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Shop Small And Local Year-Round With The East End Food Institute's Virtual Farmers Market

Sydney A. Braat

There's many options that will satisfy your sweet tooth, including Squared GF. (Photo: Patricia Conforti)

Shopping small and local this year is more important than ever. Small businesses are hurting with in-person shopping reduced significantly. With COVID cases continuing to rise nationwide, East End Food Institute is pleased to help strengthen the local food system by launching a year-round Virtual Farmers Market. It will benefit local farmers, food and beverage producers, and makers of artisanal goods. Any East End local can easily purchase locally-grown and made goods for pickup or home delivery beginning on Saturday, November 28 - which is known as "Small Business Saturday."

To begin your order, community members should visit www.localline.ca and create an account. All orders must be made by Thursday at noon for that Saturday's delivery/pick-up. The market will feature local produce, pantry items, beverages, spice blends, pastries, health and wellness products, and gifts. The items featured will grow weekly, so be sure to keep up with the website before items sell out!

Herbal Salves Sweet Woodland Farms. (Photo: Rachel Stephens)

"East End Food Institute has taken the time to do good research on setting up a virtual market that allows more independence to vendors," said Aki Goldberg of Aki's Kitchen, a local business that sells soups, salads and sweets. "During this very trying time when we're not able to have an indoor market, finding a new way for the vendors to sell deserves a compliment."

The Virtual Farmers Market initially launched in March 2020 as a rapid response to the pandemic and closure of many local businesses. At the time, East End Food Institute on boarded over twenty vendors and transitioned the Riverhead Indoor Farmers Market to their virtual platform. It was truly a group effort that saved many businesses from going under. With the surge of East End residents this summer in response to COVID-19, producers were fortunately able to meet or exceed their usual income at seasonal outdoor farmers markets.

"As the weather gets colder, some farmers markets and farm stands will shutdown for the season," noted Kate Fullam, Executive Director of East End Food Institute. "We know the local food economy will need another way to easily reach customers, and with more people staying home, the option for delivery to the doorstep is advantageous."

East End Food Institute's Pickled Carrots. (Photo: Heather Meehan)

Local deliveries will be made thanks to recently a secured refrigerated van that will help them better serve community members and keep food fresh as distribution continues to scale up.

"The Virtual Farmers Market will give [us] an opportunity to engage an entirely new audience, and win over some fans, leading into the wintertime," said Stephen Robinson, founder and CEO of Hamptons Sourdough, a bread-baking startup that is quickly becoming a premier brand in the Hamptons. "We are excited to share some of our special seasonal offerings as well!"

For more information and to make your weekly orders, visit www.localline.ca.

Sydney Braat is a Hamptons-raised and NYC-living journalist. She enjoys splitting her time between the bustling city life and relaxing atmosphere of the Hamptons. When she's not writing, Sydney is traveling. She thrives off of new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and languages. Sydney writes about the arts, philanthropy, food & wine, and shopping. https://www.sosydneyny.com/ sydneybraat

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