FARMERS UNITED ... The rhubarb is just starting to come in at Happy Quail Farms in East Palo Alto. But the customers that would normally be buying up the majority of the farm's produce — restaurants — have dropped off significantly during the coronavirus, with dining rooms shuttered or operating in a limited capacity throughout the Bay Area. Andreas Winsberg, who grew up helping his father, David, run Happy Quail Farms and is now the co-founder of a digital design and branding agency, stepped in with an idea: a cooperative box filled with produce from small, local farms struggling to sustain sales that would be provided directly to customers who need fresh food. They partnered with several local farms to launch the Farm Co-Op Box earlier this month — including Brokaw Ranch, Swanton's Berry Farm, McGinnis Ranch, Farwest Fungi and Marshall's Honey — and used his agency's website to provide online ordering. Customers can pick the boxes up at local farmers markets or opt for home delivery. Three weeks in, the boxes have generated about $5,000 in business for the farms, which is "starting to replicate the normal demand from restaurants," Winsberg said. "We pay the farmers exactly what they'd like to get for their produce when they sell it directly at a farmer's market," he added. Weekly orders for the boxes must be placed by Wednesday at midnight. Learn more at farmbox.409.co.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE ... Project WeHope's shelves are stocked with turkey bacon, fresh eggs, rice and other food donations that total $15,000 from Palo Alto's Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, which has temporarily suspended operations while the stay-at-home order is in place. The donation was led by Robert Stayte, the center's director of culinary services, who took notice of food that wasn't being used by the JCC. "What do we do with a 5-pound bag of tater tots? I said, 'we should donate it somewhere to someone who really, really needs it,'" he said in a news release. Palo Alto High School's Social Justice Pathway also organized a food drive for Project WeHope on Wednesday. Students donned personal protective equipment and picked up food donations at addresses provided through an online form.
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