Like many events and experiences over the last several months, the farmers’ market went virtual! The Northern Colorado Virtual Farmers’ Market started on Facebook in March in order to give community members the opportunity to purchase locally grown food, handmade products and professional business services during the pandemic.
Vendors include a wide range of farmers, crafters, artisans and small business owners, all providing a variety of services and products, sometimes delivered straight to your door. The NoCo Virtual Farmers’ Market is a year-round market, which means you can access fresh, seasonal produce well into the fall and winter.
Visit the Northern Colorado Virtual Farmers’ Market website and peruse the options at each online vendor booth from the comfort of your own home. Choose from a variety of categories, including artisan/handmade products, gluten-free/keto, beverages, health and beauty, home goods, clothing and accessories, flowers and plants, pet supplies, and more. Plus, the food options abound, including grocery, produce, dairy, meat, baked goods, herbs and spices, jams and syrup, oils and vinegars, pasta and rice, frozen items, and more. Updates are made weekly, with new vendors added frequently.
Make your selections between Sunday at 6 p.m. and Wednesday at 6 p.m. and pay with a card online. Deliveries occur each Saturday from 12–4 p.m. with pickup available from 1–2 p.m. Delivery and pickup fees vary with each order, depending on your location.
The pandemic has shifted how we do just about everything, especially grocery shopping. Changes in the supply chain have greatly affected how consumers make purchases. But with NoCo Virtual Farmers’ Market, there is no supply chain shortage. Shopping local eliminates the long haul that products must make in order to reach your home. Plus, your purchase is sustaining and enriching the local community and providing healthier foods and unique products for your household.
The pandemic has also placed extra burdens on families who are now working from home and may even be homeschooling their children or caring for family members and small children. There is less time to run errands or go grocery shopping, only to encounter long lines or empty shelves. Not to mention, many are not comfortable with the idea of returning to the grocery store or the farmers’ market — especially the elderly and immunocompromised.
The very idea of the NoCo Farmers’ Virtual Farmers’ Market was shaped by the pandemic and the circumstances it created, but the team is actively counteracting many of the barriers placed on the public by focusing inward.
“Inward towards our own communities, inward towards our local suppliers, inward towards our own ability to take control and deliver goods to the consumer in a timely fashion,” founder Alexa Vasquez said. “Our customers are also turning inward when they support local businesses and shop local.”
The market is designed to support and serve the community during such a difficult time for many. They also aim to serve the local businesses and farmers in the region by sourcing straight from their farms and gardens. This mutually beneficial arrangement is enriching and supporting our communities, keeping it alive and thriving.
The market has evolved quickly as the pandemic has gone on. And now, they’re taking their services to the next level with a new, updated website launching in October. The website will have many new features, including a special resource section for customers to learn about the small business and local farmer practices, designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Plus, they will have an expanded blog where they can educate consumers and continue to connect them to the vendors and the local community.
“No matter where in Northern Colorado people live, they will be able to connect with exceptional small businesses and learn about the local farmer, the local artisan and the local food provider,” Vasquez said.
In addition to the new website, NoCo Virtual Farmers’ Market is working on several upcoming developments. They are constantly onboarding new vendors in order to provide a wider selection of products and services. They have expanded their delivery regions to include more towns in Northern Colorado. Plus, they are launching a Give Back to the Community program, in which they will donate market food coupons to families in need on a monthly basis starting in October. They recently started donating a market basket of produce and products to a local nonprofit who will distribute them to a family in need, feed the homeless, or contribute to their cause.
The market has joined the Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce and engages with other businesses and members to support each other. They have also become a Colorado Proud member and joined the affiliation as a Colorado grown company.
Make your shopping experience even easier by becoming a member. You’ll create your own account, where you can add to, modify or simply keep ordering the same goods each time. You will receive an account number with all your information already in place! Click here to become a member and start shopping.
If you enjoy your Northern Colorado Virtual Farmers’ Market experience, consider sharing the love with family and friends. For each person who places an order with your referral code, you get $5 off your next order and they get a $5 discount on their next order too!
The NoCo Virtual Farmers’ Market evolved from a difficult scenario, with an intentional goal to enrich the lives of those living in the community as well as local farmers, artisans, makers and business owners. And this is just the beginning! As circumstances change, they are dedicated to serving the community in a variety of ways in the days ahead.
According to Vasquez, “The pandemic may have started us, but it will not stop us.”