Curbside orders help farmers sell produce to Pearl Farmers Market customers

Area small farmers feel the impact of COVID-19 amid restaurant closures

SAN ANTONIOUPDATE: Curbside pickup helped customers get the produce they needed from the Pearl market’s farmers.

Hundreds of customers put in about 400 orders, getting produce from vendors who usually work at the Pearl Farmers Market.

“This is how we can keep our restaurants, our farmers, our small businesses, alive during this really challenging time, and you can come here really safely and get this wonderful food into your home,” said Elizabeth Fauerso, chief marketing officer of the Pearl.

The curbside service is set to continue as the nation continues to practice social distancing, and more local vendors will be included each week.

The website will remain open until Wednesday at midnight.

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The closure of restaurants is having a cascading effect on the area farmers that supply them with produce, dairy products and fruits.

Cody Scott, owner of Green Bexar Farm, says his farm diversified its sales last year, but the impact makes up about 30 percent of his sales.

“The few that are still open are doing takeout options. But the demand is just not there. You can see across the board,” he explains.

He’s one of many farmers who are trying to find ways to survive during the coronavirus pandemic. The Pearl Farmer’s Market is helping growers connect with their loyal customers through a new curbside pick-up service.

Elizabeth Fauerso, chief marketing director at The Pearl, says the website was launched within a few days.

“It’s live or die for these for these vendors,” she said. “If we don’t support our local vendors, then they will not make it through this period of time.”

In a matter of only two days, 400 customers put in orders. They’ll be ready for pick up on Friday evening from 3-7 p.m. Once those orders are picked up, the website will be up and running until the following Wednesday for orders.

It gives one day for growers to drive the products to the site, where staff with organize the orders and get them ready for pick up on Fridays. Customers will never have to get out of their cars.

“It’s important to not just to do it once. It’s important to do it every week, because that’ll really make the difference and keep these people that a lot of times are multi-generational farmers,” Fauerso said. Farmers come from the 150 mile radius around San Antonio."

The Pearl is also purchasing food from the vendors to donate to the San Antonio Food Bank.

The website will begin taking orders Friday at 8 p.m. and remain open until Wednesday at midnight. New local restaurants and vendors will be added weekly.

Scott says between the sales from the Pearl website and sales on his website, he hopes to make it.

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