Over the past few months, we understand that our customers have had concerns surrounding food safety and order fulfillment as our company has adjusted to operating in a pandemic. To continue in our efforts to answer our customers’ questions, we’ve asked some of our vendors to share their story about operating during a health crisis.
This is Nicola’s story from Irvings Farm Fresh and how COVID-19 has impacted her business.
About Irvings Farm Fresh Ltd
Nicola and her husband Alan started their operation in 2006. Both moving from England to Alberta for the very first time, they quickly realized that the high quality, lean British sausages they had been used to were not readily available in their new home. Irvings Farm Fresh has slowly expanded their pork operation, producing artisanal pork products in a modern pork processing facility, using simple traditional methods to produce quality products. Their focus is to “do one thing and do it really well”.
How COVID-19 has impacted their business
The Irvings Farm Fresh team has experienced many changes to their business since the pandemic began, largely associated with who they are selling their products to. While farmer’s markets and restaurant sales slowed down or came to a complete halt, they experienced a “huge outpour of support” from their local community who were looking to buy directly from their farm. Since this shift, the farm has utilized their delivery trucks, previously used for restaurant deliveries, and focused instead on delivering individual customer orders.
In addition to these changes, they have also made adjustments to their production schedule and facility layout to allow proper physical distancing between staff.
What ways can you help?
Nicola feels very grateful that her business has been able to keep all of their staff during a time that has been difficult for many employers. She says this is largely thanks to the support of the community for buying local. She asks that SPUD customers continue to support small and local businesses when they can.
How do you see the future when COVID-19 is behind us?
“I’m feeling so optimistic about local food producers,” says Nicola. She believes that this health crisis has made the average consumer question large scale food production and motivated more people to do their homework around where food comes from. She hopes in the future that consumers will try to buy local first and then to look for Canadian vendors before looking for cheaper, international food providers.