Olympia farmers thriving during COVID-19 pandemic

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Raking and pulling stubborn weeds is all in a day's work for Sarah and Gabriel Baisan.

The couple owns Skipping Stone Garden in Olympia.

Their farm is filled with salad greens, microgreens, bok choy, garlic, tomatoes, and more, that they sell at the Olympia Farmers Market.

"Everybody's really excited to get fresh produce,” said Sarah.

This year coronavirus brought concerns.

"We started out with a bit of uncertainty. Are we going to have any foot traffic? Is the market going to close down?" said Gabriel.

The Olympia Farmers Market is open, but some fellow farmers chose not to fill their stands.

"We weren't really sure what to think. Our first thought was, we're not going to have a farm this year, or, we're going to be farming for our family or ourselves,” said Sarah.

To make money, the Baisans began their own Community Supported Agriculture program, also known as a CSA. They deliver fresh produce to people's homes every week for 20 weeks.

"That alleviated a lot of fears and issues about income coming in. We're able to pay ourselves, which is always a bonus for farmers,” said Sarah.

Another bonus is that business at the farmers market is exceeding expectations. So far, they've sold out every Saturday.

“We actually haven't made it to a Sunday yet, which is why we're planting every possible square inch we can of our farm,” said Sarah.

The Baisans aren't sure if things will ever quite be the same.

"We won't revert totally back to normal, it'll be different from here on out, but for us, we love markets, as long as we can do it, we'll do it,” said Gabriel.

During the pandemic, Skipping Stone Garden will continue working hard to grow garden-fresh greens and feed their community.

"A positive change that I think is going to come out of this is that a lot more people are really going to appreciate the local farms and kind of what they bring to the community,” said Sarah.

The Olympia Farmers Market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.