WNY FarmDrop Boosts Local Businesses, Expands Community Reach | Local news

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WNY FarmDrop Expands Reach

PAVILION – In an effort to fill a void in several counties, Jennifer Noble of Craigs Creamery has launched FarmDrop of Western NY.

FarmDrop was originally founded in Blue Hill, Maine. It connects farmers and consumers while providing contactless pickup of fresh, locally grown and produced food through online ordering.

The effort was supported by funding from ReFED, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending food loss and waste in the U.S. food system.

“At the start of the pandemic, Natural Upcycling, a food waste collection company (based in Linwood), applied for a grant from ReFED when we saw the first signs of disruption in the supply chain and dairy farmers were starting. to throw in milk, “says Noble.” Thanks to the ReFED grant, we were able to bottle milk and give it away for free … FarmDrop also received a grant from ReFED during the same period so that they can get extra support to limit food waste in their home region ReFED said we should work together – that’s what we are doing.

“… We really felt that after more than 12 months of not seeing people, we could do a better job supporting our local producers and keeping our dollars in our community,” she continued.

FarmDrop invites farmers / suppliers to upload their products and manage everything from inventory to product photos and prices. From there, consumers purchase products from the site and pick up their order at a designated location and time.

“I just consolidate orders every Thursday on pickup days and look for new unique offers to further develop the FarmDrop shopping experience…” said Noble. “FarmDrop is like our own local Instacart and Farmers Market, all rolled into one.

“The only difference is that our site is only online four days a week – Saturday through Tuesday – so our producers can provide the freshest produce possible.”

Customers can learn more about the farms they buy from and have direct access to them. On Thursdays, baked goods arrive hot, and products are sometimes picked as little as 15 minutes before arriving to be grouped.

Orders can be placed on farmdrop.us from 9am Saturday to 11.59pm Tuesday. Pickup locations, available on Thursdays, are Dublin Corners Farm Brewery, Linwood, and Clover Oak Heritage Acres, Batavia.

Noble intends to maintain connections within a 30-minute drive of the pick-up locations.

“We have another Market Hub in Nunda and I’m meeting with the manager of that location in the middle, so that we can trade in products sold by cross producers on both sites,” Noble said. “If a producer lives closer to Nunda, they have the option of delivering to Nunda and we’ll take it from there. “

Noble also works with growers like Arbor Hill in Naples, Ontario County, who offer shelf-stable products like grape candy and sauerkraut.

“The ultimate goal is to support local communities and maintain awareness of our carbon footprint,” Noble said.

Mary Beckendorf, of Riverview Farms, in Fillmore, uses FarmDrop and has experienced significant business growth since she started using the site in July.

“It was a game changer,” she said. “Being a producer without a holding back and who does not work in the farmer’s market circuit, it connects us so easily to consumers. To add to this, these are not consumers geographically that I would necessarily have targeted. Our USDA-cut pork sales simply wouldn’t have happened without it, and through the platform we’ve gained around 40 unique new customers.

Farmers interested in using FarmDrop are advised to know that FarmDrop is a L3C, which is a low profit business. The 5 percent fee charged to farmers provides online technical support and each vendor / farmer has a Stripe account to accept card payments, so there is a credit card fee.

“One of the advantages of FarmDrop is that the credit card fees are shared among 28 producers, so it’s almost never the full 2.9% card processing fee paid by a producer,” Noble said. “On the other side of the transaction, there is a $ 5 processing fee that a customer pays on their order, which is significantly lower than the market rate. Other than that, there are no surprises. Everything is very transparent.

Noble plans to maintain drop-off points year-round with a three-week closure from December 23 to January 13. The service will also be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

“I strongly recommend that local producers and consumers use the market,” Beckendorf said. “We sell through the Linwood and Nunda drop-off points. It is that simple.

“We will definitely continue to use the decline as our market grows,” she continued. “I would love to open a hub in Fillmore or Rushford one day. It is a very scalable concept that offers limitless possibilities to connect consumers to the demands of the local food supply chain. Beckendorf hopes to see FarmDrop continue to grow. She said it’s an invaluable asset to her business.

FarmDrop now offers Friday delivery. Delivery charges are based on proximity to Linwood with a limited radius at the moment.

The Friday option will gradually increase as FarmDrop continues to grow.

Since the inception of WNY this year, FarmDrop has been very successful.

“It really brought our community together and provided a sense of normalcy after 18 very disruptive months,” Noble said. “Having our main pickup location at Dublin Corners Farm Brewery also helped bring everyone together for a fun and causal happy hour to express their creativity and try new things, whether in the bakery or in their greenhouse. . ”

“Entering this space has also opened other doors and connections for our growers beyond FarmDrop for even greater distribution beyond my capabilities,” Noble said. “Orders continue to grow overall, especially as more and more collection sites are launched. Batavia and Livonia are a pickup location, and I hope to continue developing locations until 2022.

“We have slowly started FarmDrop in Linwood,” she continued. “Many clients now cycle every two weeks. I see this ecommerce space as the way of the future, and in my research to decide if FarmDrop was the way to go, the more I read, the more I realized we just had to do it.

For more information, visit farmdrop.us, check out their Facebook page at Western New York FarmDrop, or on Instagram @wnyfarmdrop.

In addition to facilitating FarmDrop, Noble’s goal is Craigs Creamery, which will be offering holiday boxes by December. Boxes can be purchased in bulk by producers, or individually by customers.

“We know the supply chain continues to be disrupted and the cost of everything keeps rising,” she said. “When you buy local, the products will never be out of stock because no truck has arrived. Don’t forget to give us a consumable gift this holiday season. We will have a good mix of local products in each box.

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