Ordering from the farm...online
by Laura Gayowski
Did you know that you can still support your local farmers during the cold winter months? Frederick Fresh Online (FFO) is an online Frederick County farmers' market platform that serves up fresh and frozen items during all twelve months of the year! Completely volunteer-run, FFO is proud to connect our hard-working, passionate farmers to the residents of Frederick County and surrounding areas.
In March 2020, the emerging COVID-19 pandemic put stress on the supply chain of local grocery stores and the fear of transmission of COVID-19 kept people from wanting to set foot in an enclosed facility. With face-to-face shopping more difficult than ever, the Agricultural Economy Work Group of the Frederick County Food Council began the FFO initiative to help small-scale farmers reach more people with the added benefit of allowing consumers to shop locally, conveniently, and safely thanks to drive-up pickup locations.
Frederick Fresh Online brings farm fresh produce, high quality meats, eggs, cheeses, herbs, flowers, and baked goods to four Frederick County pickup sites, including Bar-T Mountainside in Urbana. During the winter months, meats, eggs, cheese, and artisan body care items along with a variety of lettuces and microgreens are available. As a member of FFO, you’ll begin your order by putting items in your shopping cart from the comforts of your home. There is currently no membership fee, just sign up here.
As the most recent addition to the FFO team and a long-time resident of the Villages of Urbana, I would like to encourage my fellow neighbors to learn more about our food system. As you can see from the pie chart, most of the farmland in Frederick county is used for animal feed and wheat. Very little is used for fruits and vegetables, which is ironic considering the high food insecurity rate in Frederick county (9.7% as of 2019 according to www.feedingamerica.org). Additionally, FFO farmers use regenerative farming practices that improve soils and benefit the environment, so you can feel good about how your food is grown.
When you buy through FFO, you support families. Laura Genello, producer and owner of Dandelion and Rust Farm in Myersville, Maryland is extremely passionate about her work. When asked why it's important to buy locally, she said, “My farm would not exist if community members were not interested in purchasing directly from smaller-scale farmers. Markets like FFO are essential for supporting small-scale farmers.” Frederick County farmers are OUR farmers. If we don’t support them, who will? There are many ways to get involved in supporting your local agricultural economy. FFO is a great option for busy families and allows a great deal of convenience.
Every Wednesday, FFO volunteers gather at Bar-T mountainside to put together food orders, aggregating the produce delivered by our committed farmers. If you live right here in Urbana, you can pick up your order in just a short drive to Bar-T Mountainside!
Gather around your table in good spirits, comfort, and joy as you celebrate locally grown produce, nourish your family with the fruits of the earth, and build a bridge between your community and your local farming families. Frederick Fresh Online’s mission is for each and every one of us to do just that, from farm to table and family to family.
To learn more about FFO and the larger organization, visit Community FARE.
Laura Gayowski is a graduate of the University of Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. After realizing her passion for public health during an internship at the National Cancer Institute, she decided to pursue public health and preventative medicine as a Registered Dietitian. She works for Community FARE as a marketing and outreach strategist to promote the sale of fresh, healthy food and is working towards her master’s degree in nutrition science and RD credential.
For Part 1, "Choosing a farm with CSA shares"