1. I would like to be a customer! What should I do?
Anyone interested in becoming a customer should go to the REGISTER page to create a customer account.
If you are a Friends & Farmers Co-op owner-member, select the option “Friends & Farmers Member-Shopper” when you sign up.
Use the ‘General Shopper’ option if you are not a co-op member.
After registering as a shopper, be sure to explore the other pages of the online market website for complete details. When the site goes live for customers at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28, you can begin to shop!
2. Why did you choose Good Shepherd Church in Gray’s Woods as the pick-up location?
We looked into approximately 20 sites around State College, considering costs, availability, space, and facilities. Good Shepherd was the best fit—they have a brand new certified kitchen, plenty of space for packing orders, and were the only location with access to the needed freezers and refrigerators for storing temperature-sensitive items.
This location is only about 10 minutes from downtown State College and is easily accessible from the Gray’s Woods I-99 exit.
We know that any one location will not work for everyone, and we are actively looking into additional pick-up sites in other parts of State College, as well as a possible delivery option.
3. I’m interested in using the online market, but I’m not sure how much I’ll spend or how often I’ll order. Is that okay?
Yes! That’s fine—but there are a few additional details: First, there is a minimum total order requirement of $10. The minimum order will help us cover our operating costs (credit card transaction fees, rent, insurance, etc). And we want to be sure that the producers who have signed up are receiving enough business to justify their participation.
Also, we are looking at the first weeks of the online market as a ‘trial phase’ since this is all new—both to us and to producers. We appreciate the first customers understanding that there may be some challenges in the beginning. With your patience, suggestions, and feedback, we hope to refine and reassess operational details as needed to sustain a successful launch and a successful new option to purchase local food in State College.
4. I have a winter CSA. Will you only sell the same items I get through my CSA?
While we will have some of the same items that area CSAs offer during the winter (root vegetables, leafy greens, and eggs, for example), there will also be many more items available through the online market.
We will also have fruit, meat, salmon, dairy products, eggs, bread, pasta, and prepared foods like sauces and soup.
Check out the Online Market website for current producers and products, and check back often; as we grow we will be adding new producers and products!
5. How does the Online Market fit into Friends & Farmers’ plans for a physical retail store?
Friends & Farmers is committed to opening a brick and mortar food cooperative that promotes and supports local producers, educates, and brings the community together. In order to raise the capital for a store that has the size and amenities required for our vision, we must meet our membership goals. Member recruitment and outreach activities are a priority—until we have enough co-op owner-members we will not be able to secure a site for an actual store.
Based on our research and communication with other start-up co-ops, establishing an online market appears to be a good intermediary step while we continue to grow our membership. The online market provides a tangible benefit to members—another way to access local food products while complementing the other options that exist, and offering items to members at lower prices than non-members. The online market allows us to start forming a working relationship with the producers who will be supplying the co-op, and increases their market access and sales ahead of the opening of the physical store.
For additional questions, contact us at email@example.com!