Find out how a digital farmers market works and whether there’s one close to you…
Anyone who follows this blog knows that I’m crazy about farmers markets. So my interest was piqued this week when online business publication WestfairOnline announced that the Pleasantville Farmers Market would become a digital farmers market, the first in Westchester County, New York to offer online ordering and home delivery.
Pleasantville is the town next to mine so my interest in the article was personal. Before Chappaqua had it’s own Farmers Market, I would visit the one in Pleasantville just a couple of miles away. The largest in the county, the highly successful market has been in operation for 17 seasons.
Each Saturday morning, farmers set up their tables on a long strip of land in the parking lot beside the train station. It’s always best to come early before the crowds because although there are many vendors, there are also many shoppers and long lines. On opening day this year, May 24th, 3500 shoppers came “foraging” for fresh produce and other local and/or homemade products.
How does a digital farmers market work? An ecommerce company named FreshNation.com will be sending professional shoppers to the local market (chefs, culinary students, and caterers) and for a flat-fee of $5.99 per order, customers in the delivery zone (10-15 miles from the market) can pre-order goods online and receive the bounty delivered to their front door.
If you’re crowd-avoidant, this can be a lifesaver. People who can’t make it to the market because they’re housebound, sick or too busy also will appreciate it.
“It really wasn’t the case that we were cannibalizing the farmers market, we were expanding their customer base,” says Lee in an interview with WestfairOnline. “As many as 90 percent of buyers on the platform are not regular market-goers.”
Of course, regular customers will miss speaking to the farmers and artisans, and mingling with their neighbors, but maybe these professional shoppers will be better than me in picking out the freshest greens and ripest tomatoes.
You can visit the FreshNation.com to see how it works and to find out if the digital farmers market is available in your area. The site has a nice simple interface with pictures. Worth a try?
Market posts previously on More Time To Travel: