A new “contactless” market has opened up for local farmers, food producers, and their customers.
It’s called a REKO Market, and while it appears to be common across the Atlantic, it’s starting to gather popularity here in the states.
The acronym REKO, said co-organizer Julie Kintzi, stands for rejäl konsumtion (Swedish) or reilua kuluttamista (Finnish), which means “fair consumption.”
“My interpretation of that, and the reason why I pursued this concept, is to make it easier for farmers and producers like bakers to sell directly to consumers,” said Kintzi, who herself sells pre-ordered turkeys for the holidays.
The idea to start the market here in the ‘Claw came from, what else, the COVID-19 pandemic; “It was uncertain if farmers markets would start this year or what they would look like,” Kintzi continued, adding the market opened on Facebook in mid-May. “Our plan is to keep this going at least until November of this year… Depending on how successful this is, we may continue next year.”
Lorraine Larsson of Larsson’s Delectable Delights, one of the regular REKO producers, said she and her husband normally sell their items at farmer’s markets, but “we like the ‘safety’” of this online market.
“Several weeks in, we’ve established some regular customers and it’s fun to see them every Saturday afternoon,” she continued. “I’m finally getting to a place where I’m able to recognize them by their vehicles!”
Shopping at the market is simple, and you start by becoming a member of the Enumclaw REKO Market Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/528024898100679/.
Once a member, users can see producers post various items for sale like fresh greens and veggies, but also cheese, baked goods, and pre-made salads.
Users then post their order in the comment section of the post with an email so the producers can contact them for payment. Orders are due noon on Fridays.
“Each producer has their own payment system,” Kintzi said. “That’s what makes it easy, at least for the producers.”
Once the products are ordered and paid for, users then visit Fantello Creamery (39719 236th Ave S.E. Enumclaw) between 2 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday to pick up their order.
“People literally just drive up and they don’t get out of their car, which is another reason why it’s so COVID-friendly,” Kintzi continued.
The Facebook page already has more than 1,100 members, but Kintzi warned the REKO Market can’t survive on interest alone.
“It’s one thing to sign up — people get excited and they sign up for something — but they don’t necessarily participate. In order to keep this going, in order to justify it for the producers, we really need more people to buy,” she said. “We have our loyal customers that buy every week, and we really appreciate them.”
While the local businesswoman wouldn’t argue that REKO Markets are more or less successful than traditional farmer’s markets, there are some perks to doing everything over Facebook and only supplying what’s been sold.
“We’re not financially invested like we would be at a farmer’s market, where it takes quite a bit of work to get it started — I know this, because I helped start the Enumclaw Plateau Farmer’s Market,” Kintzi said. “We have room for both, especially right now.”
Like a farmer’s market, though, you know that the food you’re getting is from licensed farmers and producers.
“There are no hobby farms. We are all legitimate businesses,” she continued. “All the farmers and producers come into this knowing what regulations they have to follow.”
It should be noted that the Enumclaw REKO Market Facebook page removes posts after orders are completed and the week is finished, in order to cause no confusion as to what products are being offered in the current week.