When Finest Foods owner Don DeLillo started growing microgreens, sprouts and wheatgrass at a Huntington farm in 2016, he did so with a mission to help Long Islanders eat healthy while sustaining the practice of locally grown food. While eating healthy has always been an important part of people’s lives, he said, it is even more so the case during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’re hearing a lot of things on the news,” DeLillo, 27, said, “but one thing that we’re not hearing is the aspect of nutrition and healthy food in our bodies. That is really our best way to be resilient against something like a virus or a pathogen.”
Luckily, DeLillo said not much has changed about his business since the pandemic struck. The sanitary conditions of the farm were already near perfect, he said, with the only new addition being that employees must now wear masks on premises. He said he is still working with the Rising Tides market in Glen Cove and the Sea Cliff Market, both of which he has serviced for the last two years.
Amy Peters, organizer and manager of the Sea Cliff Market, said it is easy to trust the cleanliness and reliability of DeLillo’s food. This is especially important now, she said, his foods could play a good role in helping people stay healthy during the pandemic.
“Having a healthy lifestyle and having a healthy diet is certainly going to go a long way in keeping your immune system operating on a high level,” Peters said.
Finest Foods also continues to offer free delivery to households who order at least $20 of products per week, DeLillo said. Employee Dana Mansbart takes care of most of those deliveries, and while she said not much has changed other than her needing to wear a mask during deliveries, she said customers are always happy to see her.
“People are also a little extra excited to see me because they don’t get a lot of human interaction, which is nice,” Mansbart, 23, said. “I’m very grateful that everyone is still ordering and that they’re ordering great foods that will help them take care of themselves.”
This direct producer to consumer relationship is a strong indicator of quality, Peters said. She said food can often go through many steps as it goes from producers to distributers, trucks, warehouses and shelves. By giving consumers products directly from his farm, whether it be through delivery or a farmers market, she said DeLillo ensures that his food is of the highest possible quality.
“That creates a higher level of safety in this day and age of Covid,” Peters said, “but also just in general freshness.”
DeLillo said he has always been motivated to help customers develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle using his products, and the pandemic has only exacerbated that passion.