A Farm Goes Online, In Ridgefield

RIDGEFIELD, CT — Much has been made of how the coronavirus lockdown permanently shuttered many restaurants, and is greatly diminishing the revenue prospects of those that have reopened. There’s been less conversation about what that meant for those one level up on the food chain, the farmers who sell the food to the restaurants.

Pre-pandemic, Horseshoe Farm, a 14-acre sustainable farm in Ridgefield, sold 80 percent of its harvest to local restaurants. When the owner, “Farmer Pete” Campbell, saw those kitchen lights flicker and go out, he knew his business would have to pivot to stay afloat.

With restaurants no longer ringing his phone, Campbell decided to focus on his retail operation. During its five years in business, Horseshoe had always run a modest farm stand on weekends. But although the state allowed him to keep that “essential” food business open, getting enough COVID-skittish customers in to browse through each

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How Vermont farm turned being a good neighbor into good business

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Vermont in mid-March, pastry chef Thomas McCurdy spent a week or two feeling confused and “out of sorts,” as he puts it, jarred by the economic impact on his business and his community. But that didn’t last.

“I woke up one day and said, ‘OK, that’s enough of that. Time to get to work,’” he says. That’s when Mr. McCurdy and his husband, Bailey Hale, who own a bakery and flower farm in Irasburg, Vermont, hatched the idea for Kingdom Direct.

Launched at the beginning of April from their premises at Ardelia Farm & Co., Kingdom Direct offers weekly home delivery of ready-cooked meals and fresh local foods to customers in the Northeast Kingdom region around Irasburg, a picturesque village 25 miles south of the Quebec border.

The online service was partly inspired by the need to do something to keep their business afloat during

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