by Kathryn Milhorn
Adapting to COVID-19 lifestyle changes has been a learning curve for everyone. But many small businesses and organizations are turning to the internet more than ever to get the word—and their product—out into the world. Starting in early July 2020, the Olympia Farmers Market joins their ranks with the launch of online shopping and speedy, midweek pick-up.
Bryce Dazell, the Market’s Operations Manager, explains that the idea had been floating around for a while but statewide social distancing regulations jump-started the process. “But,” he admits, “We really think the benefit will far outlive COVID-19.”
While still in the final stages of planning, organizing and testing, Market staff hope the first online orders, will be available for pick-up in a matter of weeks. During the pilot phase, there are 17 participating vendors but they hope to incorporate all established vendors and crafters soon after. Orders which are placed before midnight every Sunday night and paid for with a credit or debit card, are then picked up the following Wednesday. Simply park and check-in with staff on arrival.
This turnaround time gives local farmers and artisans time to compile, package and deliver items to the Market on an off day, without crowds of eager weekend shoppers. By picking up outside of traditional hours, vulnerable and at-risk populations can socially distance with greater ease and safety.
Dazell has been studying other regional markets who offer online shopping options and agrees that “the idea of doing something like this is very much alive. Our infrastructure allows us to do some cool things that other markets can’t do” thanks to an on-site, staffed office and open layout.
Final specifications are still being determined and like everything during this crazy time, tweaks will be made throughout the opening weeks. Dazell would like to eventually add in the EBT and SNAP Market Match program and streamline the process from start to finish. They’re working with a committee of Market Board members to assess the project, make recommendations and act as a sounding board for suggestions and brainstormed ideas.
Find the most recent updates and timelines via the Market newsletter, their Facebook and Instagram pages or at www.OlympiaFarmersMarket.com. Just because life’s a little chaotic these days, doesn’t mean you have to go without fresh produce, meats, cheeses and hand-crafted delights. And thanks to online ordering, soon you can browse, shop, and enjoy from the comfort of home.