Farmers’ market goes digital

B y Jaime Thomas

The age-old farmers’ market has taken to the Internet. Larson Farm in Wells, Vt., has recently started a virtual farmers market. Co-owner Rich Larson thinks the business revolutionizes the local food system.

“It’s like going to a local farmers’ market, but you go online. There are farms with beef, cheese and eggs, and you can do it any time of the day or week,” Larson said.

Shopping at the virtual farmers market is as easy as visiting a website, ordering various food and plants and paying online through PayPal. Customers can then stop in on Wednesday afternoons to pick up their orders, which are boxed and ready-to-go.

Ellen Malona, who co-owns Second Nature Herb Farm and Horticultural Services in Wells with her partner Richard Strange, loves this concept.


“I think it’s a great idea to offer things from several different farms in one place, and it’s easy for people to pay with a credit card,” Malona said.

At their farm, Malona and Strange grow culinary and medicinal plants, which Malona describes as a niche offering. Though they have not yet sold anything through the virtual market, Malona thinks that putting her products online allows a wider range of people to find them.

Larson said it has been hard to get things off the ground since operation of the online market began in August. He and his wife Cynthia, who have been running their farm for 35 years, were inspired to start the virtual market after seeing the idea work very successfully in Northern Vermont. His wife then spent a lot of time setting things up with the local farm board.

The virtual farmers market in Wells now offers products from several area farms, including Larson Farms, Second Nature Farm, Harmony Homestead Farm and the Wood Family Farm. Larson Farms sells grass-fed, grain-free beef, raw Jersey milk and free-range, soy-free organic chicken eggs. Rich doesn’t want to stop there.

“We would love it if people could buy other products; our vision is to make more food products available to people for a one-stop shop,” Larson said.

He feels strongly about what he does.

“It’s all about food— the first pillar of health is good food.”


Time saver

Larson also sees the benefits of a virtual farmers’ market for the farmers themselves. He points out that farmers spend the whole day at a traditional farmers’ market. This is a way for them to sell more products without standing around all day, Larson said.

Malona hopes to work more on the virtual farmers’ market now that her farm’s busy season is over. Though business has so far been slow, Larson remains hopeful that the market will pick up.

“Like all good things,” Larson said, “It takes some time.”



Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: ,

Area schools confer with police


By Matthew Saari School administrators throughout Washington County met with local and county law enforcement officials last week in an […]

‘School threat’ teen appears before judge

Granville school

By Krystle S. Morey The 17-year-old Granville High School student who allegedly made “threatening and intimidating statements” to several of […]

Whitehall school’s infrastructure ‘aging’ engineers say


By Matthew Saari Some of the Whitehall Central School buildings dates to its original construction 50 years ago. That concern […]

Hero firemen honored in Hampton

Hampton fire chief Matthew Sears and family

By Matthew Saari For their heroic actions during a February structure fire, two firemen were honored during the Hampton Town […]

North Country Freepress – 03/16/18


Lakes Region Freepress – 03/16/18


Weekender – 03/16/18

Weekender 3_16_18.pdf-web.pdf

Northshire Freepress – 03/16/18


518 Wheels – 03/15/18

518 Wheels 3_16_18.pdf-web.pdf

On the road with the Railroaders


By Matthew Saari With the Whitehall boys’ basketball team facing a lengthy road trip to Plattsburgh, the Times was faced […]

Still no camping for ‘mudboggers’


By Krystle S. Morey As the mudboggers prepare their off-road extreme park for their annual Spring Fling, Granville town officials […]

$34K solar PILOT negotiated


By Matthew Saari After nearly a year of negotiations, the final payment in lieu of taxes may be finalized. Assessor […]