Farmers launch Finnish-style REKO Market

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Under the concept, each week, small-scale, sustainable farmers and producers post available products to a public Facebook group, managing their own sales from comments or their online stores. REKO markets offer a half-hour or hourlong pickup window. Courtesy Green Wagon

Green Wagon Farm is rolling out a Facebook sales model for its farmers market, which is launching this week.

The farm in Ada said the REKO Market concept was developed in Finland and has been “mostly unheard of” in the U.S., but because of the pandemic, the idea is gaining traction.

Under the concept, each week, small-scale, sustainable farmers and producers post available products to a public Facebook group, managing their own sales from comments or their online stores. REKO markets offer a half-hour or hourlong pickup window.

Starting this week, Green Wagon is launching two weekly REKOs via separate Facebook groups — one in Ada and one in Holland.

Heather Anderson, farm manager at Green Wagon, said she and her colleagues first heard of the concept at the Northern Michigan Farm Conference in 2019 from Swedish farmer Richard Perkins.

“There are so many great things about REKO for the consumer, but for us, the presale market is efficient, eliminates wasted product we might have at the end of a slow day at the farmers market, and requires virtually no setup or tear down,” she said.

For the consumer, it brings market shopping into the digital age, allows for planning and shopping to be done from home and accelerates the pickup time to a short weekly errand instead of a half-day event. In the days of COVID-19, avoiding congested grocery stores, supporting local businesses and finding a one-stop pickup for a variety of staple goods has been on a lot of minds, Anderson said.

Until further notice, the REKO Market will be set up for no-contact pickup, and shoppers and producers will be required to practice social distancing and wear masks. Pre-payment options are available for most vendors.

The current list of vendors can be found at rekomarket.com and includes bakeries and a local ice cream shop, in addition to farms producing vegetables, meats, eggs, tea, herbs, honey, maple syrup, cornmeal, wool and locally made compost.

Availability will be posted weekly on the Facebook group; producers might not attend every single week and will require different ordering deadlines, which can be found on the Facebook group pages.

Market shoppers must place their orders prior to the deadline and pick up their prepackaged orders within the pickup window.

The first two REKO Markets are 3-3:30 p.m. Thursday at The Community Church at 7239 Thornapple River Drive SE in Ada, and noon to 1 p.m. in Holland at the Holland Town Center, 12330 James St.

Green Wagon Farm plans to continue the new market concept year-round.

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