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Dill delighted by demand for local produce

Customers gave Dill Pickle Farming a warm welcome when the stand returned to its regular business sites last week.

“The reopening of the markets again has been amazing,” said JaVaughn Dill.

“Any farmer that reopened their roadside markets, like myself, could see how we were missed. People were filled with joy to see my markets back open.”

He said the crisis had shown how critical local farmers are to Bermuda's survival.

“Yes, we can import produce, but what happens if the ships don't come in for at least two weeks?” he said.

“I believe the Government needs to rethink their support and budget and create a decent storage facility for local farming and farmers. This should include fishermen as well.”

Since the lockdown went into place last month, demand for his fruits and vegetables has shot through the roof.

Before the Covid-19 crisis, he sold about 100lbs of broccoli a week. During the pandemic that increased to 200 to 300lbs.

“That's just the broccoli,” he said. “That's more than double my usual amount.”

Mr Dill attributes the greater demand to the closure of farmers' markets during lockdown and a lack of fresh produce available in some grocery stores.

“Every morning, afternoon and evening we get calls from people asking for vegetables,” he said.

“It never stops. It's crazy. It is very stressful and tiring operating during this crisis. Lately, I have been going around the clock. We farmers are trying to do the best we can.”

Mr Dill has been using the Sargasso Sea app to sell and deliver his carrots, zucchini, cantaloupe and many other fruits and vegetables. Switching to an online ordering and pre-ordering mode has had its challenges.

“Now you have to package stuff, arrange pick-up and make sure people are getting the freshest of product,” he said.

Some of the produce he grows himself, some he sources from overseas and some he buys from other farmers.

There has also been a surge of interest in buying seedlings.

“I sell tomato, onion, all types of greens, watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydew, and different herbs as seedlings,” he said.

“There is an increase in people who want to start their home gardens. I have a list of people waiting for my help in doing that after the lockdown.”

However, Mr Dill has also experienced the dark side of the crisis. Thieves raided one of the gardens he maintains on King Street, even though he often gives away vegetables as donations.

“I knew that would happen sooner or later,” he said. “With the recent situation, people have become more desperate. People have been asking more for donations of vegetables.”

Mr Dill started Dill Pickle Farming five years ago. Since then he has been gaining a reputation not only for growing and selling vegetables and fruits, but also for helping others to set up and maintain their gardens.

With the reopening of farmers' markets, Mr Dill is available on Wednesdays from 9am to 2pm on Victoria Street across from People's Pharmacy.

On Thursdays, he will be in Devonshire outside the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute from 10am to 2pm. His products will also be available on the Sargasso app from 10.30am to 5pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and between 8am and 2pm on Saturdays.

For more information on Dill Pickle Farming call 536-6161 or e-mail javaughndill.1@gmail.com. Follow Dill Pickle Farming on Instagram and Facebook

In demand: JaVaughn Dill, of Dill Pickle Farming (Photograph supplied)

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Published May 01, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated May 01, 2020 at 8:26 am)

Dill delighted by demand for local produce

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