100 Mile Markets Online Farmer’s Market Opens Pickup Points in Norwalk

NORWALK — 100 Mile Markets brings the farmer’s market experience to people’s homes.

Founded by a team of four environmental enthusiasts, including Norwalk resident Elise Gilchrist, the company serves as an online farmers’ market with new pick-up locations in East and South Norwalk.

Customers can purchase bundles or specific items online and collect the goods from one of the two Norwalk storefronts later in the week. All items are from a 100-mile radius of the pick-up location, Gilchrist said.

“The idea is we go to an area and find smallholder farmers, ranchers, food companies, people who make great granolas, salsas, pasta sauces and put them on one easy-to-use website,” Gilchrist said. “We have great, local food, super high quality, healthy. People want to access it, but it can be hard to find unless you find time to go to the local farmers markets.”

100 Mile Markets eliminates the need to attend a local farmers’ market, and instead allows residents to access the produce on their schedule, Gilchrist said.

Customers order their products, ranging from produce to meats, milk, ready meals, pastries and coffee, on Mondays and receive delivery or pick them up on Thursday at one of two locations in Norwalk.

100 Mile Markets only operates in Norwalk, but plans to reopen its Saratoga, NY, location and expand into Westport, Massachusetts, according to the market.

“Our first location was in Saratoga, NY. We recently put that on hiatus, but will be reopening soon,” said Gilchrist. “We started one and picked one in Massachusetts, mainly while we’re early in the business and looking for areas that we have personal connections with.”

Norwalk made sense for Gilchrist as a starting point, as she has lived in the city for two years. One of the company’s founders, Rita Higgins, is from Saratoga, Gilchrist said.

Although the company had been up and running for a few months, the idea had been years in the making, Gilchrist said.

The first pickup location in Norwalk was at the Harbor Harvest restaurant and market on Cove Avenue in East Norwalk. The Harbor Harvest pick-up location has been in operation for about two months, Gilchrist said.

“It took time to work out the operations and parts and build relationships with suppliers, but we work with up to 30 local vendors, small farms and businesses within 100 miles of Norwalk and probably almost all of them within 20 miles,” Gilchrist said.

This month, 100 Mile Markets partnered with sustainability store, cafe and event space Eco Evolution on Washington Street in South Norwalk to offer a second takeout location in the city.

“The couple who own and run (Harbor Harvest) when I contacted me and talked about the idea immediately supported me,” Gilchrist said. “If you live in East Norwalk or more toward Westport, Harbor Harvest is great for you, but South Norwalk residents can walk to Eco Evolution.”

Harbor Harvest and Eco Evolution did not respond to requests for comment about the partnership.

Because produce and produce is collected from local farmers, some available items will change and be seasonal, Gilchrist said.

One of the benefits of purchasing from 100 Mile Markets is that the business model ensures that no food waste is generated, Gilchrist said.

“Farmers pick fresh what they get that week. Some vendors make fresh produce. If you buy baked goods, maybe they’ll be baked on the day they’re picked up, and then the coffee will be roasted,” Gilchrist said. “The cool part of the model and the reason we’re doing it this way is partly the seasonality. We wanted to be able to change and update the inventory regularly, but it also means absolutely no wastage across the system. Vendors only issue ​what has been ordered.”

Abigail Brone can be reached at abigail.brone@hearstmediact.com.

Leave a Comment