DURAND — Area residents no longer have to go to a farmers market to find fresh, locally grown products.
In fact, they don’t even have to go beyond their doorstep.
Market Wagon, a company dedicated to helping farmers get their products in the hands of local consumers, announced this week the launch of its latest “food hub” in the Durand area, offering home delivery service throughout Shiawassee, Saginaw, Genesee, Clinton, Gratiot, Ingham and Eaton counties.
Described as an “online farmers market,” Market Wagon allows customers to peruse locally grown products on their computer or smartphone year-round and place an order from multiple local food vendors with one single checkout. Orders are delivered each Thursday in insulated totes using ice packs as needed to preserve freshness, according to a company press release.
“This business is all about giving consumers more ways and easier access to buy local — and giving farmers and food producers more ways to reach them,” Nick Carter, co-founder and CEO of Market Wagon, said in the release. “By bringing the same products you’d expect at a local farmers market into an online shop, we are increasing the market for local farms and artisans, and ultimately it’s those vendors that win.”
The Durand hub, located along M-71 on the property of Great Lakes Fusion, joins Market Wagon’s existing locations in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Missouri.
To date, there are more than 230 local products to choose from in the Central Michigan market, with more vendors loading new products each day. Shopping requires no upfront fees or long-term subscriptions.
Justin Horvath, president/CEO of the Shiawasse Economic Development Partnership, said Friday that roughly a half dozen county vendors — including Bea’s Bakery of Owosso and Tiger Shark Cafe in Durand — have joined Market Wagon so far, a company he describes as the “Amazon of local food products.”
“I think it’s a game-changer, not only for customers in terms of getting products but I really hope our local food partners get on board,” Horvath said via phone Friday. “If people want to buy local food, whether it be from a bakery, a restaurant or a farmers market, this is the place to do it.”
Interested food producers can apply to become a vendor at marketwagon.com. The SEDP is hosting a conference call at 2 p.m. Monday with Ryan Thomas, director of business development at Market Wagon, to provide more information.
Individuals can access the call by dialing (231) 282-9447. The meeting ID is 157879496. For more information, email Horvath at firstname.lastname@example.org.