Want straight-from-the-farm vegetables or herbs? Or maybe maple syrup, cheese or a fresh-baked pie?
The problem for many consumers who'd like to buy fresh foods directly from the people who produce them is that they can't get to local farmers' markets during their limited, often one-day-a-week hours.
The Westport Farmers Market now is offering a solution -- online shopping and home delivery each Thursday.
The market has partnered with Stamford-based Fresh Nation, which will provide cyber shopping, have a personal shopper hand pick the items at the farmers market, then provide same-day delivery throughout Fairfield County, according to organizers of the initiative.
"We are committed to bringing the freshest and best foods from the Westport Farmers Market to all members of our community," said Lori Cochran, the market executive director.
"With our partnership with Fresh Nation, market vendors are now able to sell online their fresh produce and food products to consumers who don't always have the time to come to the market and shop," she added. "We are thrilled to work with Fresh Nation and offer this new and exciting service to Fairfield County residents."
Fresh Nation, founded in 2012, has about 15 vendors from the Westport market and more than 60 vendors from other farm markets in Fairfield County, according to Carolyn Guss, company spokeswoman.
"Fresh Nation is the only company that is delivering farm-fresh food directly from farmers markets in the area, and nationally, in fact," she said.
"Other fresh food delivery companies often go to the farm, but not to the market," Guss added. "This is a growing trend in farmers markets because there are people who can't make it to market for whatever reason, but really love fresh local food."
Guss said the company delivers to most towns in Fairfield County. A Fresh Nation website asks customers to enter their zip codes to find out the area where deliveries are made.
"Because we purchase in bulk from the farmers market vendors, we are able to get wholesale prices," she said. "We then work hard to ensure the prices on our site are the same as market prices."
Under its partnership with Westport Farmers Market, Fresh Nation's prices are the same as those charged by vendors at the market, which sets up each Thursday in a lot on Imperial Avenue.
Guss said the company employs trained food shoppers to go to the markets and fill customers' online orders. Customers can select items by food type or can see the offerings of specific vendors they know.
"After receiving orders from Fairfield County residents for Thursday's delivery, Fresh Nation fills these orders at the Westport Farmers Market and drives them directly to customers' homes," she said.
A $5 delivery fee is charged on orders of less than $75, Guss said. Delivery is free on orders of $75 or more.
Vendors can join the network with no fees or contracts to sign, Guss said. "We provide a lot of support in getting them set up on the online marketplace," she added.
The Westport Farmers Market is providing direct access to its online store through its website -- www.westportfarmersmarket.com. A listing of web offerings recently included a variety of meats, such as Delmonico and rib eye steaks for $25 a pound, split chicken breasts and chicken sausage at $12 per pound, and lamb ribs or lamb shoulder chops at $15 per pound.
Vegetables include curly organic kale at $3.50 per bunch and organic scallions at $3 per bunch.
There also are baked goods, including a variety of cupcakes, some at $17 per package and others at $13.50 per package, a $7 apple crumb pie and golden Aztec corn bread at $7 per item. Aged feta cheese is $10 per half pound, and free-range eggs cost $6 per dozen.
The Westport Farmers Market, a nonprofit organization, is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Nov. 6 at 50 Imperial Ave.
Visit www.westportfarmersmarket.com or email email@example.com.