I mentioned it in my end-of-year post, but one thing I’m loving lately is MarketWagon.com (formerly FarmersMarket.com). I wanted to do a bit more in-depth review/description than just the blurb from the last post. We typically sign up for a CSA for the growing season (typically May – October around here), but we haven’t found one with a pick-up close enough to use for the winter and early spring months. Until we get better at three-four season gardening, we need another source for local veggies December – April.
I first heard about MarketWagon.com through Claire, a farmer friend, but, at the time she told me about it, there weren’t any pick-ups convenient to our house. I checked it out again this past fall, and they had a few closer drop-off locations. I tested it out sometime in November and loooved everything about it: only local farmers and artisans, super user-friendly website and app, the pick-up couldn’t be simpler, affordable prices, and their selection is great for someone eating seasonally.
Basically, MarketWagon.com has provided the technological infrastructure to serve as an online farmers market to connect local farmers with consumers. When I first ordered, I stuck with the farmers who I already knew (Claire’s farm, Bent Arrow Acres, and The Farming Engineers), but I have since branched out. Once you’ve ordered, they send out emails once a week introducing you to the various farmers and artisans they work with, so it is an easy way to connect with the people behind the food.
I have been surprised by Farmer’s Market. I never would have imagined the success we have had through the site. It has given us exposure to new audiences and customers we normally may have never met. I have really enjoyed connecting with people through social media because of that initial exposure on MarketWagon.com.It is also fun to be at the drop off hub on Thursday mornings. Other farmer’s are there and we all bustle around filling the shopping bags, but get to laugh and talk with each other. It’s a very inspiring group of people doing neat things in Indiana.
I think eating locally and seasonally is certainly worth the extra effort, but I can’t always convince other busy people of the same. But services like MarketWagon.com that are using technology creatively to better connect consumers to local farmers and make it as simple as possible are making it really simple to eat better, support local families, and build better communities (This is not an exaggeration. Stronger local food economies make for better, more vibrant, and more sustainable communities). Simultaneously, I get to do lots of my grocery shopping via my phone or computer, swing by my designated drop-off place on my way home from work, and pick-up a pre-sorted bag of locally-made goodies. That is a win many, many times over if you ask me.
We still plan to sign up for a CSA this spring, but I’ll use MarketWagon.com throughout the year to supplement our own garden and our CSA. I’m excited to see their selection explode during the official growing season. I dare you to try them out and not only enjoy some delicious food, but feel good about how you’re spending your food budget!