Our COVID-19 Journey: Part 2

Newport, Vermont – May 8, 2020: A view from the trenches of rural small business survivalism

Every day I’m mentally running to catch up. The business plan revisions in my head are only as good as the 24 hour news cycle during which they were concocted. In early April it felt like shut down for a few weeks and then everything will be back to normal. Now it seems that normal could be years away, or not. I feel enormous pressure to make sure we can survive until June, but then I also need to think about getting through the end of 2020, and also to do that in a way that would enable us to survive for the long term. And I don’t want Eden to just survive, I want Eden to thrive for the good of our people, for the good of the small local orchards we support, for the survival of the heirloom apple varieties we use. The conversations I’m having with our orchard partners are particularly heartbreaking. If restaurants and distribution sales don’t come back, we’ll end this year with enough cider to sell next year, and that means not buying apples from these partners who are making decisions right now about the labor and supplies they will spend to support their 2020 crop.

Words I?m getting really tired of include pivot, virtual and zoom. But I think they are definitely here to stay. Try our new Tasting Kit and sign up for a virtual guided tasting with me! There are 9 dates in May, or you can get a group of at least 6 together and I?ll do a private tasting for you all on Zoom of course. I’m not really being sarcastic. These are very therapeutic- it’s really nice to see people and get to share our ciders with them. It’s one of the old normal activities I miss the most.

Cash is king, queen, jack. Must only spend it on what’s absolutely necessary to enable us to keep operating next week, next month. I owe suppliers, utilities, services, my accountant even. I never imagined myself a deadbeat. It’s super painful.

The cider is still AMAZING. The beautiful thing is that properly aging good cider made from the right apples means it tastes even better. We won’t have to pour stuff down the drain like the desperate dairy farmers around us are doing with their milk (so hard to see.) We have batches of absolutely gorgeous stuff in barrels and tanks which we will blend for more of our limited quantity Cellar Series releases. I am grateful for Garrett’s talent and hard work in the cellar, for the other 3 team members still with us who are doing whatever needs to be done, for all of the customers who have supported us with generous orders, and for the fact that my loved ones are safe and well.

I hope yours are too.


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