FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — In between rows of growing berry bushes, Nicholas Miller can be found plucking the most ripe of the falling fruit.
“I’m out here picking everyday. Depending on the crops, sometimes twice a day. I pick my raspberries twice a day to keep the bugs and birds from getting them,” Miller said.
As farm manager and agricultural educator, Miller tends to the produce grown at Bar-t Mountainside. The Urbana site is home to campers during the summertime, but the 112-acre property is also home to a farm.
“Right next to me we have sunflowers, so these will be giant sunflowers where their heads are actually for seed,” Miller said with a gesture over his right shoulder, “Next to that is sweet corn and winter squash.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, there aren’t as many campers on-site to feed with the fruits and vegetables grown here, raising fears that pounds of produce would go to waste.
Instead, Miller is selling onions, raspberries and basil through a new platform, Frederick Fresh Online, created by non-profit Community FARE and the Frederick County Food Council.
“We were discussing doing something like this, but in the future,” explained Melanie Smith-Bell with Community FARE, “We realized quickly there was a demand for food and demand for a shopping experience that was ‘Covid-safe,’ that allowed people to maintain distance but get the things that they need and we thought we would start the project now.”
Customers can now shop online for a variety of produce and meats straight from several local farms like Dandelion & Rust, Deer Run, and Mountainside.
On Wednesdays, customer purchases are bagged and available for a contact-free pick-up outside the Mountainside front building.
Miller says the online market brings in revenue while working around his schedule.
“It doesn’t take us sitting at farmer’s markets for four hours every weekend,” Miller said, “We can list exactly what we have available. And it means a lot to be able to have a way to feed the community, to have a way to support people’s desire for fresh, local, flavorful food.”
For more information on Frederick Fresh Online, visit frederickfreshonline.luluslocalfood.com