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  • Congrats to Jen, the winner of this week’s order feedback drawing and a $10 R&R gift card! (Also congrats to Jenn and Emily who won the past two weeks respectively and I forgot to mention it here!) Thanks to all of you who have responded to the slips in your bags — we <3 feedback and we <3 you!
  • Highlights: zucchini, fava beans, mini broccoli, garlic scapes, shelling peas, cherry tomatoes, and so much more I could go on like this all night. Check it out for yourself!

Scroll down for the full list of what we’ll have this week! Check out the website for everything we’ve got right now!

We had a Radish & Rye family dinner (well, happy “hour” with snacks) on Sunday night, the first in many months. We’d had one scheduled pre-COVID but it got pushed back and then, well, the world turned upside down and we never rescheduled. The main purpose for our gathering, besides just having some low-key bonding time, was to discuss what, if any, adjustments to make when Dauphin County goes green this week. In other words, are we ready to open for in-person shopping?

To my surprise, the consensus that emerged from the five of was, “Not yet.”

It was important to Dusty and me that the decision had to be at least as much up to Elliott, Lara, and Veronica as it was to us. I think it was a hard decision for all of us, and maybe the only real piece of clarity I got from the evening is that I am deeply grateful to be in company with such a thoughtful group of people. The discussion itself was a real pleasure.

I don’t want to pretend that I can speak for the individuals involved in the decision (except myself), but I imagine that many folks will have questions, so I do want to try to answer some of those. After all, the thing we as a Radish & Rye family all agree on as the biggest reason that we would like to re-open for in-person shopping is getting to talk to all of you, and this decision means it’ll be a little while longer before we get to do that.

If I were to boil down both my personal feelings and what I think I heard on Sunday evening, the core of it is something like this — we’re happy that other aspects of the world are re-opening; we’re happy to see the market buzzing with activity again; we crave that interaction and sense of normalcy; when we think about trying to comply with the Governor’s and Secretary of Health’s orders for businesses operating in-person in our tiny space in the midst of a market buzzing with activity it feels…daunting. Maybe impossible, at this stage. If you’ve shopped with us in-person, especially on a Saturday, you might know what I mean.

There are two factors for us, I think — first, what is the socially responsible thing to do in this situation? and second, what if one of us gets sick?

On the first point, social responsibility, we take our guidance from what the Governor and the Department of Health have laid out as guidelines for in-person operations. That’s essentially requiring mask-wearing by employees and customers (with some exceptions, of course), and creating conditions that facilitate social distancing and limit the potential spread of the virus. Some of the guidelines, like routine handwashing, cleaning, etc, are no problem, and are things we’re doing now. Others, like asking folks to put on masks when we know this is a …hot topic…, feel emotionally daunting. And still others, like figuring out how to restock the shelves while maintaining distance and developing traffic patterns through the stand that will keep customers at a safe distance from each other, seem like they might be physically impossible unless we limit shopping to one or two customers at a time — and then what? we have to act as bouncers (yuck), or have lines of people waiting to enter the stand (doesn’t seem great), and we’re only able to accommodate a fraction of the folks who want to get their food for the week (boo)? We want to re-open, but it’s important to us to so in a way that is socially responsible and viable for us as a business. We haven’t figured out that balance yet.

And on the second point, what if one of us gets sick? This could happen regardless of whether we’re doing business in-person or online, either in the course of business or in the course of our personal lives. In some ways, it feels like an inevitability that eventually least one of us will contract the virus. And I think on Sunday I heard all of us express an awareness of that, even a reconciliation to that. And yet — we are small enough and work together closely enough that even now, if one of us gets sick, it very well may mean that we have to close the stand completely for two weeks or more. I think I also heard that while we as individuals are feeling that we personally would be willing to take on the greater risk of exposure that would come with opening in person, we are averse to taking on that risk for the business if it jeopardizes our ability to help the farmers we know and love get their food into the mouths and bellies and of the community we know and love.

It’s also noteworthy to us that when we read and think through the dozens of bits of feedback we get each week through the order feedback form, through comments on orders when they’re placed, through brief in-person conversations at the time of pickup, and through the emails and texts we get, we hear far more expressions of gratitude for online ordering/curbside pickup and requests for it to continue than we hear requests to re-open in person. It’s not even close — at least ten to one, maybe more like twenty or thirty to one.

We agreed on Sunday that we would reevaluate in a couple of weeks, after Dauphin County has been green for a little while and we can see what’s happening with the numbers and what’s happening at the market. We’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, you know those dozens of bits of feedback we get each week? Keep ’em coming, supportive or critical (or both). We are here, first and foremost, for you, and we love every bit of connection we can feel with you in this strange time.

-Julia

 


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