ST. THOMAS — The St. Thomas Locally Grown Online Farmers Market has reopened for the fall season and was distributing orders Thursday in Frenchtown.
“We’re excited, this is a small market, but it’s an important opportunity for the growers we work with,” Shelli Brin, a farmer with Que Sera Farms,, said.
The market began as the pandemic began to affect business for the territory’s growers in March 2020.
“Farmers had lost the restaurant market, and they had a lot of produce, and this was the right model to keep the community supplied with fresh produce,” Brin said.
All produce sold on the online market is grown locally and organically, without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
“If someone wants to sell banana bread, then the ingredients, such as the bananas, must come from the Virgin Islands,” Brin said.
As supply chains have been interrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brin said the market has a role in fighting against food insecurity.
“Importing a majority of our food is a vulnerability, so this is an opportunity for customers to tap into eating more locally,” Brin said.
This season, the market is selling goods from 18 different producers with hopes to include more St. Croix and St. John producers.
“It’s a really great market for growers because it’s not time consuming, in terms of having to be there and man a stall,” Brin said.
A variety of fruits, vegetables, eggs, jams, beverages and soaps are available for purchase, depending on what is in season.
Market coordinator Julia Lauren helps growers and customers through the ordering process.
“Some of our growers are not tech savvy, so the market coordinator has been taking orders over the phone,” Brin said.
Customers also benefit from the harvest-to-order model, as they can access produce that might not be available at a typical market stand. “Growers bring whatever they can carry, store,” Brin said.
Customers can place orders online from Saturday morning to Wednesday evening, and pick up their orders from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Thursdays at the Gustave Quetel Fish Market in Frenchtown.
The first two orders are free, and then customers are asked to pay a $25 membership fee for the year.
The market accepts cash, Venmo and checks, as well as Local Produce Coupons provided by the Women, Infant and Children program.
For more information, or to place an order, visit stt.locallygrown.net.