By Tom Collins
OTTAWA A new online farmers market is proving tough to start.
The Savour Ottawa Online website located at www.savourottawaonline.ca is getting plenty of traffic, but few are placing orders, which is the toughest challenge, said co-ordinator Jordan Bouchard. Savour Ottawa Online, which launched in September, had 14 farmers on board last month prepared to supply a vast range of products that includes apples, sauces, firewood and beef boxes but only 10 customers were placing weekly orders “in a good week.”
Customers place an order by Sunday night, and farmers have a few days to get it ready before they truck it to Ottawas Parkdale Market, where customers pick up their purchases.
The online market is free for farmers who are already Savour Ottawa members annual memberships are $200 for farms with gross sales of more than $50,000, and $100 for farms with gross sales of less than $50,000. Savour Ottawa Online collects 20 per cent of every sale to cover costs.
Savour Ottawa accepts suppliers from the City of Ottawa, the Outaouais, and the counties of Frontenac, Renfrew, Lanark, Leeds-Grenville, Prescott-Russell and Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry.
Bouchard said there have been a few hiccups, but the online market is still in its infancy. Except for a bit of media attention, they havent done any promotion as they are still testing the system.
Bouchard is trying to convince farmers to bundle their products to make a trip into Ottawa more cost-effective. A farmer who sells one $3 cup of yogurt may not think the online market is worth the hassle but its a different matter if the yogurt is sold as a 12-pack.
The Ottawa Valley Food Co-operative, was the first area online market and started delivering in Ottawa a year ago.
“Were just trying to grow the pie,” said Bouchard. “The Ottawa Valley Food Co-op system may work well for a lot of people: its a delivery system, it happens monthly. But maybe for people who want to order weekly, or dont have the freezer space, this might be a little more up their alley.”