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Foodshed Buying Club continuing to connect customers with local farmers and fresh products

By CAROLINE GABLE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Foodshed is a web-based business bringing local products from the farm to your table.

The innovative and green idea started small, but business is picking up with the click of every button.

www.foodshedbuyingclub.com is a local-only grocery shopping experience.

Customers place their orders weekly by Sunday at midnight and pick up products Friday afternoon from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at RCIL in Utica. You can buy fruits and vegetables in season, eggs, dairy products, beef, poultry, honey maple syrup and more.

Everything is farm fresh, naturally grown, grass fed, and it comes from within a 30 mile radius of Utica.

Since Foodshed launched in January of this year, the business has gone from a handful of orders to 84 pick-ups this week.

The business is also hitting another milestone this week - $100,000 in net sales.

Not only is Foodshed an indoor outlet as summer Farmer's Markets fade - it's generating a significant income stream for local farmers. The numbers translate into $87,000 into the pockets of local farmers.

Suzie Jones runs the Jones Family Farm in Herkimer. She drops off eggs and assortments of cheeses, including a cream cheese, whose secret recipe includes a little Saranac beer.

"When the Farmer's Markets end, you kind of go, 'oh that income stream is gone, so what are we going to do,?'" Jones said. "So this really has been great, because where the Farmer's Markets seem to end, this picks up."

Bob Mortis is a steady customer from Rome, who picks up his order after work in Utica every Friday.

"I like this, because I know where it comes from, the source of the food, and I trust it very much," Mortis said. "It is high-quality food. The eggs and the beef are fantastic, the greens are as fresh as anything I've ever tasted in my life, and they make terrific meals for my family."

The produce is a little more pricey than what you'd find at a big box grocery store.

"When a farmer sells to a direct customer, you're getting a premium price, especially with all the farms that we are working with, that being grass feed, organic," said Founder Shulamis Giordani. "Some of them are certified, some of them are not certified, but they are all using organic practices, and they need a premium price for that, because it takes them longer to grow the food. It is not the same as the industrial food you get in a supermarket."

Giordani says that a number of volunteers help making Foodshed possible, and while the business isn't turning a huge profit yet, she has high hopes that as the word spreads, so will the profit.

She started the market after her own struggle to get fresh local food from all kinds of farmers in the area. The cost to join is $15. Once that is paid, buyers are eligible to purchase anything available online.

For more information on Foodshed visit: www.foodshedbuyingclub.com

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