The vegetable stand at Madrona Farms in Saanich has been transformed into a drive-thru to hinder the spread of COVID-19.
Saanich Coun. Nathalie Chambers and her family live and work at Madrona Farms – part of The Land Conservancy – where they cultivate produce year-round.
The farm’s vegetable stand is located on the 27-acre property and has been operating since 1951, Chambers said. There are about 4,000 customers seasonally – most of whom are seniors who come to the stand routinely to socialize and pick up healthy veggies.
The farm stand is a place where people have found community and even love, Chambers said with a laugh.
Her goal is to keep the stand going through the pandemic so that residents can still access local produce, so she and her husband David turned it into a drive-thru window.
“We’re evolving to meet the current times,” she said.
Now, instead of getting out of their cars and socializing, customers stay in their vehicles or on their bikes to accommodate social distancing and prevent the spread of illness, she explained.
With the new system, people pull up, the drive-thru window opens and then they can order their veggies, Chambers said. Payment options include cash, cheques or e-transfer, she added, noting that her husband has also been sterilizing the change in boiling water each night.
“I’ve wanted to do [a drive-thru] for a long time,” she said. “It’s been good for a few smiles right now.”
The farm stand currently has crops that grew over the winter including lettuce, spinach, garlic, onions, kale and more, Chambers said. She’s planting potatoes this week and noted that Madrona’s carrots – which Coun. Susan Brice loves – will be ready in June.
Chambers has always felt Madrona Farm is a “sacred place” and should be protected
She pointed out that food security and community are important parts of farming. She feels the Madrona Farms vegetable stand honours the spirit and history of Saanich and its farmland.
“If you’ve got the soil, you can feed your people and that’s how we’ll get through this,” Chamber said.
The veggie drive-thru is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.