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Farmers Market Subscription Service Offers New Way to Get Farm-Fresh Food and Local Goods

by on June 02, 2020 5:15 AM

A new offering from Centre Markets, the North Atherton Farmers Market and Taproot Kitchen allows Centre County residents to enjoy farm-fresh, locally-grown produce and other products while social distancing. 

Centre Markets Monthly is a farmers market subscription service that runs through November, featuring items from a variety of farmers market vendors. Subscribers receive a biweekly or monthly pickup or delivery, with seven to 10 local goods included each time. 

Taproot Kitchen employees, many of whom are adults with intellectual disabilities, will pack, sort and hand out the subscriptions.

The idea for Centre Markets Monthly came about when Bob Ricketts, owner of Fasta & Ravioli Co. and president of the North Atherton Farmers Market board, approached Taproot Kitchen with a new way to benefit farmers market vendors, local shoppers and Taproot Kitchen employees alike.

“Bob Ricketts has been a supporter of Taproot Kitchen since it began five years ago, and during the winter, he had come to us with the idea that we could attend [the] market to sell our soups, dips, baked goods and other treats as well as help set up the tents where customers sit to eat, drink and visit with friends,” said Maggie Anderson, marketing manager at Taproot Kitchen since October of last year. “Since that tent is not allowed at markets this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Bob developed the concept of a farmers market subscription and let us take it on. 

“It's great because we still get to be at [the] market, selling our prepared foods, but also participate in the wider market community through this program. Our employees with intellectual disability have really been missing coming to work, and this is the perfect role for many of them to be a part of a bigger effort.”

Centre Markets Monthly subscribers can expect a range of items in their monthly or biweekly bundles, from fruits and vegetables to prepared foods and baked goods, meat and flowers to kombucha and coffee. Only one subscription type is available at this time. 

Subscribers can pick up their items at the North Atherton Farmers Market in the Home Depot parking lot on designated days; delivery is available for subscribers within a 25-mile radius. At the time of pickup or delivery, subscribers will also have the option to donate a bag to the State College Food Bank, to feed a family in need.

The Taproot Kitchen team will be adhering to social distancing precautions during pickups and deliveries, to ensure subscribers’ safety.

“At market, we'll have a drive-thru lane for pickups, so customers can pop their trunk and we'll place their bag inside or they can pick it up off a sanitized table right outside the car,” Anderson says. “For deliveries, we'll drop bags outside front doors (or in a specific place customers designate when they order) and then let the subscribers know their local goods are there so they can get them inside right away. 

:When we're sorting, we will of course be wearing masks and gloves and working on sanitized surfaces. Only two people will sort the items into bags, so we are able to maintain a safe distance while getting the bags ready to go. The North Atherton Farmers Market has been doing an incredible job to ensure the safety of customers and vendors, as have all the markets, and we're really glad to have their leadership on this.”

If Centre Markets Monthly is successful this season, Anderson notes hopes of expansion next year, including possibly allowing for subscription customization and partnerships with other farmers markets around the county. 

“If you're looking for another way to support local farmers this year, Centre Markets Monthly is a fun way to do that,” Anderson says. “And while the markets are doing a great job making shopping safe for everyone, some people may still not feel comfortable doing that, so this is a great option for them. Of course, you could sign up and still shop the markets. The more healthy, local food the better!”

Summer 2020 Centre Markets Monthly subscriptions are currently available at centremarketsmonthly.square.site.



Holly Riddle is a freelance food, lifestyle and entertainment writer. She can be reached at [email protected]
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