GOODYEAR & PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- A small family farm in the West Valley is facing some hard times due to the coronavirus outbreak.
McClendon’s Select is an organic farm that has been serving the Phoenix community and surrounding Arizona areas for more than 20 years through farmers’ markets and selling to local restaurants.
The two farm properties, one in Goodyear and one in Peoria, employ 20-35 employees, depending on the season.
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But now, COVID-19 has devastated the farm's ability to have channels to actually sell the fruits and vegetables. Restaurant clients, who have seen their own loss of business, have severely cut back on orders.
And while farmers' market customers are still able to purchase goods, it's an uncertain situation that changes daily.
So, the farms have an abundance of food to sell, but not many customers. This predicament led to the idea to put together pre-made Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes, called "Grab and Go Boxes," for quick, low-contact transactions at new distribution points.
But even the Grab and Go boxes will not be enough to make up for the loss of revenue. March is usually one of the busiest months for farmers, with Spring training, nice weather and the abundance of produce that is available for harvest this time of year.
The farm is doing all it can to keep its employees paid and working as long as we possibly can. So owners are asking the public to help in any way it can.
McClendon’s has set up a Go Fund Me account for anyone who is able to lend a hand. The money will go directly to payroll expenses to keep employees working, so the farm can keep food in the supply chain.
"Farms are living things that need to be nurtured and tended to for survival, and we can't do that without money," reads a statement on the Go Fund Me page. "Food starts with us.
Here is a list of some other farms and stores with farm-fresh produce around Arizona:
- Blue Sky Organic Farms is located at 4762 N. 189th Avenue in Litchfield Park. They have one time purchase food boxes that come in three sizes. The contents in the boxes change each week. You can visit their farm for produce Wednesdays through Fridays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are also organic certified.
- Pinnacle Farms is located in Laveen at 8841 S. 27th Avenue. They are located on a 57 acre farm that has a farm stand on property that sells all the best seasonal produce items you could want. They also sell eggs, honey and canned/pickled items.
- Greenhouse Gardens is only selling Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 13103 E Chandler Heights Road in Chandler and specializes in seasonal produce. They pride themselves on being an urban market garden that is chemical-free and uses no pesticides.
- The Farm Store is a certified organic farmer's market located at 3000 E. Ray Road in Gilbert daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. They sell in-season produce so it changes from season to season.
- Singh Meadows is a local farmer's market located in Tempe that is open currently Fridays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are located at 1490 E. Weber Drive in Tempe.
- They sell fresh honey, a variety of produce, fresh juice and sandwiches. They are also selling boxes for $50 that come with cauliflower, broccoli, swiss chard, collard greens, celery, lacinato kale, both red & green curly kale, several varieties of citrus, red & green cabbage,potatoes, golden & red beets, onions, sweet potato, kohlrabi, carrots, apples, cilantro, parsley, mint and more. Eggs can also be added to the order too for additional cost. Call them at 480-225-7199 to schedule a pick up.
- Superstition Ranch Farmer's Market has farm fresh produce for affordable low prices. Each week they have different specials on their produce on Facebook that you can find here.
- Located at two locations:
- 4755 E Main Street in Mesa
- 7 N 14th Street in Apache Junction
- Located at two locations:
Arizona has received more than $5.3 million in grant funding from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to be able to provide meals for Arizona's seniors.