Superior Seasons Farmer’s Market supports small producers

Superior Seasons Farmer’s Market was started in 2010 by Jodi and Kevin Belluz to provide the local food and farm community with an affordable option for the online distribution of their products.  The service initially offered customers a twice-weekly ordering cycle through the online store, and has more recently opened a retail location in Goods & Co. Market, a shopping mall in Thunder Bay’s north core.

Evalisa McIllfaterick has been growing fresh produce and organic certified garden seed at Root Cellar Gardens since 2015.  She’s been using Superior Seasons Farmer’s Market as her main distribution channel for her vegetables since her first harvest.

“Their system is really easy for a small producer like me to use,” she said.  “It offers an incredible combination of ease and autonomy.  I manage my own inventory and receive an email in advance of each distribution day that lists what’s been sold, and then I deliver my product twice a week to Belluz.”

On distribution days, Superior Seasons staff assemble customer orders and deliver them either to pickup locations or directly to their customers, leaving producers like Evalisa with more time to focus on growing vegetables.  “Working with Superior Seasons reduces time spent on sales.  It’s great for a smaller producer like me,” she said.

Evalisa said the service also helps build awareness, among both customers and the farm community.  Having her product listed beside other local foods increases exposure for her brand, helping to grow her business.  “It’s also an incredible community-building tool,” she said.  Producers can find new ways to work together by seeing what others have available on the site, and product drop-offs at Belluz often result in casual conversations with other producers to share news.

The new retail location has also been a boon for community awareness.  Like the online store, Superior Seasons Farmer’s Market offers a large selection of seasonal products to showcase the abundance and variety of local food available in Thunder Bay, helping customers to discover new products and learn more about the local farm community.