Talking SCHOP! Farm to People for the people

KYSHA HARRIS Food Editor, @SCHOPgirl | 5/7/2020, midnight
Doctors, nurses, paramedics, people who work in hospitals, police officers, fire fighters, grocery store owners and workers, sanitation workers, postal ...
Farm to People - The Spread Kysha Harris photo

Doctors, nurses, paramedics, people who work in hospitals, police officers, fire fighters, grocery store owners and workers, sanitation workers, postal carriers and all essential workers…thank you. You have created many moments of calm for me and I hope others during these different times. You are so appreciated.

In late January, I was invited to speak on a panel at the CUNY School of Public Health and Health Policy for the Urban Food Policy Institute. The panel, entitled Muckraking, Investigative, Impact, and Local Journalism: New Directions for Media Reporting on Food, would become important foreshadowing of the coming months.

Each of my fellow panelists, Mark Bittman (Heated, Mailman School of Public Health), Joe Fassler (The Counter) and Lisa Elaine Held (Civil Eats, The Farm Report) and I had 10 minutes to speak on our relevant topics. My topic was how I decide what to cover and determine what readers want from my column.

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Once we all spoke, we moved to a Q&A on the stage. One of the questions posed to me came from a young woman asking how one gains food journalists’ interest in their product or service. My answer was simply, “engage, engage, engage.”

We journalists are people who write from experience. Let me try the product and form my own thoughts about it. It was this moment when I first heard of Farm to People (@farmtopeople, www.farmtopeople.com), an online subscription-based food delivery service, and met its marketing director, Rachel Steinhauser.

Soon after our meeting, Rachel heeded my words and engaged me with an introductory box of Farm to People. I chose the Omnivore Cook Box ($49.95) which includes seasonal produce, meat, cheese, bread and more plus cooking tips and recipes. The farmers list what they are harvesting and then you customize what you want, changing quantities and adding specialty food items.

My box included tangelos and apples, Yukon gold potatoes, fennel, escarole, spinach, bok choy and wild Alaskan Coho salmon plus a reusable tote. I also really appreciated the minimum waste packaging and the compostable produce bags. I was sold.

And then the pandemic strikes…people are panic shopping, hoarding and turning to online grocery shopping and of course services like Farm to People. “Before COVID, our team was on the ground, every day, spreading the word about local food to anyone who would listen,” said Steinhauser. “Now, we’re managing a waitlist for new sign-ups while we make operational adjustments to meet the demand.”

When asked about the “new normal,” Steinhauser offered, “We’ve seen growing interest in local and ethically grown food and we’re excited to be able to connect New Yorkers to our local food hubs. Our farm partners are seeing more demand for their own CSAs, too. The farms who were dependent on restaurant partners will find a way to adapt.”

A chance meeting, offering words of advice, action on the advice and a needed service synthesized for me. Glad to be a customer now. Keep up the great work, Farm to People!

Stay safe, wear a mask, eat well and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!