Keena Tracy of Little Ridge Farm is also the site manager for the new Little Ridge FarmDrop in Lisbon, a collective of farmers and bakers where customers place orders online and pick up weekly in a contact-free method at Tracy’s farm. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LISBON — Forage’s Everything bagels. Grass fed beef. Organic baby romaine. Cinnamon-scented goat milk.

All a bundled click away and ready for Friday pickup.

FarmDrop, started five years ago Downeast as a sort of virtual farmers market, opened a Lisbon site, Little Ridge FarmDrop, two weeks ago to an instantly warm reception: orders grew from 35 families to 64 from week one to week two, according to site manager Keena Tracy.

“Of course right now with this virus, people are afraid to go to the grocery store or it’s complicated,” she said. “With FarmDrop, there’s no line, there’s virtually no contact. For other people, they’re just excited they can get a lot of local, quality produce from people they would normally shop from at the farmers market and they can’t access that right now.”

FarmDrop, founded by Hannah Semler and Kelin Welborn, has six locations around Maine —  Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Unity, Mount Desert Island, Blue Hill and now Lisbon — each with a mostly-local mix of vendors.

Semler, who’s also CEO, said it’s helping fill a need now during COVID-19 food system disruptions. Sales are up, on average, 500% compared to this time last year.

“We are also looking to expand on FarmDrop’s food security mission by piloting for EBT customers to gain access to our service in these difficult times,” she said. “We can do this together.”

Little Ridge FarmDrop’s 14 vendors so far include the downtown eatery Forage, with its breads and bagels, lettuce from Lisbon’s Springworks Farm, honey from Glacier Farm in Dresden and hummus, veggie burgers and soups from Winthrop’s Cranberry Rock Farm.

There’s even a line of goat milk soap in scents like cinnamon, peppermint and patchouli lime, from Copper Tail Farm in Waldoboro.

“This week we added Maine Mushroom Co. for mushrooms,” Tracy said. “Hopefully next week I’m adding a brewery from Auburn, and I really want to add some sort of seafood and fish. Of course, everyone would like eggs but eggs are sort of a laughable proposition, they’re impossible to find right now.”

The weekly online order window for customers stretches from Saturday morning to Wednesday night. Vendors bring everything needed to Tracy’s Little Ridge Farm on Gould Road by noon on Friday. She pulls orders together and drops them in customer’s trunks when they pull up Friday evening.

For an additional fee, there’s also local delivery.

Tracy’s organizer, pickup point and supplier, growing almost everything but Brussels sprouts on her organic farm, along with grass fed beef and pork.

Nadia Rioux and her husband, Neal, of Leeds, had already been community supported agriculture members of Tracy’s farm when they signed up for FarmDrop.

“The chance to add on to Keena’s bounty with incredible cheeses, jams, bagels, chicken and other little gems from local businesses felt like finding a lucky treasure,” Rioux said. “Being able to support our local economy while at the same time securing access to nutritious, fresh food is something that we should all be taking advantage of.”

She said she plans to keep up with FarmDrop even after the pandemic passes. Tracy has heard several customers say the same.

“I’ve had some people comment that they weren’t really shop local before and now they are,” she said. “They didn’t realize how much diverse local produce there was in the area, so that’s exciting for us.”


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