Radicle Roots Farm changes with the COVID Times
Radicle Roots farmer James Berntson weathers all kinds of storms for his seasonal harvests. Mother Nature. Big Ag. Food injustice. The beat goes on. #COVID19's forced him & other small, sustainable farmers in #Snohomish to pivot in a hurry, so they can continue delivering the same, quality of healthy, natural food to the community.
“It is uplifting to see all the creativity to adapt to this new landscape.”
James Berntson is more than a small, humble Snohomish farmer. He’s a steward of the land at Radicle Roots Farm, spread out from his backyard at just under an acre — a stone’s throw from downtown Snohomish, the Pilchuck River, and the Centennial Trail. After toiling, tilling, and paper-potting all fall through winter, plus that new greenhouse he promised!, Berntson and his very small team of diligent farm-to-table stewards are seeing the bountiful fruits of their labor, just in time for spring/summer farmers markets. Even with COVID-19 putting everything on hold, Radicle Roots Farm remains open for essential business, albeit operating a little differently for everyone’s safety. After weathering every kind of storm imaginable (inherent in the life of a sustainable, seasonal farmer), Berntson faces the newest challenge head-on, with the same dogged determination and resourcefulness that’s served him well the past four, productive years.
How has COVID-19 changed the way you do business and business in general? We are seeing a significant drop in restaurant sales, and predicting the farmers market won’t be as profitable this year, but still planning on attending. We’ve moved the location to Stocker Farms to allow for more space. I’ll just be wearing gloves and a mask and sanitizing like crazy. To make up for lost sales, we’ve launched an online store [that goes live as of May 1, 5 p.m.] to allow customers to pick up pre-orders at the farm on Tuesdays and also pre-order veggies for the Thursday Snohomish Market.
Besides all the uncertainty and stress though, there seems to be a huge increase in demand for local veggies. And my sales to other produce box programs like Pacific Coast Harvest are really strong, so I don’t think we’ll have trouble selling our product this year. It just has added a lot of complexity and changing our business model a bit.
Will you offer eGift cards? You can buy gift cards by selecting the credits button on the top right [of our online store]. You can buy credits for yourself or for another person.
Are you doing anything special for Earth Day 2020? Yes, we’re going to be supplying lots of greens for Della Terra’s “Earth Day” special. The theme for Earth Day (50th anniversary!) is climate action and I hope that really gets priority after we come out from this pandemic.
What’s your take on the positive, proactive response from small business creatives? It is uplifting to see all the creativity to adapt to this new landscape.