The benefits of visiting a local farmers market are many — customers can enjoy fresh produce and baked goods, while supporting small businesses.
Now, a new online farmers market — Market Wagon — is harnessing technology and marketing to widen the number of local vendors from which one can order, while extending the reach of food producers in much of Maryland and the District.
Starting Tuesday, Market Wagon’s hub will enable deliveries to Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Harford and Howard counties, as well as the cities of Baltimore and D.C.
Consumers can go online to the Market Wagon site, and place an order from multiple vendors with a single checkout.
“They can buy blueberries, corn, chicken and milk from four different producers, and it will be brought to their doors,” said Dan Klein, community relations manager for Market Wagon.
Orders are delivered every Tuesday afternoon in insulated cloth bags and ice packs that can both be reused.
In addition to benefiting consumers, the partnership allows markets to sell more of their products than during typical weekend events.
“A lot of these are one-man or one-woman operations,” said Klein. “Rather than going to a physical farmers market, where they sit for hours, and may or may not sell a lot, this provides them the chance to get their products to a much wider range of audience.”
Fresh food is gathered at a central hub where products are bagged and readied for their Tuesday delivery.
“Most vendors will bring their specific orders to the hub on the morning of delivery,” said Klein.
Market Wagon was founded in 2016 by farmer and tech entrepreneur Nick Carter and logistics expert Dan Brunner. It’s now available in 35 markets.
“Our vendors in the Maryland market will be able to thrive by being able to get their products to more customers than they could ever do by themselves, without having to advertise across all those counties, as well as deliver or ship to all those customers individually, which is very expensive,” Klein said.
Customers who shop at farmers markets often want more information about the produce they’re considering.
“There’s a platform for customers to ask questions of each of these vendors, so you can have that same interaction you’d have in a physical farmers market,” Klein said.