ASAP likes to share the stories of people who help us fulfill our mission. This month we’re talking to Nicole Coston of Bearwallow Valley Farms, who is using funding through the Appalachian Grown Farmers Immediate Needs Grant to facilitate CSA deliveries and is partnering in the Appalachian Farms Feeding Families program.
How did the pandemic initially impact Bearwallow Valley Farms and the CSA you offer?
We lost 75 percent of our in-person CSA registrations due to shut downs. The majority of our wholesale accounts are to restaurants and child care centers, both of which have been closed.
You’ve done outreach to offer your CSA to SNAP/EBT participants. How have you gone about that, and what results have you seen?
We have been able to work with the Mills River Farm Market and Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas to accept EBT and offer double dollars, so our EBT customers only pay 50 percent of the value for meat, eggs, and veggies. We have been able to serve about 10 households through this program and have room to expand.
What will you be delivering to the Hendersonville Spanish Church through the Appalachian Farms Feeding Families program?
Peaches, plums, raspberries, blueberries, kale, napa cabbage, and more. This program has helped us move bulk product that was planted for wholesale accounts at a fair price.
Have there been any good surprises or outcomes during this challenging time for your farm?
It seems there has been a stronger focus on buying local as folks have not been comfortable shopping at grocers.