Six River Farm has set up a farm stand at the farm at 52 Center Point Road in Bowdoinham which is open daily so people can easily grab $5 and $20 bags of prepackaged assortments of greens and roots. Contributed photo

BOWDOINHAM — With many restaurants and winter farmers markets closed because of the cornonavirus, local farms are looking for alternatives to get their products to customers.

“We have just been really trying to figure out ways to get produce to people in as safe a manner as possible and we have certainly found that people’s interest in and demand for local produce right now is very high,” said Nate Drummond of Six River Farm in Bowdoinham.

Six River Farm has a self-service farm stand at the farm open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The farm has also done some smaller pop-up markets in Brunswick with prepackaged bags as well.

Other local farms are doing the same. Fairwinds Farm in Topsham has a farm stand open three days a week at 332 Augusta Road with a handwashing station, prepackaged produce and food from other farms and farmers market vendors.

Also in Topsham, Ben Whatley of Whatley Farm struggled to fill about 60 email orders last week. By Tuesday morning, items would be available for sale on his the business’s website. His customers are picking up their orders, left in boxes, at the farm.

People who aren’t regular customers have turned to farms like Six River to access healthy food or avoid grocery stores.

“People are very good,” Drummond said. “They just get out of the car, grab what they want, put money in a jar and if someone is ahead of them, they wait in the car.”

Margaret Morris of Brunswick said her husband has been to the farm stand twice to buy grab-and-go bags for their family of four, neighbors and his parents.

Morris said it’s hard to do without fresh produce and turned to the farm after Hannaford last week suspended its online shopping and pick-up service until the end of March to focus on restocking shelves.

“I’m incredibly grateful to any business that’s been willing to provide any service while eliminating the face-to-face interactions,” she said.

Drummond anticipates the demand for local crops will remain high and as farmers create new places for people to access food, “we have to communicate it to everyone.”

Farmers are using their websites and social media to help with that. The Merrymeeting Food Council website has a running list of several local farm stands and other farms, seafood companies and food artisans offering online orders and on- or off-site pickup or home delivery.

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