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Local farmers create website to help sell fresh produce during the pandemic

While spring is a season that farmers usually look forward to, JV Farms and Arkansas Natural Produce realized they would need to make some adjustments this season.

BISMARCK, Ark — Spring is fast-approaching! It's a season that farmers look forward to. With markets popping up every weekend, business is usually booming.

But this year, it's a little different. Local farms are having to adjust to the new normal. 

The main concern for many farmers right now is exactly how they are going to get their fresh local foods to Arkansans' tables. 

Jay Lee and his wife own JV Farms in Bismarck. 

Lee said knowing the challenges they were going to face, as well as not knowing when the end day will be, they decided to team up with another farm. 

"It's going to be a challenge and I don't think any of us have the answer of how we get this done the rest of the year," he said. 

With a lot of questions and not many solutions, Lee realized it was time for some change. 

"We knew we had to figure out how to get our products in front of people, so they could buy them," he said. 

Lee decided to call on their neighbors, Arkansas Natural Produce, to collaborate. 

"We still feel like we are flying by the seat of our pants trying to figure this out until we know how long this process is going to last," he said. 

Lee said two weeks ago, they started working on an online website, after their sales went down one-third and Arkansas Natural Produce's dropped 90% due to restaurants going to delivery and carry-out only. 

"We want to be able to, with the markets being closed, for people to still get the good, locally grown vegetables," he said. 

The website is updated every Sunday night with what vegetables and proteins will be available that week. 

Then, Lee said orders can be placed Sunday through Wednesday and are ready for pick-up or delivery on the weekend. 

"It's a real simple grab and go process," he said. 

Lee said they have been extremely surprised with how well-received the website has been and how sales have sky-rocketed. 

"Valerie and I came in one day at noon and our computer had blown up and it took us two hours just to get caught up on all the orders and getting organized," he said. 

Even though the future is unknown, Lee said he wants to see the website grow and continue to add other local farms onto it because they're all in this together. 

"Our hope is to keep the income and keep it going, so we can get back to maybe our normal way of doing things, if we ever go back to normal," he said. 

You can order and learn more about delivery and pick-up locations here.

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