Tahlequah Daily Press

March 1, 2013

Farmers’ Market offers online product sales, eyes expansion

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — In Cherokee County, farming has collided with technology, creating an opportunity for patrons of the Tahlequah Farmers’ Market to buy items during winter months.

According to TFM Vice President Linda Johnson, of Single Loop Farms, the online endeavor is up and running.

“We have eggs, ground beef, different yarns, homemade dog biscuits and honey available for purchase online,” said Johnson. “We’re experiencing some success with the online sales, and hope it continues.”

Those interested in buying products should visit tahlequah.locallygrown.net, and follow the on-screen directions for placing an order. Vendors meet at Norris Park every two weeks for patrons to pick up orders.

According to Johnson, the next pick-up date is Saturday, March 9, and orders can be made through March 7.

“We’re thinking about having a year-round online market for people who can’t make it to the regular market in the park,” said Johnson. “We’re trying to work out details now for incorporating a delivery service, because not everyone can make down on Saturdays.”

Heaven Sent Food and Fiber owners Coleen Thornton and Sue Ricelli provide the online market with eggs, honey, soaps and yarn.

“The online sales this year have been less than what we’d hoped,” said Thornton. “It happened so quickly, we didn’t get much time to market and advertise. But we’re thinking of offering it online year-round, which I think is a great idea.”

Thornton said TFM also offers a wholesale online option.

“This would be great for chefs or schools,” said Thornton.

At the farm southeast of Tahlequah, Thornton and Ricelli have all kinds of animals – including bees, chickens, alpacas, goats, pigs, and Harry, the guard llama.

“The goats and bees provide milk and honey, which we also make soap from,” said Thornton. “We have 86 retail outlets carrying our soap, including some in Tahlequah.”

Honey production this year has been tough, according to Thornton.

“Right now, the regulations are really tough,” said Thornton. “To produce honey for sale, you have to have a commercial kitchen. But there’s a bill – Senate Bill 716 – that may relax some of those regulations, if passed. It makes sense, because honey is low risk [to produce]. It’s anti-microbial, and we produce it raw with very low filtering.”


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