New websites are striving to be national online farmers' markets. In an age where knowing your farmer is a wanted quality, they might be on to something. Home Grown Cow
at first looks like another website trying to sell items, competing with Amazon.com. But its product offering is much different than most websites: It is all food sourced to the processor. You can select beef, chicken, pork, lamb, goat, buffalo/bison, cheese, or other products; check the farm practices and sizes you're interested in; and see if any products are available to meet you wants. Want to buy local? You can. Want to buy distant? You can do that, too. But what if you want to sell? For farmers, that is what Home Grown Cow
is all about. If you've been looking to expand a direct marketing presence nationwide, but don't want the overhead of managing a website yourself, it looks like your profile is about as easy as setting up a Facebook or email account. You can check it out at HomeGrownCow.com.
Another online farmers market is http://www.foodzie.com/. There you can also shop by category, region, or brand, but that website has products like wine and other processed products. It doesn't appear there is a simple way for farmers to list their food either. A third competitor is not yet online at http://farmersmarket.com/. An emerging market
Farmers markets themselves are still growing in popularity, so we wonder how far these websites could go. If farmers adopt them (rather than focusing much time, energy, and money on their own direct-sale website), there could be another outlet for direct sale of food. It would be interesting if some of the larger farmers markets in the country started offering their exhibitors' products for sale over the web. Rather than Saturday from 8 to noon, farmers markets (and their vendors) could be monetizing 24/7/365 (and shoppers could be in their underwear). Or, will those who use the farmers markets miss the personal interaction enough to stay away from the Internet? As with all online technology, the sky is the limit. Have you tried an online farmers market? Would you be willing to sell on one?