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DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein is designed to provide timely information on various services offered. Nothing herein guarantees said services will be available and all services are subject to change. This is not a comprehensive list of all services that might be offered. In addition, nothing herein shall be considered legal advice or formal guidance by the City.

Updates

Farmers’ and Producers Move Online for Market in Downtown Bloomington

Post Date:04/16/2020 10:22 AM

After the unexpected cancellation of the March Indoor Farmers’ Market and with the approach of peak producing and harvest season in sight, vendors with the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market began to grow concerned about their ability to get products to their customers and the effect the current health crisis is having on their businesses. In response, the City staff decided something had to be done to support their local producers and farmers. As a result, the curbside market was born.  

Vendors and City staff worked quickly to create an online catalog through an e-commerce website  that went live for online shopping for a full week and a half leading up to the April 18 Market. The move online has transformed the Market from its traditional setup to a curbside pickup-only market. 

“The curbside market idea is great,” said Charlie Larkin with Above Normal Eggs. “The Farmers’ Market is my favorite place to see my customers and interact. This way they still can get my fresh eggs.” 

The community response to online ordering has been overwhelming. Within minutes of the store going live, orders were rolling in, showcasing the community support for local vendors and farmers—an overwhelming but bittersweet response in light of everything going on in the world. 

A total of 14 vendors jumped on the opportunity to be part of this pilot program for a curbside market, including Above Normal Eggs, Azteca Pan, Dave’s Honey Bees, Dearing Country Farms, Destiny Meats, Drop Into Health, LLC., Huelskoetter Pork, Little River Farmstead, LLC., Pollen & Pasty, PrairiErth Farm, The Recipe Girls, Thompson Family Farm, Trimble’s Produce Farm, and Witzig Farm Meats. The range of products available in the online store includes vegetables, fruits, pork, beef, free-range poultry and eggs, flowers, plants, herbs, and more. 

Vendors of all types are seeing great success from this new market format. 

“We are extremely pleased with the opportunity to continue to connect with our customers and provide them with local healthy food,” said farmer Katie Bishop of PrairiErth, a longtime vendor with the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market. “Our sales are up nearly 30% compared to the 2019 April farmers’ market, which is a testament to this communities’ love for their local farmers. This is a really big endeavor that the Bloomington farmers’ market leaders have chosen to take on and we applaud them for their hard work and vision.” 

Candice Hart, owner of Pollen & Pastry, says the online market has seen her sales double over last year’s April Market and has been able to keep an employee on full time for the week, due to the curbside pickup. 

“The decision of the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market to go online and offer curbside pickup has been a total blessing for our company,” Hart said. “The community has really stepped up to support local businesses and we really appreciate the City for allowing the market to move forward with new and innovative methods of making a farmer's market work during these times." 

With uncertainty looming over the start of the May outdoor Farmers’ Market season, continuing this online ordering and curbside pickup format is likely to continue.  

To receive updates and news related to the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market, sign up for the newsletter at http://downtownbloomington.org/contact-us/ 

 

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