As It Happens

P.E.I. farmer keeps social distance by hurling pork products to hungry customers

A Prince Edward Island pig farmer is literally throwing bacon and sausages at his customers through their car windows in order to maintain social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic — and people keep coming back for more.

‘When you start throwing roasts and pork chops through car windows, your aim gets better and better’

P.E.I. pork and dairy farmer Ranald MacFarlane holds up some vacuum-sealed frozen sausages, which he's been selling at a distance to drive-through customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Ranald MacFarlane)
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A Prince Edward Island pig and dairy farmer is literally throwing bacon and sausages at his customers through their car windows in order to maintain social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic — and people keep coming back for more.

Ranald MacFarlane told As it Happens host Carol Off that the vacuum-sealed pork products are "remarkably easy to throw." However, some people are a little apprehensive to have flying frozen hams tossed at them when their "vehicle is new."

"When you start throwing roasts and pork chops through car windows, your aim gets better and better," MacFarlane said. 

"But some people just don't trust me. They get out of the car and we have a chit-chat — from over [four metres away] — and I just throw the stuff and they catch it."

MacFarlane made headlines in the fall of 2018 after calling then federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay an "arsehole" over the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

He later apologized for the outburst by writing a letter to the editor in The Guardian newspaper, saying that "name calling won't get us anywhere."

'Literally back-door sales'

MacFarlane says his "literally back-door sales" started out of necessity after the local farmers' market was shut down when a provincewide public health emergency was declared last Monday.

A third case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in P.E.I., chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in a news briefing Sunday evening. 

MacFarlane says he's taking precautions to do his sales safely. 

"We have a lovely back porch that we put on the house and there's an upright freezer there and the product is there, and the people phone ahead," he said. 

Customers drive up to the freezer and place money on a clip attached to it, or they pay via e-transfer. MacFarlane then plays pork toss with them, air-delivering the product from a few metres away, he said. 

"I would [hope] the chance of transmitting coronavirus in the cold air with money clipped to the fridge is low."

He added that sometimes when people pay with cash, they will "stuff it in a roll of toilet paper and chuck it" to him.

Other than those arriving for drive-through meat, MacFarlane said the only other people he has interacted with are his "neighbours across the way" through a mailbox exchange. 

"They'll leave stuff in my mailbox for me, like some quarantine cookies, and I left them some bacon in theirs. I can see them from [60 metres] away when I walk down the road, but that's as close as I'm going to get."

MacFarlane says the key to keeping sane while in self-isolation is to "just be yourself." 

"I am every bit myself as I always was and self-isolation for me has never been a problem. People aren't really that fond of me," he said.

"[And] if people persist in coming around, shower less."


Written by Adam Jacobson. Interview produced by Jeanne Armstrong. 

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