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App helps farmers get their fresh products in more people's hands

As the COVID-19 pandemic takes a lot of business away from farmers, a new app called Market Wagon is trying to help them expand their reach.

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy for farmers. Many struggled to run their business on top of the already difficult responsibilities of running a farm.

"It never stops. Feeding, bedding, animal care, comfort and then coming over here and bottling milk," said Brant Stooksbury, Owner of Stooksbury Dairy Creamery.

It's a full-time job that Brant Stooksbury and his family have been doing for over 30 years.

"I have been raised on this dairy farm my whole life my dad started milking cows in 1986," said Stooksbury.

He decided not only to milk the cows but to also bottle their own milk and sell it once he took over the farm. Once the pandemic hit, empty shelves became the norm and Stooksbury Dairy Creamery had high demand. However, they had no way to deliver fresh milk to consumers who wanted it.

"I can't distribute milk quickly enough, or to far enough places," said Stooksbury. "If you are two or three counties over, I can probably never get to you."

Market Wagon helped him sell the milk his farm produces and get through the COVID-19 pandemic. Their mission is to help local farmers get their products in the hands of real people, said CEO Nick Carter.

"Our goal is giving farmers and food artisans direct access to the consumers who want to buy their food," Carter said.

The app isn't just about buying fresh produce from home. It also allows farmers to build relationships with their customers, without the face-to-face conversations they’re used to.

"We're establishing the same kind of connections that they would like to have at a farmers' market people, like following their favorite vendors," said Carter. "We can receive updates as a social experience, you can chat and message back and forth directly with the farmers."

Stooksbury said the app could help provide a way forward and help him maintain the foundation of their work that they've spent years working toward.

"It'll just keep helping my family be able to live and run this business," Stooksbury said.