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Preventing the Spread of COVID-19: Local Farms Offer Fresh, Local Foods

Saturday, March 21, 2020 | 01:20pm

NASHVILLE — While the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, Tennessee’s farms remain an ideal source for fresh and local produce, dairy products, and meats. Many farms that sell directly to the public are working to keep the food supply chain strong and taking additional precautions to protect the health of their customers.

There are farms across the state that sell their own products, as well as products from other Tennessee farms, to provide customers with a broad selection. Many have retail stores on site or sell online. From eggs gathered that morning, to freshly-picked vegetables, to milk and cheese, to freezer meats—farmers are adapting to customers’ needs.

With recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in mind, many farm stores are offering advance orders online or over the phone, limiting the number of customers inside the store at one time, delivery to the car or a pickup location, options to ship, and in some cases, home delivery.

Pick Tennessee Products features a searchable database of farms statewide that sell directly to the public. Customers can go to www.picktnproducts.org or download the free PickTN mobile app to find a local farm.

“Although our grocery shopping habits have changed with time, farms remain the original source for our food,” Commissioner of Agriculture Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “If you haven’t shopped at a local farm before, I encourage you to call ahead and ask what’s available. Many are partnering with other farms to provide a greater variety of fresh products than ever before.”

It is not believed that COVID-19 is spread through food. However, those who manufacture or sell food should take steps to prevent the spread between food handlers and customers. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has information and tips for food handlers online.  

CDC guidance for good health:

·         Wash your hands often. If soap and water is unavailable, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

·         Don’t congregate in a group. Maintain distance of at least 6 feet between you and others.

·         Don’t touch products on display.

·         Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

·         Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

·         If you feel sick, do not visit a farm.

You can access the latest information on Tennessee’s response to COVID-19 online at www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html.