Family Farm Affected By Restaurant Closures Is Saved By Their Kind Neighbors
The pandemic has affected small businesses in an unimaginable way. Ralph and Lisa Turner, owners and founders of Laughing Stock Farm in Freeport, Maine, were no exception to this. Promoting a sustainable farm-to-table approach, the Turners’ main source of income was restaurants in the Portland area. When COVID-19 forced widespread restaurant closures, the Turners were left with eight full greenhouses of produce, 10 tons of vegetables in cold storage, and no customers.
The Turners knew that if they didn’t come up with a solution quickly, their business would very likely go under. And so, they did what many small businesses have been forced to do – they pivoted. The Turners opened up a farm stand and began selling pre-bagged produce for $3 each. After sending out a newsletter to their contacts, the Turners were shocked at the response.
“We sent it out to probably 450 email addresses—and then people just started sharing it and sharing it and sharing it. The first day it was like, wow, that was a lot of people… The eggs were flying out of here… We went through 130 dozen eggs in two and a half days. It was insane,” said Lisa. Figuring she might be on to something, Lisa also contacted a local beef farmer and set up a delivery service. The delivery service was an overnight success.
Although the Turners haven’t made a big profit from their adapted business model, they’re making enough money to stay afloat. They also have plans to open up a farm store selling their own organic produce and products, as well as other food from local meat and dairy farmers. The Turners are so thankful for the support of the community during these turbulent times. They revealed many customers have left generous tips, just to keep their small business going in any way they can.
H/t Good News Network – thank you for sharing the Turners’ story! Please use this story as inspiration to shop locally and support small businesses in any way you are able to.