Much of the allure of farmers’ markets
is the ability to shop for locally grown food from multiple vendors at once. But as last Thursday’s Cassandra Daily
reported, farmers are seeking new ways to reach diverse consumer groups without having to set up shop weekly. Among the new technologies they’re implementing are digital marketplaces that marry the ease of online shopping with the feel-good factor of locavorism.
With demand for locally grown food
eliminates the need for middlemen by connecting buyers directly with farmers. The wholesale management tool and online marketplace allows store owners, chefs and schools to find farms within 300 miles of their location, view available produce, and order items from multiple vendors at once. Twenty farms and 100 wholesalers already use the site regularly, contributing to the startup’s goal of stimulating small farms’ business while promoting sustainability in restaurants and at retail. Although buyers are responsible for paying shipping costs when pickup isn’t a viable option, the site highlights delivery service suggestions to make transfers seamless.
San Francisco-based startup Good Eggs
is an e-commerce site
that aims to build human connections by linking consumers with nearby farms and artisanal food companies. The site currently promotes 40 businesses in five Bay Area neighborhoods, each with its own “web stand” that describes the company and available products. CEO Rob Spiro sees the food industry becoming “[decentralized] where you have a lot of small producers selling direct to niche audiences,” thus creating the need for a consolidated and easily accessible marketplace. Good Eggs eventually hopes to support tens of thousands of food vendors nationwide, and to better integrate technology within the locavore system
Mint Market: Mint Market
is a new startup that supplies North Carolina-based chefs and restaurant owners with a centralized source for discovering, purchasing and scheduling delivery of wholesale food directly from nearby farms. The company was in beta for just four months
before quickly establishing a dozen subscribers and realizing the high demand for its service. With access to advanced software typically limited to industrial food manufacturers, farmers can build a dedicated network of buyers by more effectively promoting and distributing their products. Mint Market keeps to typical farmers’ market schedules with inventories updated by Saturday and orders placed Sunday; crops are then harvested on Monday and delivered by Tuesday.