The experiment is paying off

When F&F members considered opening an online market last summer, there was a big checkmark in the “pros” column next to “learn how to source local food and distribute it”. The board had heard a lot of warnings from national co-op leaders that co-ops can’t source more than a small percentage of local food without losing a lot of money – and that’s bad news for a co-op. But sourcing locally was always central to F&F mission, so giving up on that wasn’t an option.

The online market is giving the co-op a chance to develop real relationships with producers (we wrote checks totalling $487 to producers during our first week), but it’s also giving  consumers a distinctly different shopping experience.

There are a lot of differences when shopping on the online market as opposed to a farmers market. For starters, it’s easier to plan a week’s menu while I’m shopping, making sure that I’m using what I already have with what’s available to buy. I can weigh who’s in and who’s out of the house on different nights and how much time we have for preparations. (Eden View offered stuffed pitas and other prepared foods this week – and that fits a busy holiday season quite well!) It also seems easier to fit these local offerings into my grocery budget. This week, I made a sweep through all the offerings, throwing everything I wanted in my “cart” and then went back and thinned it down to what I could afford. (I couldn’t give up the Red Kuri squash, so I had to put the turnips back.) The carrots, parsnips and sweet potatoes I already have will go well with the beets and celeriac I ordered for an amazing root roast planned for Wednesday night. Yay!

If you haven’t ordered yet, you can do so until noon tomorrow, Monday, December 8th.

Elizabeth Crisfield

(I’m a former F&F Board Member and a scientist, so naturally I’m loving watching this experiment unfold.)

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