Fast Adapting Micro-Farmers Harvest Huge Profit

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By quickly adapting “to bring the entire farmers market to your doorstep,” a small family-owned business, which exclusively supplied Chicago area restaurants with the microgreens used by their chefs, will come out of the emergency even better than before. Other quick thinking small businesses can reap similar benefits.

Adapting to the fluid situation

Before the Kung Flu hit Chicago, Urban farmer Adam Pollack was up early every day, “seeding, harvesting and delivering microgreens to the top ranked restaurants in Chicago.” Then, everyone went into lockdown and nobody was buying his produce.

Pollack had an idea. Since Local chefs won’t be gobbling up his baby produce, “harvested at a very early stage, when it is most nutrient-dense,” it represented an opportunity “to provide a useful service” during “a time that people are staying at home.”

“One of the things that this crisis brings to light is that, as a whole, we’re very dependent on long supply chains.” He decided to do something about it. Adapting to the emergency, Closed Loop Farms reached out direct to locked down consumers with a virtual farmers market. “We really wanted to be able to bring the entire farmers market to your doorstep.”

A virtual farmers market

From their Co-Op space in sustainable food farm “The Plant,” which is located in the Back of the Yards district, Pollack delivers boxes of fresh picked microgreens and other organic offerings direct to the customer. He also supplies edible flowers.

Not all the growers at The Plant are doing as well. “Many of our food businesses are on temporary hiatus because they serve restaurants and bars,” the cooperative’s owner John Eden relates.

Then there’s Pollack and some others who “are working like mad to fill orders.” Along with all the products they normally produce, Pollack delivers other “sustainably produced food from around Chicago.” Some of it comes from other co-op producers at The Plant including honey and kombucha. Boxes are delivered straight to the door.

Thankfully, by adapting quickly they were able to keep all their workers though they scaled back production and hours. If enough of the local residents “embrace using microgreens in their home cooking” his consumer delivery program can become an extra branch of his business when the crisis is over.

“Hopefully,” Pollack declares, “it makes us, as a business, as a farm, as a community, more resilient and more diversified.”

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