Local Farmers Thank Area Healthcare Workers

The locally grown produce is delivered to St. Mary's.

Local farmers expressed their deep gratitude Friday, April 17 to the dedicated men and women on the front lines caring for patients during the COVID-19 crisis and are showing their support by donating locally grown products.

Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) farmers, who farm in western Palm Beach County, are donating fresh produce, fruit and staple foods to 700 day- and night-shift healthcare workers at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach. Healthcare workers began picking up their gift bags containing locally grown organic sugar, rice, green beans, sweet corn, lettuce, spring mix, celery, cabbage, radishes and blueberries at 10 a.m. and continued to do so through the night.

“We are truly grateful for the important work everyone at St. Mary’s, and healthcare workers all around the country, are performing during this crisis,” said Caroline Villanueva, South Florida External and Community Affairs Manager at Florida Crystals Corporation, which donated locally grown rice and organic sugar. “The hospital staff spends all day taking care of the needs of others, so as a farming community, we wanted to do something special to say, ‘Thank you,’ and take care of them in return.”

In coordination with hospital administration, the fresh produce, fruit, rice and organic sugar were donated from Florida Crystals, Hundley Farms, TKM Bengard, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, R.C. Hatton, H&A Farms, Grower’s Management and Fresh Attitude.

“We are thankful for the sacrifices made by dedicated healthcare workers during this unprecedented crisis. We know how difficult it is for anyone to get to a grocery store, much less those who are working all day on the front lines. We are happy to provide staff with vital, homegrown foods they need and can take home and share with their families,” said Eric Hopkins of Hundley Farms.

EAA Farmers Inc. is a grassroots organization that is made up of a coalition of farmers in South Florida’s Everglades Agricultural Area, one of the nation’s most important farming basins. EAA Farmers grow a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains and sugarcane. The EAA is the nation’s largest supplier of winter vegetables, including sweet corn, radishes, green beans, lettuce and other leafy greens. The EAA is also the only producer of rice in Florida and the nation’s top producer of sugarcane. EAA Farmers advocates for the protection of local farmland and on behalf of issues critical to the future of farming in the EAA.