BLACK FOREST — New businesses have it tough enough to find new ground, let alone starting up in times of COVID-19. But one local farmer’s market is navigating the hard times and making big changes along the way to help families, vendors, and farmers rebound across Colorado.
Drivers show up at the Backyard Market in Black Forest to pick up their winter boxes.
“We’re pretty excited,” customer Sheri Beck said, “There’s usually a lot of really good produce up here.”
The farmer’s market kicked off this year to serve the Black Forest area. The managers Theda Stone and Elba Barr didn’t let COVID-19 slow them down and had great success despite all the restrictions.
“The community just really embraced having us there. We’re thankful for the opportunity to support, not only our local farmers but also some of our local businesses in Black Forest as well,” Stone said.
They decided to go virtual for the winter. They build produce boxes with veggies, fruits, meat, eggs, etc that folks can order online and pick up in their car touch-free.
“The decision to go virtual was really a hard one for us,” Barr said, “The farmers, the community they really thrive on interaction especially after lockdown and restrictions.”
“The virtual was really a- let's see if it happens- if it’s successful, great! If not, we tried,” Barr added, “And it was instant, overnight!”
They had about a hundred online orders their first week.
They have produce from six farmers in Colorado and buyers can also opt for add-ins from different vendors. The vendors even show up to volunteer and deliver the boxes to cars so they can get some of that face to face interaction and help grow their brands.
“Because of Elba and Theda and the Black Forest market, my success in the business has boomed,” owner of One Nut Butter, Sam Pines exclaimed.
“They were very active in getting the media involved and getting their community involved. They were active on social media just getting the word out there, letting people know, hey we’re open come to us,” Sunshine Green’s Farm’s Pamela Brown said.
Brown added, “They really saved us because it brought in all these customers and I was able to get my brand out there.”
There are also frequent specials, like bloody mary boxes, taco boxes, and a Thanksgiving box.
The market is operating in the red right now having to deal with all the COVID restrictions on top of being a mom and pop startup, but they say it’s worth it.
“A lot of the vendors were like, we need this to survive," Barr said.
They like so many others can't wait until we can gather in person normally once again, but for now, their online market will do, and get them through the cold winter months.
The market said they also donate to those in need in the area. Folks who aren’t able to pick up their boxes also have the option to donate to the less fortunate.
If you’d like to learn more about the market click here.
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