The PRFC FarmShare for Homebound Seniors 2021 season is now fully underway. This year, the program serves 38 individuals spread throughout the region. Each participant has a $50 credit to spend throughout the growing season. The produce is procured at three area farms--Stutzman's Farmstand in Sangerville, Helios Horsepower Farm in Guilford, and Wyman's Farm in Milo.
Our customers are offered produce from the farm that is geographically closest to them. Stutzman's produce is delivered to Dover, Dexter and Sangerville. Guilford, Monson, and Greenville customers are offered items from Helios. Wyman's caters to our Brownville and Milo crowd. The unusually dry, hot start to the growing season caused a staggered start for our three partner farms. So, while there are some Stutzman's customers who have used their entire credit already, some Wyman's customers are just getting started.
Each week, our customer service volunteers, Leslie and Roxy dutifully call each person on our client list. They give them a run down of available fruits and veggies--conveying size, color, and other nuances over the phone. Selections are made. Sometimes recipes and dinner plans are hashed out by customers on the call. I've heard plans for cucumber sandwiches, pasta sauce with fresh basil, and warm strawberry jam sandwiches. When everyone has been called, the orders are tallied, the bulk orders are sent to the farms, the order is picked up, packed, and delivered.
Every week, I deliver the produce to our customers. Every week, I am surprised by their authentic happiness and gratitude. There are small hiccups, but all are easily resolved. As I get to know the customers as individuals, we bond over the simple pleasure of fruits and vegetables grown within driving distance, over preferences and habits. I know now who will eat their strawberries as soon as I drive away, who will cook an elaborate meal, who will eat their veggies slowly and plainly over the course of the week. As I start to say "goodbye until next year" to the early season strawberry-lovers, I look forward to bonding more with the customers waiting on corn, tomatoes, and winter squash.