As farmers’ markets become increasingly popular around the country, locally grown fruits and vegetables are easier for consumers to obtain than ever. But as with everything else, there can always be too much of a good thing, even with farmers’ markets. With so many opportunities to sell their produce, the numerous markets some cities offer are stretching farmers thin. Even when they’re able to make it to all of them, the facts of modern life mean that some potential customers don’t have the time to attend. Seeing a gap in the market, Benzi Ronen founded start-up Farmigo, which harnesses the power of the Internet to directly bring together farmers and consumers.
Each week, farmers from within a 100-mile radius deliver produce within 48 hours of harvest to workplaces or community centers, where anyone signed up to the service can pick it up. All of this is facilitated by their website, which takes responsibility from the farmers and hands over aspects such as marketing, billing and delivery logistics to Farmigo. Ronen came up with this system when he realized that, while doing market research, over 20 percent of the population doesn’t shop at farmers’ market, but would if they were more convenient. “If we could bring that farmers’ (market) experience – you pick which farm you want to buy from, what you want each week, you pay weekly – if we could bring that experience to you in a convenient way, that opens up the market,” he said.
Not only has Farmigo helped consumers get the produce that they want, but it has also helped farmers make more money from each of their sales. On the wholesale market, they earn an average of 15 to 20 cents on the dollar – with Farmigo, who only takes 10 percent of each sale, they can get up to 80 cents on the dollar of each sale. “They take a big load off the farmers to allow us to do what we do best, which is to grow premium produce,” said Nick Papadopoulos, general manager of Bloomfield Farms Organics near Petaluma, California.