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Local farms and restaurants are struggling to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We’ve had a pretty good business the last couple of years and last week hit and it went from everything to nothing," Matt Latham, owner and operate, Vertical Fresh Farms said.
"Almost most of our restaurant sales have been suspended," Robbie Gianadda, Owner Flat #12 Mushrooms adds. "We lost about 95 percent of our restaurant sales, which was almost 100 percent of our business."
So over the last few weeks, local farmers and restaurants have been forced to reinvent their revenue models and Produce Peddlers, a business originally designed to connect farmers to restaurants, schools, and other institutions are stepping in to help.
"When the schools shut down and the restaurants started operating at less capacity, our farms were getting backed up on products," co founder and owner of produce peddlers Gina Wieczorek said. "We didn’t wanna see that go to waste. Our whole business model is based on trying to reduce food waste. So we needed to come up with a creative way to continue to move their product and create something that would provide value to the community."
So Produce Peddlers is teaming up with local farms to create what their calling, Buffalove Community Supported Agriculture boxes. In each box, customers will get 12 eggs, 2 lettuce heads, 1-2 pounds of potatoes, 5-6 apples, red onions, broccoli, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, 1 pound of mushrooms and micro greens. They also offer a vegan box that comes with black beans. Each box cost $30 and 5 percent of the proceeds go to the Family Relief Hospitality Trust Fund.
To get a box is simple. Go on the Produce Peddlers website, click on a CSA box and check out. Customers within a 15 mile radius of downtown Buffalo can get the box delivered straight to their door. The business is also offering a pick up option at Flat #12 Mushrooms in Buffalo and Dailys Catering in East Aurora.
“It feels really good to be useful right now when so many people are kind of stuck in their houses and not able to go into work," Wieczorek said.
So far, the group has sold more than 300 boxes and they will continue to sell them throughout this pandemic.