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Online farmer’s market connects St. Louis area farms with new customers

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:27 PM CDT
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GODFREY, Ill. (KMOV) - At Theodora Farms in Godfrey, Illinois, they’re battling record-breaking heat this week. The weather is out of their control but what they can control is what they grow and how they reach customers.

“The reason we started this farm was to ensure there is a supply of good food for the local community,” said Kris Larson, the general manager of Theodora Farms.

They started the 10-acre organic farm three years ago and continue to work on expanding their customer base. From an onsite farm store to CSAs to selling wholesale to local restaurants, a new concept is helping them reach an even broader audience.

It’s called Market Wagon and it’s similar to an online farmer’s market.

“We work with them because we can have a much broader reach with a much broader customer base than we could on our own,” said Larson.

The company was started in Indiana in 2020.

“I grew up as a farm kid, would have been the fourth-generation farmer on our farm in Indiana. And the farm wouldn’t have continued if we couldn’t figure out how to get the produce into consumers’ hands. So we built Market Wagon which not only serves our farm but 1,800 others in the Midwest,” said Nick Carter, founder of Market Wagon.

Carter says there are currently around 100 farms and producers in the St. Louis region using the platform. Customers in 10 counties in Missouri and Illinois can enter their zip code, place their order and then farmers deliver to a warehouse one day a week and Market Wagon then makes the deliveries.

“Time is valuable and as farmers, we are fully occupied with growing the crops,” said Larson, who now can focus more time on the crops in the ground.

You can find produce, eggs, dairy, baked goods and more on the website, which is taking a new spin on the booming e-commerce food delivery business which grew to $152 billion in 2021.