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Northwest Farm Fresh adds app

Fans of Northwest Farm Fresh can shop directly from the local online farmers market via their smartphones and other mobile devices.

The year-round, Web-based farmers market has a new app that gives customers another way to shop remotely. It’s available to download for free at iTunes and Google Play stores.

Adding an app was “the natural next step” for Northwest Farm Fresh, said founder, owner and manager Shelly Stevens, who launched the Spokane branch of her business last fall. The app combines mobile trends with increased demand for locally produced food, she said.

Based in Chewelah, Wash., Northwest Farm Fresh aims to make it easier for farmers to connect with consumers.

Shoppers place their orders online in the week leading up to the pickup day, paying in person when they retrieve their groceries, many of which are organic.

Products must be grown or raised within 100 miles of the Chewelah and Spokane pickup locations.

Farmers – there are more than 60 – don’t have to pay to participate, and there are no joining fees for customers, either.

Farmers update the website weekly, adding descriptions and photographs of new items, such as organic produce, grass-fed meats, pastured eggs, Grade A raw cow’s and goat’s milk, and freshly baked breads. They set their own prices, and the software automatically adds a 30-percent markup, Stevens said.

At the end of the ordering period, farmers receive an itemized list via email, then deliver their goods Tuesday morning. Stevens sorts them for pickup Tuesday afternoon.

She helped start the traditional farmers market in Chewelah in 2008. She founded Northwest Farm Fresh three years later. The site went live in March 2012.