COVID-19 Update

Hello to our dear farm members and friends,

We are working in every way we can to find ways to offer fresh food safely as everything changes. Our goal is to get you produce as directly as possible, with the fewest people and handling steps in the chain from field to you.

My family and farm crew thank you so very much for the Summer, Spring and Deep Winter CSA sign ups, the pre-orders and market attendance we’ve seen in the last few weeks. Making the connections with you now, in the creative ways we can, is the way we can keep farming. Please stay tuned for how to get our food, and if you’d like to follow our farm news, sign up here.

Farmer Sarah in the greenhouse with the plants. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram, and visit the tag #RedFireFarmSchool for some fun close-ups on crops and things happening around the farm.

Agriculture has been designated as an essential service and we are moving forward. Spring is always risky on a farm, like a trust fall, but we are going forward like we have for the last 20 years, adjusting plans a little, planting for a summer of delicious food for you, our community. Our greenhouse is already full of beautiful plants and we have begun planting in the field! Strawberries will be ripening so soon!

Food Safety:
At the farm, we follow food safety protocols all the time to keep your produce safe, and we maintain GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) food safety certification, with regular farm inspections by state officials. We also have extra steps in place right now to help keep things clean and keep our employees healthy.

Some details about our COVID-19 policy on the farm. as of 3/28/20:

  • Regularly sharing resources and staff training on COVID-19 symptoms and to stay home if you are sick or if a person in your household is sick, or if you know you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, and review of our paid sick time resources.
  • Social distancing during work of 6 feet, and remote work options for our office staff.
  • Continuing to require proper hand-washing
  • Increased sanitization of frequently touched surfaces
  • Limiting on-farm access to essential services only, and reducing staff access to our packing department.
  • Delivery, CSA, and market protocols for sanitizing surfaces and reduced contact.
  • Frequent review and communication of updates from the CDC and state.

We will keep updating our policy as developments happen!

For our Summer CSA, we plan to follow the active CDC guidelines when shares begin and adapt by offering pre-boxed produce and social distancing practices for pickups as needed. We will figure out how to best offer choice options during pickups while still making it safe. With most of our shares happening at well-ventilated or outdoor locations, I think it’s going to be a great way to get your food!

Resources: A helpful and continuously updated resource for science-based food safety tips now is Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide, by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats. Also, the CDC has a page about how to take care if you get sick, and more resources to explore from there.

Food Security:

We are worried about how we all are going to get our whole community fed while many people are out of work. We are offering sliding scale options and payment plans for our summer CSA and also SNAP/EBT payment options at the lowest end of our scale with HIP reimbursement. Please get in touch with us if you need a different payment plan, or if you would like to help subsidize CSA shares for lower income members.

As we have for years, we continue to donate produce weekly to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and we will find ways to rescue and donate even more. We will be working with our partners in the Worcester and Boston area during the summer CSA season, like Food For Free and Lovin’ Spoonfuls.

Please get in touch with us via email if possible for any questions, as our office phone coverage is limited now.

Thank you very much for thinking of our farm during this time!

~ Sarah, Ryan, Wally and Chester Voiland, and all the farm crew.