The new site connects customers with farmers and lets you shop direct online.
Going to the farmers market is part of the appeal of the farmers market—just being there is part of the fun. In fact, some farmers markets have become too trendy for their own good, attracting more street food vendors and small batch distillers than actual farmers. But at its core, the idea of a farmers market is straightforward: a chance to buy direct from farmers themselves—a feature that a newly launch service called WildKale says it can provide without you even going to a farmers market at all.
WildKale.com bills itself as "the first online farmers market where you can order your food directly from your local farmer, have it harvested/prepared on order and receive it the next business day." Launched last week for customers in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, think of the service as an Amazon.com for farmers markets in that it offers products from a variety of different sellers based on what those farms want to offer. From there, whatever you order is shipped directly to you from the farm. WildKale takes its cut (25 percent) for providing the interface, subsidizing the shipping costs and handling the credit card fees.
"We wanted to make sure the farmer gets paid the full retail price—the price they'd get at the farmers market—without having to spend that time away from the farm, hire someone to man their booth at the farmers market, or worry about transportation costs and waste," founder Ana Jakimovska, who's met a lot of farmers running her Kaffe 1668 restaurant mini-chain in Manhattan, told Modern Farmer.
To use the platform, customers start by entering their zip code to make sure their area is serviced (about a 300-mile radius from the farms). Once you see what's available, you pick a farm and start shopping. The service is free; however, orders must meet a $30 minimum. After checkout, everything arrives next day via UPS for a $5.99 flat shipping charge.
Though the service is currently only available in four states, Jakimovska said she hopes to eventually take it nationwide. Since she simply provides the platform, she says the model is completely scalable. "It's just a matter of getting the customers, and signing up more farmers all around the U.S.," she explained.