It's like Esty, but for locally sourced food.
A new online platform called Forager promises to bring small farmers and buyers together and make the farm-to-table process more efficient.
"More and more people are putting local food on their plates," said Forager CEO David Stone, an entrepreneur in Portland, Maine. The farm-to-table movement "is growing really fast, but the technology hasn't really focused on it yet."
The Forager app allows farmers to update the availability of their crops in real time. Buyers, such as the Rosemont Market in Portland, can browse different farms online, select items to add to their virtual cart, and pay on the platform.
"We're taking all these manual, paper intensive, error-prone processes, and digitizing them," Stone said.
For consumers used to shopping on Amazon, this platform does not sound new or novel. But for small farmers — many of whom still use cash, checks and paper invoices — the app is groundbreaking.
"It's super easy to use," said Sean Hagan, who owns the Left Field Farm in Bowdoinham.
"It just makes everybody's life a lot easier," said John Naylor, co-owner of Rosemont Market.
Naylor said his buyer used to spend several hours each week trying to track down small farmers, organize orders and make payments. Now using the Forager app, he is getting it done in the fraction of that time.
"My buyer is a lot happier," he said.
There are more than 100 farmers in Maine and New Hampshire using Forager, and Stone hopes to expand into the rest of New England and upstate New York. His dream is to make it a national platform.
"We're trying to fuel this local food economy, and by taking away some of the barriers, we think we can actually achieve that," Stone said.
He is no stranger to successful start-ups. Stone co-founded CashStar, a pioneer in the digital gift card industry. He thinks Forager can have an even bigger impact socially, and make locally-sourced food more accessible.