Like many other Black owned businesses that have taken a hit in the past few months, Herban Farm is navigating how to survive and still serve the community.
We spoke with owner and operator, Ras Peynado to see how things are going.
What inspired you to start a farm?
I was inspired by the story my mother told me about her and my father’s dream to own/operate an urban farm in Seattle, Wa. My parents never were able to realize this dream since father died in Jamaica, a poor rastaman.
I later took part of his humble lifestyle (farming) and turned it into a profitable lifestyle. I’m also inspired by my own passion for growing medical marijuana.
How has the Coronavirus outbreak affected your business?
GREATLY! The Coronavirus completely devastated my business sales. I operate at Pike Place Market 4-7 days a week year-round depending on the season with a small sales agent team.
We primarily depend on tourism. Tourists that come into the city and even more on cruise ship tourism from April-October. Tourism accounts for 85%-90% of my sales and since March have not been able to set up at market due to the statewide lockdown in Washington.
How has it affected your lifestyle?
It’s been hard however I have been able to keep busy living on my urban farm. Spring is always a busy time of year with the start of the farm season also a very expensive time of year.
I am continually investing in infrastructure, supplies, kitchen and farm expenses. It’s really hard to continue to do that without cash flow or capital during these times.
I keep a good spirit and stay to my work. I’m not the only one experiencing this. I miss being at my market surrounded by a community of over 100 farmers and 300 craftspeople.
View this post on Instagram
When life gives you lemons.. 🍋🍋 (You know the rest) 🥤😏 ☀️ Covid 19 may have shut down the country and forced me to rethink some of my farm plans this year but I look forward to the changes and challenges that face us! With no farmers markets/plant sales open to the public I am looking at selling some of my pepper/herb starts online this month!! Stay Tapped In & Stay Healthy 🧼 💪🏽 🌱🌱🌱 Available Plants 🌱🌱🌱 Yellow Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Red Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Orange Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Chocolate Scotch Bonnet Caramel Scotch Bonnet Peruvian White Habanero Orange Habanero Lemon Habanero Chocolate Habanero Black Panther Scorpion Reaper White Ghost Pepper Yellow Ghost Pepper Carolina Reaper Rude Boi Hot Pepper Sweet Basil Italian Oregano Winter Thyme Calendula Chamomile
What new strategies have you implemented or do you plan to implement in your business?
Working with local partners like Savor Seattle and the Atrium Kitchen At Pike Place to come up with creative ways to reach the locals. I create seasonings, sauces, vinegars and other infusions like my Hot Honey Sauce.
All new fresh flavors to use in the kitchen! This is the time when people are spending more time in the kitchen and needing to stay satisfied avoiding the same old stale flavors from the grocery store.
My partners have been able to gather other fresh local producers to create weekly boxes/bags that can be curbside picked up or delivered throughout the city services hundreds of customers so far.
If you had one ask of your community right now, what would it be?
To be patient with each other, to protect each other, to love each other and to support each other.
-Tony O. Lawson
Related: Black Owned Farms & Food Gardens