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WATCH NOW: You want to buy locally grown produce? Harvest Foundation grant provides access from home

WATCH NOW: You want to buy locally grown produce? Harvest Foundation grant provides access from home

Only $5 for 5 months

Homegrown produce has met technology.

Soon you will be able to order your fruits and veggies from the Uptown Martinsville Farmers Market over the internet – not to mention jams, jellies, breads, cookies, honey and whatever else local producers have for sale.

Thanks to a grant from The Harvest Foundation, the Uptown Martinsville Farmers Market has a website where customers can order at once from any or all vendors, pay with one payment and pick up.

The website will launch at 6 p.m. next Thursday, with a “launch party” on Facebook, and it will begin taking orders on July 12. The first pickup of orders will be July 18.

On the launch party, farmers market manager Taylor Robertson will “show customers how to shop, the chance to win bonus bucks, etc.,” said Kimberly Keller, Uptown Entrepreneurial Development Manager of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s Partnership for Economic Growth. The website is funded by Harvest’s Pick Up The Pace! grant. The grant was made to the Partnership for Economic Growth, which runs the farmers market.

So far, there isn’t anything to buy listed on there, except for options of boxes “to be donated to a local food bank,” the website product page states.

To make purchases, a customer registers on the “Join” page of the website. The information asked for is name, email address, home address and phone number, and the customer sets a username and password. All purchases, no matter from which vendor, can be combined into one order and paid for at once on the website. That’s a change from the farmers market, in which people pay the individual vendors.

The website also has a “Vendor Spotlight” section.

A section about Grover Roark, dated June 28, states: “Grover’s business is called Deep Creek Farm, and he’s been at the Farmers’ Market for 18 years ‘at least!’ During the peak season, Grover sells tomatoes, beans, peas, potatoes, cucumbers, beets and greens. Throughout the year, you can also buy honey, preserves, fried apple pies, and dried apples from him.”

The June 21 entry features the three-generation family team of Caitlin Marie Stanley, Cindy Leann Allred Stanley and Gloria Sheffield. They’ve been at the market for seven years, it states, and they sell homemade cookies, bread, muffins, jams, jellies, pickles and pimento cheese.

“Our partnership with the Chamber of Commerce to pilot a Virtual Farmer’s Market exhibits our continued interest in keeping the Martinsville-Henry County community healthy,” India Brown, Harvest Foundation’s program officer, said in a release announcing the grant. “There are many people who want to eat locally and support local farmers and producers, but the pandemic has made it more challenging. The virtual farmers’ market will provide an additional way for the community to access healthy local foods. It also provides a nontraditional method to support local farmers and producers who often rely on the traditional farmers’ market to sell goods.”

Customers still are welcome to shop in person, but they are encouraged to order through the website instead, Keller said, to maintain pandemic safety precautions.

“We hope to reach a whole new base of customers with this addition who will have access to locally-grown and created food. It’s a win-win situation,” she said in the release.

The farmers market is open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Nov. 14 and will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesdays through Sept. 30. SNAP and EBT payments are accepted. It is located at 65 ‘W. Main St.

For more information, call Keller at 276-632-5688.

Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.

Holly Kozelsky is a writer for the Martinsville Bulletin; contact her at 276-638-8801 ext. 243.

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