Waldoboro farmer Allison Lakin called PenBayPilot.com Saturday morning with an idea. She had been out milking her cows, trying to sort through the implications of the current public health, social and economic crisis. She and Neal Foley own East Forty Farm, where they raise livestock, make cheese and operate a sawmill. Their businesses depend on customers.
But right now, customers are self-isolating. They are not visiting farms. Business is drying up, and that is across the world.
Out in the barn with the dairy cows, Lakin was mulling over how to reach customers tucked away in their homes.
“I was struck with an idea that could help support small producers and help members of the community buy supplies locally,” she said. “The power of the press.”
Lakin suggests building an online database and a print product listing the region’s producers and their products.
“This can apply to all products from food to soap and other essentials,” she said. “This would be limited to producers who can accommodate sales at their farms, giving the community an alternative location to shop, while at the same time helping to support local business. The producers would send their location, hours, and list of products to the paper and the public could access that information through the paper.”
Lakin’s farm store at East Forty Farm, on Friendship Road, is open every day except Thursday. They raise forest-grazed, whey-fed pork offering cuts ranging from bacon to roasts. They make Lakin's Gorges Cheese: cow milk cheeses, ricotta and a range of original recipe soft ripened and aged cheeses.
“We plan to start offering more prepared foods for people who don't want to cook and will post updates on our social media feeds,” she said. “Customers can also place orders for cheese and pork on the phone and pay with a credit card and pick up a packaged order at the farm.”
“Thank you for considering a way to help businesses connect with the community,” said Lakin.
The idea has been tossed out. More ideas?