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Tomato Festival helps local Big Bend farmers

Posted at 9:21 AM, Jun 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-13 09:21:54-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Hundreds of people came together Sunday afternoon to support their local farmers.

Feeling the impacts from COVID-19 and rising inflation, support is exactly what these local farmers need.

Cari Roth of the Red Hills Farm Alliance said their annual tomato feastival helps fund services they provide for farmers.

"Having people become constant purchasers and eaters of local is so important in maintaining it," said Roth.

For the past ten years, the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance has provided local producers with an online market, home to over 100 small farmers who sell their products straight to consumers.

A lifeline to businesses like Handsome Dudes Farms. When COVID-19 shut down farmer's markets, it cut out a large portion of many small farmer's income.

"We saw a huge uptick in new customers, people interested in getting their groceries sent right to them and shopping with a lot of local farms," said Aaron Nicely.

Across the aisle at the Tomato Festival, Bumpy Road Farms. They've recently had to raise some of their prices on their specialty corn meal made for Grits.

"Maybe five to ten percent," said Kathryn Godinez.

Bumpy Road Farms is a full-time gig for Gonzalo Godinez, with help from his wife Kathryn they've felt the impacts of inflation.

"We collaborate with other farmers, and they went up in their price too," said Gonazalo.

However, they say the online market has helped them reach customers they wouldn't normally see.

The Godinez' add that the short supply of products at the grocery store has also brought more people looking for fresh food at farmer's markets.

"A lot of people started flooding markets more once COVID hit, because a lot of grocery items were affected, so I will say that had a positive effect," said Kathryn.