When the Indianapolis-based online food ordering and delivery service Market Wagon pulled out of Evansville in late 2021 and Elbert’s Natural Food Market closed in 2022, Scott Anderson, owner of APE Aquaponics and the upcoming Cosmo’s Bistro, saw an opportunity that would benefit local producers and consumers alike.
Local Source is an aggregator and online marketplace of Tri-State-grown and produced food products. Officially launched on April 5, the service has been in the works with local producers for several years, with Anderson about a year ago joining efforts with Kristi and Tim Schulz, owners of Evansville Countryside Orchard, and Mary and Roger Winstead, owners of Beautiful Edibles.
“(Local Source) gives us a chance to get our product out to a large number of people that we might not have the opportunity to do otherwise,” says Anderson, who will retire from his role as program coordinator for computer science at the University of Southern Indiana in 2023. “For instance, the product that I offer on the shopping cart app is aquaponically grown lettuces. I sell those to some of the local restaurants, but there weren’t any real outlets to try and get that product out to individual customers.”
Localsourceswi.com hosts the digital shopping cart that allows users to place orders for fresh produce and goods on a week-to-week cycle. Orders can be placed until 11:55 p.m. on Tuesday nights, producers deliver to Anderson’s food hub — overseen by Caroline Koenig, formerly a manager at Elbert’s — at 111 S.E. Third St. on Thursday mornings, and users can pick up their orders from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday.
Local Source already has about 17 producers and 100 regular customers who only pay the price of the products; there are no membership fees. Anderson says the group doesn’t have plans to expand outside the Tri-State but would like to open pick-up locations on Evansville’s West, East, and North Sides, as well as Newburgh, Indiana.
“We’re advertising product that gets picked the day before pick-ups,” he says. “You just can’t get any fresher than that.”