The Comox Valley Farmers’ Market will soon have a new online tool for shoppers to purchase local products from the comfort of their home.
CVFM general manager Twila Skinner said she is in the process of building an online store to complement the market, which was recently moved to the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds every Saturday throughout the spring and summer.
“During COVID-19, it is a solution to help,” she noted and added the online store is another tool for customers to access fresh, local food.
Amid the coronavirus, the market is allowed to be open, as it is considered an essential service. It implemented several temporary safeguards, such as hand-washing stations and is restricting the number of customers.
“We are following the provincial health officer’s recommendations, but things change day by day, and we do what we’re told.”
Skinner said the online store could encourage people who do not want to come together in person to have options for pick up or delivery of local goods.
She added while not every vendor will be able to offer their products through the online store, a “good portion” should be available. As the weeks go on, she hopes more vendors will join.
Currently, the onus is on the vendor to organize delivery or pick up of the goods, she explained, but as the virtual store rolls out, that may change as well.
“We may have one place (where customers) can pick up their purchases or have a distribution centre – that’s still in the works. We will figure out how to do … this with good social distancing practices.”
One added benefit to an online store for the CVFM is the ability to reach customers who may otherwise not be able to make it to the physical market on Saturday mornings. Skinner said people who work weekends can’t make it, but the online store is now a way for more people to support local farmers through technology.
The site will be able to accept payment through debit and credit cards, and pre-orders can also be picked up at the market.
Currently, the physical market accepts cash in addition to contactless payment, but Skinner noted they are hoping to reduce cash payments.
The online CVFM store is set to begin shortly; Skinner said to follow their social media outlets or www.cvfm.ca for the exact opening date and more information.