Business / Economy

Serving soup to San Benito seniors

Farmhouse Cafe owner and high school culinary teacher team up to feed those in need.
Mike Fisher and Becky Herbert come together Tuesday evenings to cook up to 300 servings of soup.
Mike Fisher and Becky Herbert come together Tuesday evenings to cook up to 300 servings of soup.
Luz Lopez pours soup into individual containers.
Luz Lopez pours soup into individual containers.
Mike Fisher delivers soup to the Community FoodBank of San Benito County.
Mike Fisher delivers soup to the Community FoodBank of San Benito County.

Just because Becky Herbert had to close the doors to Farmhouse Café in response to the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t mean she’s stopped feeding people.

In addition to running a community supported agriculture (CSA) subscription-based food service called Eat with the Seasons, Herbert teamed up with Mike Fisher, the culinary teacher at San Benito High School who previously owned Fisher’s Delicatessen and Catering Service, to make fresh soup for the Community FoodBank.

Herbert said the idea for soup came about when her customers began asking if they could donate to the food bank through the CSA program. She said there has been a surge in demand for fresh produce, but without the infrastructure to meet demand, she decided soup was the next best alternative.

“We decided to ask them if they would just help us buy the ingredients and containers,” Herbert said. “Everybody’s in a giving mood, so, instead of just delivering fresh produce, I connected with Maria Lynn Thomas at the food bank and asked if I could deliver soup. She said that would be good for their senior citizens that they deliver to.”

When BenitoLink spoke to Herbert and Fisher on March 30, they were preparing their second batch of vegetable soup. Using money from a GoFundMe account, Herbert buys vegetables and containers to make around 300 servings of soup every Tuesday night. She said $5,000 was donated within four hours of starting the “souper-hero” page.

“We’re at about $10,000 now, so we’re just going to expand the program,” Herbert said. “This is my dream come true. It’s what I’ve been wanting to do for years. So far, we’ve raised enough money to go through the middle of May. We’ll just keep doing this as long as the money lasts.”

She added, “Rather than just selling food, I’d rather make nutritious food for people who need it and can’t cook for themselves.”

Fisher joins Herbert in the evenings at Farmhouse Cafe on San Benito Street after he finishes his remote instructing job at San Benito High School. In addition to what is delivered to the food bank, Fisher said he and Herbert are attempting to find other organizations to deliver soup to in five-gallon containers.

“Maybe they can distribute it as they see fit,” Fisher said. “We hope to make the soup every Tuesday.”


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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]