Getting your daily dose of fresh produce is important. With Frederick Fresh Online, a branch of Community FARE, you can shop from local farmers and producers for vegetables, eggs, meat, and more from the comfort of your home.
Check out our Q&A below with Janice Wiles and Lisa Orr from Frederick Fresh Online to learn more.
Can you tell us a bit about your role in Frederick Fresh Online and Community FARE?
As director, I, Janice Wiles, have guided the mission and growth of the organization that now has three distinct programs that work with each other: Frederick Fresh Online (FFO), Frederick County Farm to School, and the Frederick County Food Council. Lisa Orr volunteers as the market manager for Frederick Fresh Online and coordinates operations with producers, volunteers, and FARE staff.
What is Frederick Fresh Online’s mission?
To provide a reliable and risk-free marketplace for beginning and small farmers to foster their growth for long-term business development and stability.
What makes Frederick Fresh Online different from traditional farmers markets?
Customers can see what’s available and conveniently order online during a four-day weekly ordering window as opposed to having to physically go to a market on a specific day. Customers can choose one of four Frederick County pickup locations where they can pick up their orders without leaving their cars.
From the producers’ perspective, FFO is unique in that products are purchased from the farmer before they are harvested and brought to the aggregation market. That way, the farmer is delivering only what has already sold.
Why is Frederick a great place for farm fresh food?
As demand for fresh and nutritious food increases, Frederick County is poised to grow more of its own food. The County has 181,512 acres of land zoned for agriculture, in which approximately 6,000 could be utilized to grow fruits and vegetables, according to the 2012 USDA Agricultural Census.
Within Frederick County alone we have the land to supply more than enough produce to feed our own county’s residents. FFO is working to create the demand for farmers to expand their production. There are many diversified farming operations in Frederick County that produce meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and more.
How does Frederick Fresh Online benefit the community?
FFO’s primary focus is to help small and start-up farms have new and low-risk markets. With access to growing market demand, there is a greater opportunity for producers to grow, produce, and sell. With more production there will be greater access to fresh and nutritious food in schools, local eateries, and other institutions.
Tell us about some of your featured producers.
At Chocolates and Tomatoes Farm, an 11-acre farm in Middletown, Mark Mills and his wife Teresa use sustainable, organic agricultural practices to grow their vegetables and fruits. They ensure that they protect their soil and put back any nutrients that they use through practices such as integrated pest management, organic fertilizers and manure, and more.
Laura Genello, who operates Dandelion & Rust Farm, grows her produce using sustainable methods, without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, at her farm in Myersville. Her practices include using low tillage methods to work the soil, embracing compost, planting aisles with clover to reduce erosion, and using paper mulches instead of plastic.
Deer Run Farm is a small, family-owned-and-operated beef cattle and heritage poultry operation located in northern Frederick County. The farm has been in operation since 1996 by the Stewart family, practicing conventional farming with regards to sustainability and regeneration.
How can someone get involved with Frederick Fresh Online?
Frederick Fresh Online welcomes volunteers to serve on its leadership team assisting with outreach and marketing, community and producer research and engagement, planning, grant writing, and more. Volunteers are also needed for order aggregation and delivery every Wednesday. Prospective volunteers can contact Market Manager Lisa Orr at gro.erafytinummoc@asil.
What is the order process?
The FFO market is open for ordering four days a week, from 8 a.m. on Thursdays through 8 p.m. on Sundays. Customers can view, select, and pay for a wide variety of products on our website. Customers can pick up their orders between 5:30 and 6: 30 p.m. on Wednesdays at one of four Frederick County pickup locations.
What’s the one thing you want people to know about Frederick Fresh Online?
FFO is a helpful and convenient way to support local farmers and producers who are using sustainable practices that protect our water and soils.
How does Frederick Fresh Online “live well?”
FFO contributes to “living well” in Frederick County by supporting our farmers and producers through purchases and marketing so that fresh products are available locally. With accessible fresh fruits and vegetables, it makes healthy eating easy. By eating locally grown fresh foods, we won’t have to worry about food quality and its nutritional value.
For more information about Frederick Fresh online, visit their website.