The western Morris County area is rich with farms and farm-grown food. Unfortunately, not everyone knows where – or how – to get the variety of goods from the farm to their dinner table.
Now a system is in place, online, to help families do just that. It’s called eatlocalnj.com and was created by a group of local farmers and families over the past few months.
Including farmers, artisans and businesses from Long Valley, Chester, Hopatcong, Chatham, Far Hills and other towns within a short drive, eatlocalnj.com puts a wide variety of products – from farm-grown meat and poultry and dairy to sweets and wheat – in one place for the online shopper.
Customers place their orders before 11:59 p.m. Thursday and have their goods available for pick-up on Tuesdays between 4 and 6 p.m. at Totten Family Farm on Naughright Road in Long Valley.
As the website’s vendor program expands and more customers join the program, considerations for a second pick-up location – specifically at the Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe in Chester, which is a vendor in the program – will be weighed.
The website, which was founded by Kimarie Santiago, owner of vendor Saltopia, states that the program will make deliveries within a 15-mile radius of the Naughright Road farm, including Mt. Olive, Hackettstown, Mendham, Chester, Tewksbury and surrounding areas.
“(Santiago) started the program because, like so many other residents in the area, wanted her family to eat healthy and feed her kids the right foods,” said Cheryl Berger, owner of the Sweet Spot Bake Shoppe.
The website started with a half dozen regular customers, and now sees more than 100 potential customers receiving weekly updates from the online marketplace.
What separates the online farm from area CSA – Community Supported Agriculture – opportunities is its supermarket like accessibility. Rather than pay money up front for a season-long program with limits on the variety of fruits and vegetables available, customers can choose just about any product – including soaps and skincare products – they would otherwise find in a grocery store.
With the winter months hampering produce production, eatlocalnj.com is operating on a bi-weekly basis, but will go back to weekly as the temperatures warm up. The team that processes orders and coordinates pick up and delivery is made up of volunteers from the area. The site has an option for others to become involved in the team as well.