With the click of a mouse, Ottawa residents can bring the farmers’ market straight to their kitchen tables.
Nick Ashdown, Centretown News
Joanna Zappia, owner of Dolci, a gluten-free bake shop, says her business has expanded since joining FoodiePages.ca.
FoodiePages.ca offers Canadians the chance to purchase specialty food products found at farmers’ markets across Canada.
Erin Maynes, 28-year-old former Ottawa resident and graduate of Lisgar Collegiate, was inspired to create the website after frequent visits to her local farmers’ market enlightened her on the challenges small food producers face.
“It seemed like there was an opportunity to help them expand their reach and awareness and get online selling to customers,” says Maynes, who now lives in Toronto.
Launched in August, with participation from 30 food producers in provinces across Canada, FoodiePages.ca has now grown to offer 73 Canadian producers’ products.
Though Maynes is based in Toronto, the website has expanded across the country.
“I really didn’t want FoodiePages to be viewed as an Ontario or a Toronto market,” says Maynes. “It was really important for me to build out producers from across the country.”
FoodiePages.ca lists small food businesses from British Columbia to New Brunswick. Currently, nine producers listed on the website are located in Ottawa.
Carolina’s Box of Goodness, an Ottawa business based in Lindenlea, was among the 30 original producers who started selling with FoodiePages.ca. It sells gourmet brownies.
“I do everything by myself. I’m the one who cooks, I wrap, I sell, I do everything,” says owner Carolina Foresti. “I thought it was a good opportunity for me to have something act as my marketing agent.”
Listing on the website has allowed her to reach new markets in Toronto and Vancouver. “Without (Erin Maynes) I wouldn’t be selling to those places.”
Foresti started her business this June, selling 100 brownies a week. Now, sales are reaching over 300 brownies a week.
Products sold on the website are shipped to customers through Canada Post.
Apart from FoodiePages.ca, Foresti sells her goods at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market and says she hopes to be selling in local stores by January.
The opportunity to sell products at farmers’ markets is time sensitive. Once the summer season ends, sales can drop by 50 per cent, says Maynes.
With FoodiePages.ca, customers are able to access products online any time of the year.
“It’s like an online farmers’ market really,” says Maynes. “And everyone has their own storefront where they can sell year round.”
Though there is no cost to list on FoodiePages.ca, producers must meet several criteria. Maynes looks for Canadian producers who are passionate about their products and are selling in limited regional distribution.
Joanna Zappia, owner of Dolci, a gluten-free bakeshop based in Nepean, says her business’ market has expanded since joining FoodiePages.ca.
“People are more aware of my business across Canada now,” says Zappia.