Garden enthusiasts — both veterans and novices — are growing online sales for Klein’s Farm and Market in Kane County.
COVID-19 restrictions spurred Matt Klein and his family to launch an online store with PrairieBounty, Klein told FarmWeek. Since April 15 when their two Elgin retail locations opened for curbside business and online sales, the Kane County Farm Bureau members have recorded brisk plant sales for vegetable and flower gardens.
“It’s been a surprise; we’ve been busy. Some are new gardeners, and some are repeat customers,” Klein said.
On the family farm near Burlington, Klein, his wife, Chris, and their sons raise vegetable and flower plants for retail. They also grow a wide variety of seasonal produce from tomatoes and sweet corn to squash and pumpkins. Visit their website and Klein’s Farm and Garden Market on Facebook.
On May 1, the two retail stores opened for customer traffic. Klein has noticed online plant sales are continuing, but slowing slightly, “because gardeners want to see their plants,” he explained. Store employees and customers are wearing masks, social distancing and using best safety practices, he added.
Klein speculated several factors are causing more interest in gardening. Obviously, sheltering at home and some consumers’ desire to grow their own food have contributed. He noted this year’s weather also played a role. “With a better spring this year, it’s been more conducive to planting,” he said.
Recently, the Kleins started harvesting asparagus to be followed by different varieties of lettuce, radishes and broccoli. From June to mid-July, they’ll harvest sweet corn, tomatoes and peppers followed by later season crops.
For the Klein family and their customers, the availability of plants that are now in demand proved providential. “We planted these before this (pandemic) occurred,” Klein said. “We’re glad we’re able to get the products to consumers so they can grow their own (produce) and to the new gardeners.”
Klein Farm and Market has seen support grow for local food. Klein attributed some of consumers’ interest to more awareness of where their food comes from, while others want to back local farmers. “They want to support local businesses to keep us around,” he added.
As for a long-term trend, Klein wasn’t sure, but thought increased interest may grow his customer base. “If nothing else, someone, who’s never tried us before, may drive by our place and get a taste.”