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Customers in search of food turn to local farms amid pandemic

March 22, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — While grocery stores are struggling to restock their shelves, Hoosiers are turning to local farmers to get essentials delivered straight to their fridge.

Carmel-based Market Wagon is a food delivery service connecting consumers and farmers.

The company says their number of orders quadrupled in the last week. In a normal week, Market Wagon sees about 300-400 orders.

“Our reception area is not normally filled with boxes of food. But we had to make use of every square inch of space we have here,” said co-founder and CEO Nick Carter.

Market Wagon is an online farmers market that started in 2016. Customers shop more than 800 products from nearly 50 local vendors and pay a flat delivery fee of $5.95.

The company delivers food on Thursdays, but given the demand due to the coronavirus threat, the company says they’re starting Tuesday delivery in addition.

“Last week was just crazy for us. We somehow managed to deliver all the orders, but it wasn’t sustainable,” added Carter.

To keep up with demand, Market Wagon has now hired more than 50 new temporary workers.

“Most of them are coming from food service,” Carter said.

The company is taking extra cleaning precautions inside their warehouse, but they’re also practicing social distancing. Farmers who drop off their food for delivery now have to do so one at a time.

“They’re waiting in a line outside for their turn to come in,” said Carter.

With farmers markets closed and grocery stores seeing an increase in shoppers, Carter said the company is doing everything they can to keep healthy food inside their customers’ homes.

“Delivery is important at this time. But we also have the food. Customers found local farms have the milk, eggs and bread that they want,” said Carter.