Monday kickoff: A farmstand at your desktop

Are you someone who doesn't stop at farmstands, because you'll feel obligated to buy something, even if it's not what you want?  Or hasn't signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture program) because you're not sure you want a big box of vegetables every week?

Daniel Martin, of Martin's Farmstand on Needham Road in Potsdam wants to help. He's upgraded to business class internet, and set up a farmstand website: Martinsfarmstand.locallygrown.net.

And it's not only to help consumers, it's meant to assist farmers as well.

Photo courtesy Daniel and Mendy Martin

How it works

By noon on Mondays, farmers post what they're offering to sell, at what price.  Customers can place orders online Monday afternoon, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning.  Each grower gets an email from the website on Wednesday afternoon, and delivers it to Martin's by Thursday.  Buyers pick up their orders at the Needham Road farmstand between 3 and 7pm on Thursdays.

Martin expects to have vegetables, meat, maple syrup, soaps, even a CSA box on sale.  He's got 4 producers signed up so far, and says he's talking with a bunch more.

There's no minimum order.  The website is set up for retail and small scale wholesale.  Martin told me, "I don't care if you're buying for your root cellar, a 4th of July party, or for Nature's Storehouse."

Martin set up the website through the Locally Grown network, and it does the administrative work.  So, Martin didn't have to invent the wheel here; he's using a system that's been tested in other markets around the country.

Martin wants the idea to spread around the North Country, so perhaps there could be pick up sites in Canton, Gouverneur, Ogdensburg, and elsewhere, and the markets could work together to transport goods to people in he different communities.

Less waste for farmers

Martin says the weekly farmers market takes all day, and the grower is never sure exactly how much to bring with him.  With the website model, the produce is sold before the grower goes and picks it.  "Say I grow 100 pounds of beets, and I only sell 50 pounds.  Instead of bringing home 50 pounds of wilted beets (from the farm market), (with the website) I only harvest 50 pounds, and let the rest remain in the field until next week."

More knowledge for consumers

Martin says the website will also help customers keep track of what's in season.  Even if they don't order online, when they see strawberries for sale, they'll know it's time to get strawberries for the year.

Martin expects the website to be up and running in May.

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4 Comments

  1. Interesting business/marketing model, which solves some issues on the consumer end too. (For sure a whole box of CSA veggies every week can be too much, or contain unwanted items.)

    Hope it does well!

  2. There is also a Locally Grown network in Saranac Lake, http://mccollomsmarketsl.locallygrown.net/, that is several years old. The orders are taken monthly, rather than weekly, and there is a small fee to cover overhead. I've enjoyed using this group site as both a vendor and a customer.

  3. Daniel Martin is always willing to try something new, and if it works out for him, others will join in. This sounds like an excellent opportunity for growers and eaters, and to heck with WalMart.

  4. There's also two other great online markets in North Country Region. For Lake Placid area residents, check out the Tri-Lakes Market at http://trilakes.locallygrown.net with pick-up at Green Goddess. For Plattsburgh area residents, check out http://plattsburgh.locallygrown.net with pickup at Rehoboth Homestead in Peru or delivery in Plattsburgh.