How the Friends & Farmers Online Market Changed the Way I Shop

As Marketing Manager of the Friends & Farmers Cooperative, I am a fully invested shopper of the Online Market. But I didn’t start out that way. At first, I bought only a few items a week—foods I that felt safe to try, like garlic, potatoes and spinach—and spent no more than $12-15 on each order.

Then I started trying farm-made soups and entrees on the Online Market, discovered applesauce like my grandma made, and a drink mixer from Tait Farm Foods that I’d never heard of before: fruit shrub.

The Friends & Farmers Online Market has changed the foods I shop for. It’s transformed my pantry and my refrigerator.

My pantry now stores small-batch, hand poured bottles of dressing from Village Eatinghouse; jars of applesauce and apple butter from Way Fruit Farm; nectarine jam and raisin & rhubarb chutney from Trifolia Natural Products & Botanicals.

Open my fridge and you’ll find bottles of beet and pear shrub, drinkable goat milk yogurt, chocolate goat milk, cheese from local farms, fresh angel hair pasta and tomato sauce from Fasta & Ravioli Co., and an amazing mix of salad greens from Tait Farm. Tait Farm has greens all winter long! I’m eating more from my fridge than ever before. At the conventional grocery store, I walk past the packaged food displays, uninterested.

Shopping the Online Market is a process of discovery. As one of our loyal customers, Katey Wilber, puts it, “I had no idea how much flavor lettuce had until I bought local in-season lettuce.”

Shopping for local food is not only fun, it teaches you how good fresh food tastes, and makes meal planning more of a pleasure. Now that I’ve made a habit of shopping for fresh, local food online, I’m finding more of the foods and other products that I want and need, and am doing most of my food shopping from the Online Market. I’ve learned that when I eat fresh foods, I feel so satisfied that I’m actually eating less food.

Friends & Farmers is working toward putting the doors on a brick-and-mortar store where you can buy locally grown and produced food. Until then, it’s fun and convenient shopping from local farmers and producers—online from noon Friday through noon Monday—then picking it up or having it delivered on Tuesdays. The Online Market offers two pick-up locations: The Meetinghouse on Atherton at 318 S. Atherton, or State College Friends School at 1900 University Drive.

You can shop from the comfort of wherever you are, no matter what the weather is doing. As an Online Market customer, you’ll get to know what local farmers are growing and local producers are making. And they’ll get to know you as a customer—the foods you buy regularly and want more of. All of our producers are happy to consider customer requests.

I get to know what sells out quickly, so I encourage our customers to start shopping and complete your orders as early as possible after the Online Market opens at noon on Friday. You can go ahead and place your order, opting to pay now or when you pick up. If you pay now, you can add to or subtract items from your cart throughout the weekend; your account won’t be charged until the Online Market closes at noon on Monday.

Anyone can shop the Online Market by registering, but if you join the co-op, you pay less than non-members do.

Learn more about how it works and visit the Online Market when it opens at noon on Fridays.


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