The Capital District Community Gardens org is starting a new venture: the Virtual Veggie Mobile. It's an online marketplace to connect local farms with local wholesale buyers, such as schools, hospitals, and restaurants. From a press release:
Local farmers often struggle to market their products to chefs and other wholesale consumers, with whom their schedules conflict. The Virtual Veggie Mobile provides a way for consumers to communicate with farmers and shop local markets when it is convenient for them. The site gives farmers the advance notice they need to produce only what is in demand, eliminating the risk of food waste. CDCG will take on the responsibility of delivering orders, enabling farmers to spend less time away from their crops.
One of the things we've heard from a few local farmers and restaurateurs in the past is that the prices all the players are seeking don't necessarily match up. Basically, many smaller-scale local farms are looking to sell their products at retail prices, but restaurants are looking to buy them at wholesale prices. (Obviously some of the players find a way to make it work because local farm ingredients do show up on local restaurant menus.) So it will be interesting to see if this marketplace can help smooth out that gap.
CDCG says the Virtual Veggie Mobile will also eventually allow low-income families to purchase products through the marketplace.
It's kind of remarkable that this area has three online local farm products services, now with the addition of the Virtual Veggie Mobile. It joins the already-established -- and more end consumer focused -- services FarmieMarket (an online farmers' market) and FieldGoods (sort of like a virtual CSA service).
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