Local farmers find way to eliminate food waste

Lake Okeechobee News/Danika J. Fornear
CLEWISTON — Here’s a look inside one of the farm boxes from C&B Farms.

CLEWISTON — With more and more local farmers having to plow over or dump their crops due to hotels, restaurants and schools closing during the COVID-19 pandemic, direct to consumer sales have started popping up with the hope that farmers can recoup some of their losses and reduce food waste. By connecting directly to consumers, with a “drive up and drop in” sales event, local farmers have been able to battle the ill effects the coronavirus has had on their businesses.

Over Easter weekend, the Farmers Alliance in Immokalee had a drive-thru sale on Saturday. Just a few hours into it, they announced, “We are absolutely blown away by our community and all the support! Y’all helped us move 25,000 lbs of produce and 515 mixed boxes! We appreciate every single one of you enduring the crazy long lines and waits to come get your hands on produce straight from our fields. Thank you, thank you, thank you for supporting your local farmers! We hope y’all have a blessed Easter!” They urged consumers to continue to “demand American grown” and to buy “Fresh From Florida” every time they shop.

In Clewiston, a local grower, packer and shipper known as C&B Farms, also offered a direct to consumer sale of mixed farm boxes. C&B Farms, founded in 1986 and operating in Clewiston since 1992, reported that their founder, Chuck Obern, was recognized as Florida’s 2020 Farmer of the Year. They have always focused on a philosophy of sustainability and good land stewardship, but with produce sales down all over the country, they needed to get creative.

Each Farm Box contained a variety of beautiful fresh herbs and vegetables and weighed around 18 lbs. for the low price of $25. The boxes came with recipe suggestions for some of the produce like using their fresh Napa cabbage in Ramen Noodle Salad or making a Mojito with their fresh mint.

“In these very uncertain times, we here at C&B Farms want to wish you and yours the most sincere, safe and happy thoughts,” they posted on their Facebook Page. “Thank you for supporting our Farm Family and Florida Farmers!”

Their next farm box sale is yet to be announced, but updates and details will be released on their Facebook Page: “C&B Farms INC”, on Instagram: @cbfarms_INC, and on Twitter: @cbfarms_INC. They hope to continue offering the farm boxes, at least until things return to normal.

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