Farmers Market Delivery Service Bringing Market to Masses

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COLUMBIA - Business partners Patrick Gorgen and Amber Fisher came together in September to form a specialized delivery service called First Pick. The only delivery service of its type in Columbia, it delivers the fresh produce and meats from the Columbia Farmers Market to those who either can't appear in person or have never experienced the market before.

Amber Fisher, co-founder of First Pick, said the pair started the business to give the residents of Columbia better access to local, sustainable foods while also supporting Missouri's local farms.

She also said their business process is partly derived from the service's namesake.

"We wake up every Saturday morning for the Columbia Farmers Market, and we get there right when it opens to guarantee our customers the freshest, most wholesome pick of the day. We then collect everybody's orders, and that's pretty much the process," Fisher said.

Partner Patrick Gorgen told KOMU 8 News that the service's sole source of revenue is its delivery and convenience fee.

"Per delivery, we make $8 profit. That's the delivery and convenience fee that we charge. But then Paypal, who is our e-commerce affiliate on the website, they take a portion of the overall total price of the groceries. So depending on that, its normally a few dollars that's taken out of that so we average $6 profit per order," Gorgen said.

Despite this, Gorgen assured that First Pick is making a profit as there has been no limit as of yet to the amount of orders received in a day.

The Columbia Farmers Market has favorably received the service and its purpose.

Mark Mahnken of Missouri Legacy Beef, who sells at the market, said that the service benefits all parties involved.

"The farmers... that increases our business, too. Then many people who maybe have not tried our product, after they tried First Pick might come here and buy from us. So, it's a great opportunity for both the farmer and the consumer," Manhken said.

Farmer Dan Pugh of Honey Creek Farm, another seller at the market, said that First Pick also helps more people overall due to buying from multiple vendors at the market.

"They're going... they're spreading around to lots of different vendors...its not just going to one or two vendors, but several vendors. And giving them more exposure. I think as they grow and get more customers, it'll only help," Pugh said.

According to Amber Fisher, she and Patrick Gorgen are currently First Pick's only employees. But with increasing demand and the approach of winter, the two have not ruled of the possibility of hiring more employees.