New Virtual Farmers Market Lets You Order Local Goods Online

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May. 24 2019, Updated 12:16 a.m. ET

In communities both big and small, farmers markets provide an easy way to purchase fresh and local goods from the farmers themselves. However, the biggest drawback is the limited window of opportunity to get to the farmer's market, which often take place during limited time frames, like a few hours on the weekend or one evening during the work week. This means that farmer's market aren't always accessible, which pushes people to do their shopping at supermarkets instead. Luckily, a coffee shop owner invented a unique way to make shopping at the farmers markets a much easier experience: She's putting the market online. 

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Ana Jakimovska launched a website called WildKale, labeling itself as the “Online Farmers Market.” How does it work? The process is incredibly simple. To begin, you simply enter your zip code. Then, consumers can view local farmers that are selling and delivering to their area. Once you place your order, your items can be delivered as quickly as the very next day.

Sorting through your options is also simple and user-friendly. As expected, items are separated into appropriate food groups for individual choices, or you can order full meals, coffee, and pantry items. There's even a section for homemade gifts! Provided you place your order by 2:00 PM local time, your products should arrive the next day. As of right now, there is one catch: only a handful of states are participating. Right now, there are about 30 farmers, and they ship to the following states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

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“It’s a direct connection to each farmer with no middle man,” Jakimovska tells Fast Company. “That means the food is going to be better, it’s going to be fresher, and we wanted to give that opportunity to everyone–all the families who want to eat better and farmers to increase their business.” Jakimovska herself co-owns a cafe in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City.

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How can the turnaround be so fast after ordering? WildKale gives farmers special mailing containers through UPS, and the parcel delivery service guarantees next-day shipments within 300 miles. Since everything is distributed locally -- just like a typical farmers market -- the process is quick and doesn’t have the overhead costs that supermarkets deal with.

According to the website, minimums required are at least $30 worth of items and there’s a $5.99 shipping fee. Orders can be cancelled up until a farmer confirms the transaction. Once that happens, for an order to be returned, it must be initiated within 48 hours after delivery. All farmers can be contacted at any time on their respective pages with WildKale, and anybody that’s either interested in selling on the platform or would like to recommend a farmer can do so.

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Farmers that participate in the program will give 25 percent commission to the company. That covers all containers, shipping, and payment processing expenses. In turn, WildKale makes anywhere from five to seven percent on each transaction. Farmers have to deal with that on a regular basis at farmers markets, but this provides a quick and easy way not to worry about it. Even better, shipping labels are generated automatically and packages don’t have to be dropped off -- a UPS truck will stop by to pick up the package from the farmer.

For those that can’t make it to the farmers markets as often as they’d like, WildKale presents a great alternative. While it’s available in limited locations for now, they hope to expand rapidly in the near future.

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