A shift in business model to help consumers support and buy local as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, is proving positive for Parry Bay Farm Market.
Shortly after closures and restrictions were announced mid-March, Molly Buchanan set up an online store for the market to let people know they were still open and to make themselves more available to customers.
“Our business has actually been doing better than usual,” Buchanan said. “I think that has to do with the fact that people are worried about their food supply and supporting local more in that sense.”
The farm market has been located on Parry Bay Sheep Farm since 2018 and sells lamb as well as chicken and pork in collaboration with Stillmeadow Farm in Metchosin. Buchanan said she was careful to set up buying limits on products to ensure there is enough product for everyone.
Now that lambing season is coming to a close, Buchanan said they will start haying soon to support the sheep farm. She said there has been some difficulties getting butchering and food supply such as grain that helps feed the sheep, but the farm hasn’t had to slow down.
Buchanan said she thinks the pandemic has brought on some fear amongst people when it comes to food supply.
“I think on Vancouver Island there’s always the awareness that if we can’t get a boat to the Island we’d run out of food quickly,” Buchanan said. “Maybe that has reminded people about the importance of local food and supporting local farmers.”
The Metchosin community has supported Parry Bay before the pandemic, Buchanan said, adding lately customers are coming from Colwood, Langford and as far off as Oak Bay.
“People supporting local is really important and that’s not just for our farm store,” Buchanan said. “We have a great opportunity to be almost entirely following the idea of the 100 mile diet or in Metchosin, the five-kilometre diet. [You can] get pretty much everything you need locally without going to a grocery store and I would love for people to realize that.”