ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Roberta Ehret paused when asked if her family farm could possibly survive the coronavirus pandemic. “I feel a little guilty,” she told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Actually, business is booming.” She and husband Brian own KDE Farms in Hugo, a four-generation farm that, to their amazement, is thriving. Thanks to soaring demand for their beef, vegetables and pork, business has doubled in one year. Most of the food industry is in crisis, with meat processing plants shuttered, prices rising and masks worn in every supermarket. Yet, family operations are enjoying a small-farm renaissance. “It’s very exciting,” said Annie Klodd, a horticultural educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Service. “There is some kind of instinctual magnetism drawing people to locally produced food.” That’s not what small farmers expected when the coronavirus stormed the nation in March. “They were asking, ‘How will we survive?’ ” Klodd said. Owners of pick-your-own-fruit farms worried customers would stay home out of fear of infection or adherence to social distancing orders. “Exactly the opposite happened,” said Klodd. Families saw picking their own food as a low-risk activity outside the home. “It’s naturally socially distant,” said Klodd. Other small producers… Read full this story
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