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Keep ME Open: Tiller & Rye keeping it local during the coronavirus pandemic

The Brewer grocery store is able to keep going during the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of Maine farmers.

BREWER, Maine — Sarah Morneault said being the owner of a small grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic, "has been an amazing experience."

Morneault is one of the owners at Tiller & Rye in Brewer.

She said it's been amazing because she's really seen the community rally around businesses like hers during this time.

"So many farms have come through and been able to keep us up on the products people otherwise are having a hard time finding," she said.

One of those farms is Misty Brook Organic Farm in Albion.

Owner, Katia Holmes told NEWS CENTER Maine she's been busier than ever.

"The demand for local products has been really high," Holmes said.

Holmes added this is because more people are paying attention to their health, and wanting to eat local meats and other products. And customers are coming directly to the farms.

"So they're looking to the local supply chains to try to find things that just aren't in the stores anymore," she said.

Tiller & Rye had to close its café due to COVID-19 restrictions but is using those employees to offer curbside and drive-thru services.

While things have changed, and there are many challenges that come with running a small grocery store at this time, the folks here are staying optimistic.

"And with such a small carbon footprint as well because these items aren't traveling from across the country, they're happening right here in our state," Morneault said.

She added the cafe is reopening this week and she hopes to be able to allow reusable bags back in her store soon.

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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