Online Farmers Markets Have Become Increasingly Popular Due to the Pandemic
As Americans spaced their grocery shopping trips out further and further, or looked to delivery services to avoid stores entirely, farmers markets found themselves at the center of the coronavirus-closures fray. Despite the outdoor spread being a significantly less risk than indoor, supermarkets remained open while many farmers markets shut down. But one type of farmers market hasn’t faced the same sort of issues: the online farmers market.
In April, we looked at what shopping at the farmers market meant right now, what getting a CSA meant, and how we should all be getting our food. But the online farmers market has arisen as a sort of in-between option. The tiny existing niche connecting farmers to shoppers blossomed under the pandemic restrictions, reports Inhabitat. Like community supported agriculture, the online farmers market allows customers to connect directly to the farmers, but unlike subscription boxes, you retain the choice and variety of a traditional farmers market shop.
Companies already doing this, says Inhabitat, have seen huge growth — both from vendors needing to unload the product not getting bought by restaurants or at markets, and from customers looking to get farm-fresh ingredients. Around the country, companies like Our Harvest in New York and older online farmers markets like the Champaign County, Ohio virtual farmers market found sudden interest in their unique format.
Meanwhile, other entities scrambled to create the same sort of arrangements in order to help keep their vendors selling product and their customers buying the kind of direct, farm-fresh ingredients they prefer. In Seattle, Colorado, and New Orleans, local farmers markets created their own simplified version of an online farmers market, allowing customers to order ahead and then sweep through their newly set up drive-through market to grab their purchases.
Have you tried using an online farmers market this year? Let us know what you thought about it in the comments!