In the Seattle area, you're never more than a duck egg's throw away from local, organic meat and produce. But anyone who's been to a farmer's market or co-op knows it can get expensive. But there's a newish way to get local, organic food at a fraction of the cost. You can find it at Farmstr.com
Chicken's cluck in the front yard of Farmstr founder, Janelle Maiocco's, Wallingford home-slash-urban-farm. But she believes that even the chickenless should be able to connect with farm fresh foods. Farmstr connects farmers directly with consumers, sort of like a Craigslist for local food.
"The farmers post offers online. They set the unit size, the price, the delivery date and drop location so they can sell the supply that they have, when they have it. A customer literally can go online and choose the food they want, the farmer they want, they can learn about the farmers, the ranchers," said Janelle.
Normally buying directly from a farmer means buying huge portions, but on Farmstr farmers are selling produce, meat, eggs and milk in both small and large quantities.
"They are offering anywhere from a half a cow to a quarter cow to 10 pounds of grass-fed beef. You might find a five pound box of sustainable salmon. You might find, on Farmstr, one dozen urban farm eggs. So it's just really what the farmer has."
And it's cheaper. Which is what happens when you eliminate the middle man.
"Last fall we had a farmer sell biodynamic organic pears for about $1 a pound. At the store, at the same time, they were about $4 a pound. Grass-fed beef I've seen recently, at the store, for $25 a pound just because it was local, organic, fantastic quality. We have the same quality and I recently bought grass-fed beef, all cuts, for just $7 a pound."
Seattle's Karen Huh has been buying through Farmstr since last summer.
"When we went to Whole Foods you'd buy a bag of frozen blueberries; two pounds for 20 bucks from Remlinger Farms," said Karen. "In comparison we were getting a $10 pound box for $38. I think it's pretty obvious that the math is beneficial."
So you go to Farmstr.com, pay for the food you want, and then coordinate a date to pick it up at any of the designated drop-off locations set up around western Washington.
"Farmers, whether they're driving in to the warehouse, or grocery store or farmer market, are already driving into the city. So they come into the city when it's convenient for them, with pre-sold foods," Janelle explained.
So not only are you supporting local farmers, but you're making sure that produce that doesn't sell at a farmer's market doesn't go to waste.
"We had a farmer, recently, who had a whole acre of organic Brussels sprouts and they were literally going to churn them back into the ground. But instead they were able to sell through Farmstr."