Boulder County Farmers Markets will offer curbside pickup of produce, eggs and other goods year-round and will launch a home delivery service in Denver with the hope of expanding to Boulder County in the future.
The market began curbside pickup in April as a replacement for the first farmers market of the season being unable to open because of the coronavirus pandemic. When fewer COVID-19 cases and less-restrictive public health measures allowed in-person markets to resume, curbside pickup remained — and will now be offered year-round, even as in-person markets close for the season.
“It’s really an outcome of COVID,” said Executive Director Brian Coppom. “We have been talking about a food hub concept for a while, this idea of how do we expand support for local growers, what infrastructure is needed to do that. COVID forced us to do it, and now we are looking at what opportunities there are.”
While curbside pickup was meant to provide a safe way for people to access local produce amid the pandemic, it’s also opened up more opportunities, Coppom said. For example, people who might not be able to come to a farmers market on the weekend can instead go to the pickup on a Thursday or Sunday.
Boulder County Farmers Markets have been vital to local farmers like Steve Cockroft, of Croft Family Farm in Kersey. The farm was shifting away from a Community Supported Agriculture program and focusing more on supplying downtown Denver restaurants when the pandemic hit, and eateries closed their doors.
“I think in several ways the Boulder County Farmers Market has been a lifesaver,” Cockroft said.
By continuing to offer curbside pickup through the winter, the market will keep producers like Croft Family Farm connected with customers. When coronavirus hit, the farm was relying on Denver restaurants for 60 to 70% of its business, and now Cockroft is resetting his marketing strategy altogether.
“Our hats are off to the Boulder County Farmers Markets for what they’ve done with curbside pickup and everything they’ve done to help farmers,” Cockroft said. “We’ve really needed something like that to keep going.”
Curbside pickup also opened up the Boulder County Farmers Markets to new suppliers, both those who often focus on wholesale distribution and those who aren’t able to be at the physical farmers markets every week, Coppom said. Through pickup, the market now sells Bow & Arrow cornmeal, made from corn grown by members of the Ute Mountain Tribe in southwestern Colorado.
Boulder County Farmers Markets will also offer home delivery in Denver starting Monday through local delivery company Bondadosa. Delivery will cost $9.99 and is available within 12 miles of Bondadosa’s warehouse in RiNo. Ordering windows begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday and close at noon Thursday.
Coppom said starting home delivery with the Denver area is the best way to test out the new partnership and not risk disappointing customers by trying to do too much, too soon.
“Our intention is to grow from there, to expand that into Boulder, Longmont and potentially even up north,” he said.
To place an order for pickup or delivery, visit bcfm.org. There is a $4.99 charge for curbside pickup.