WELLINGTON, Ohio — Our Thanksgiving table not only brings together our loved ones, it also reflects the bounty of the harvest season. And it's no coincidence, here at Planet CLE, we chose November as the month to truly embrace the harvest provided by our local farms.
Local farmers' markets are one way to get some of the freshest produce, dairy, meats and more. But you are limited by who shows up and how much they bring.
There is a way to access many more farms in our region, and a wider variety. It's through an online service called "Market Wagon."
We recently met David Beekman, who is 12 years old and no stranger to farming life. His family runs Hickory Legacy Farms in Lorain County. It's been in the family for generations, and David is carrying on the tradition, while also making a name for himself.
"We take chicken, which is mostly meat, and maybe a little pig, and some cows," he said.
David sells fresh poultry, and sweet corn too, through "Market Wagon," the brainchild of Indiana farmer Nick Carter.
"I started the company to help, our own family farm be able to get our foods to local consumers who wanted to buy local.," said Carter, who is CEO and launched Market Wagon in 2018.
Think of it as an "online" farmers market where you can buy produce, dairy, eggs, meat and other goods.
Carter got the business going first in his region, and has now expanded the concept throughout the country, including northeast Ohio.
But you won't find any of his goods here - and there's a reason:
"So my family farm isn't selling anything in Cleveland. It's just all the northeast Ohio Farms and food producers, artisans and chefs that are selling right there in that area," he said.
It's a fairly simple concept.
You order through the app or website. Farmers take the ordered goods to a distribution site, which is delivered to your doorstep, once a week, for a flat rate delivery fee.
"I was like, this is exactly what I, what I wanted. So we, we joined up and posted our stuff there, and now they're their huge percentage of our sales," said Andrew Thorn of Rhythm & Roots farm in Summit County.
Run by Thorn, his wife and children, Rhythm & Roots mainly offers poultry and pork direct to consumer.
The idea of doing their own deliveries or spending weekends selling at farmers markets -- was too time-consuming.
Market Wagon now takes care of that.
"We probably do 40% through Market Wagon. So, I mean that's just about doubled what we have going out, so that helped a lot," Thorn said.
The northeast Ohio Delivery area spans 12 counties, with over 75 farmers, chefs and food producers to choose from.
And don't forget -- farm to table is better for you, and better for the earth!
It's fresher and more nutritious. It doesn't require 18-wheeled semi-trucks burning diesel over hundreds of miles, to make it to you.
Buying local keeps your money local too.
David isn't counting his chickens right now.
It's not the season.
But he is counting his profits - about $2,000 a year from his little business, that's offering big possibilities for his family farm.
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