By Clint Thompson
One South Georgia farmer is thinking inside the box when it comes to moving this year’s fruit and vegetable crop.
Like his brethren in Florida, Bill Brim’s farming operation has been impacted by the orders of self-quarantine amid the current coronavirus pandemic. The lack of a foodservice market led to a sharp decline in demand for fresh produce including those grown at Lewis Taylor Farms in Tifton, Georgia, where Brim is a co-owner.
With excess fruit and vegetables, Brim decided to offer boxed fruit to consumers in the South Georgia area. Brim was overwhelmed by the response last week.
“We just started last week. We did like 350, I think. Next week we’ve already got over 700,” Brim said. “It’s crazy. We could wind up with 1,000 before it’s over with. We’re looking forward to it because we need to move some produce. We’re so far down on greens and stuff like this. Our revenue stream has come to nothing because of the coronavirus.”
Last week, Brim offered collard, kale, zucchini, onion, strawberries and broccoli. People drove to Lewis Taylor Farms on Wednesday and received their produce without getting out of their car.
“They lined up out here. We had masks on and gloves on and toted it to the car. They dropped a $20 bill into a box and kept going,” Brim said. “It makes you feel good to know that people in this country are like that. But everybody wants fresh produce, too, and this is a good way for them to get it.
“We’re just trying to generate some income because we’re so way down.”
Brim said this marketing outlet is not set up for all farming operations. It is hard to capitalize on unless you are big enough and have got enough product and different kinds of products. This week’s box will feature turnips, broccoli, yellow squash, onion, blueberries and cabbage.
Brim is not a blueberry farmer, but he is a staunch supporter of other growers like himself. He buys blueberries from another producer in Lakeland, Georgia.
“We like to use all of our product, but you’ve got to change it up a little bit,” Brim said.
Watermelon, cantaloupe, eggplant, cucumber and bell pepper could be included as well, once they’re ready for harvest..
To place an order for this week’s box, fill out an order form. All orders must be placed by Sunday night.
Lewis Taylor Farms grows more than 6,500 acres of produce each year.