By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
One challenge that comes with buying fresh food directly from local farmers is the drive for convenience: Farmers and other food vendors at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market can only sell what they grow, raise, or make in a particular time period, and in order to avoid spoilage, they bring to market what they anticipate they can sell. As a result, shoppers who arrive at the market later in the morning might find that a hoped-for item is no longer available.
A new app aims to streamline your shopping experience with local farms and businesses. Known as FreshFoodNY, it will enable shoppers to pre-order desired items from participating vendors and pick up their goods at the market.
“We’re thrilled to try out this new tool,” says Saratoga Farmers’ Market administrator Julia Howard. “Our hope is that it will make local food more accessible and easy to shop for.”
The free app was developed by the Farmers Market Federation of New York in partnership with Crave Food Systems, a food technology firm based in Rhode Island. The app is available for iOS and Android devices. Once downloaded, market goers can search out their favorite vendors in advance and see what items are available. The app allows shoppers to place an order, make payment, and identify a pick-up time and locale on a menu of options provided by the vendor.
The Farmers Market Federation created the app as part of its mission to strengthen the state’s food economy by making it more convenient for residents to buy directly from farmers. The Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s decision to participate in the project supports this mission and aims to build closer relationships between market shoppers and area farmers.
So far, eight vendors have joined the program: Argyle Cheese Farmer, Ballston Lake Apiaries, The Chocolate Spoon, Grandma Apple’s Cheesecakes, Longlesson Farm, M&A Farm, Nettle Meadow Farm, Shushan Valley Hydro Farm, and Yankee Distillers. Joining the project in May will be Denison Farms and Ramble Creek Farm.
Howard anticipates that more vendors will join the program next month when the market begins its twice-weekly outdoor season.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through April 28 at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. The market moves outdoors to High Park Park in May and will be 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Follow our updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.