Coronavirus News: Local farms begin home deliveries from Union Square Greenmarket amid coronavirus

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A partnership born out of the coronavirus pandemic is bringing farm fresh produce to New Yorkers' kitchens on demand along with access to some of the city's top chefs.

Norwich Meadows Farm, a staple at the Union Square Market, launched the new service just after COVID-19 shut down the city.

Stay at home orders drastically reduced foot traffic at the market and nearly eliminated 60% of the farm's other business, selling wholesale produce to high-end New York City restaurants.

"We had excess food because we didn't have anyone to sell to," Norwich Meadows Farm food facilitator Brant Shapiro said.

The farm came up with a new concept and began packaging market boxes for home delivery orders packed with produce, dairy, eggs, baked goods, and other snacks available at the farmer's market.

They also hired top chefs from restaurants forced to close amid the pandemic to help select the market box items and offer recipes and support to customers.

"It's incredible how quickly it has caught on and the volume of people who have been contacting us who need food delivered to their homes," Shapiro said. "We never expected it to be what it is."

Revolution Rickshaws, a pedi-cab company, retrieves the boxes from the Union Square Market and offers no-contact deliveries.

Customers can choose between one-time orders and a regular subscription and can reach out directly to the farm to learn more about the Norwich Meadows Box or visit a new online marketplace, Fellow Farmer.

For now, the market is delivering to addresses in Manhattan, Westchester County, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.

On average, the operators have been delivering more than two dozen boxes a shift. Shapiro said the farm is averaging around 800 orders a week.

"Some people are immuno-compromised, some people are older, or they have a lot of contact with elderly relatives," Revolution Rickshaws pedi-cab operator Chris West said. "You know, we are all trying to do our part to flatten the curve."

Shapiro said he believes the farm has found a previously untapped need in the city and is exploring how to continue and expand the operation even after the crisis passes.

"Food security has become such an issue now, and for the first time, people, I think, really get how important it is to have access to fresh food," he said.

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