RICHMOND FAMILIES HELP SAVE VIRGINIA FAMILY FARMS
Richmond, Va. – In uncertain economic times, even an extraordinary green thumb and big city customers up in Washington, DC, weren’t enough to ensure a family farm’s survival. It took more than 800 Richmond-area moms and dads to rescue a way of life that benefits everyone it touches.
Since emigrating to this country two decades ago, Virginia farmer Gerardo Flores has become known for his ability to grow such rare vegetables as sorrel, purslane, Japanese daikon radishes, and more than fifteen types of hot peppers. Gerardo and his son Omar farm fifty acres of produce on the Northern Neck and count Hispanic and Asian produce buyers in the Washington, DC, area among their customers. Even so, according to Omar, “With the agriculture economy the way it is, we weren’t sure we were going to make it.”
Meanwhile, a network of parents in the Richmond area were forming a produce co-op called The Farm Table. Their goal was to find farmers within 200 miles who could supply them with healthy, sustainably grown fruits and vegetables for their families. “We figured it would be good for our families, and good for family farms, too,” explains Rick Grossberg, The Farm Table’s crop coordinator.
A year later, The Farm Table has partnered with more than half a dozen Central Virginia farmers like Gerardo and Omar Flores. The co-op’s membership, now at 800-plus and counting, stretches from Ashland to Petersburg. With so many families and a weekly order and delivery system, The Farm Table is providing family farms with income they can depend on throughout the growing season — adding as much as a $1,000 a week to a farmer’s income. “Some weeks that’s what keeps us in business,” says Omar. “For us, this is the future.”
The Farm Table delivers fresh-picked local produce to its members’ doorsteps every week from April to November. Every box of produce comes with recipes, making food prep simple. More information is at http://www.TheFarmTable.org. Photos, including Gerardo Flores, are available.