Illinois food businesses respond to COVID-19

The Liefer family owns and operates Lieferbrau Brewery in Red Bud. Family members are providing curbside hours on weekends while Illinois bars and restaurants remain shuttered through March 30 to contain the coronavirus. (FarmWeek file photo)

Illinois Farm Bureau members with small, family businesses shared with FarmWeek how COVID-19 and subsequent mandated cautions are affecting their businesses.

“While this temporary closure impacts us, our employees and our community, we are hoping these measures will spare our community from this pandemic,” said Stephanie Liefer.

The Liefer family, including four siblings and spouses, own and operate Lieferbräu Brewery in Red Bud (Randolph County). The brewery offers German-style craft beer. While they do not serve food, patrons are welcome to bring in their own food or order from an area restaurant.

“We are taking measures to halt services that we can’t utilize during this time, so the rippling effect is staggering,” explained Liefer. “We are going to be providing some curbside hours on weekends for growler, crowler, merchandise and gift card sales. We were able to borrow a crowler machine from another brewery, which shows how people do come together to help each other out. We have always seen that in our farming community, and it extends into the brewery industry as well.”

Debra and Mike Hufendick opened Hufendick Farm Market in Plainfield (Will County) in July 2019. The Hufendick family farm is managed by their son, who raises beef, hogs, chicken and turkeys.

In response to the coronavirus, Debra noted that their meat prices will not increase. But the Hufendicks are erring on the side of caution to maintain their high standards for food safety and sanitation in their storefront.

Luckily, since the store does not include a dine-in area, it will remain open for business. But the Hufendick’s food truck will be unable to operate at this time, while this summer’s farmers’ markets are on hold.

“It’s all about our customers and that they’re safe and that we’re taking the precaution to ensure their safety,” explained Debra. “Our customers are the heart and soul of what we do. We’re overly grateful for the people who continue to come in and support our family farm.”