Sunday, October 25, 2009

Virtual Farmers' Market

Name: Virtual Farmers’ Market

Location: Frederick County, Maryland

Years: 2009-present

Sponsored by: The Frederick County Office of Economic Development

Earlier this year, the Frederick County Office of Economic Development sponsored the creation of a new website, called the Frederick County Virtual Farmers’ Market. This virtual farmers’ market is a website that serves the same purpose as a conventional farmers’ market: encouraging people to buy produce and other food products from local farmers. However, this online market is much more diverse than a conventional farmers’ market might be: it offers all of the usual produce, including fruits and vegetables; organic goods; cheese and dairy products; beef, poultry, and fish; jams and jellies; sauces and honeys; wine; and other baked goods. However, the virtual farmers’ market does not stop here. Since everything is listed online, it has the capacity to offer much more diverse and numerous products. Therefore, it also offers new things that relate to horses (both riding and boarding), compost, rabbits and sheep, wool products, trees, herbal beauty products, hay, and grain. It provides contact info for each farm that is offering products for sale, so you can arrange to go pick up the products that you see listed online or schedule a delivery.

In an age where online shopping has become the craze thanks to its convenience and ease, I think it is a wonderful idea for the farmers’ market to take advantage of this technology. People are very quick to access Google when they need to find or purchase something, so by making the products of a farmers’ market available online, the result is that a higher percentage of people will be exposed to these products. This increases the chances that people will buy from local farms, since an online market makes it extremely easy and convenient to shop and purchase products. The idea of a virtual farmers’ market is not limited to Frederick County alone; there are lots of different ones popping up throughout the country. However, the Frederick County market is a great example, as it provides both wonderful aesthetics with an abundance of farms and suppliers.

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