Local residents Jonathan Sitko, left, and Brad Berry recently launched an online grocery store.

Local residents Jonathan Sitko, left, and Brad Berry recently launched an online grocery store.

Photo provided by Brad Berry

Locally grown food is an option close to home

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published July 23, 2020


OAKLAND COUNTY — Food preferences for metro Detroit residents can run the gamut, depending on taste and lifestyle.

For those who have a preference for locally grown food, there are some options, including the Oakland County Farmers Market in Waterford, which operates from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The market provides grower-direct fresh produce, flowers and hand-made goods, according to the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Division.

“Vendors showcase their products via indoor and outdoor stalls. Red Wood Grill provides on-site BBQ fare. … Nutrition and health programs are hosted by Michigan State University Extension and Master Gardeners, as well as the Oakland Conservation District and the Oakland County Health Division,” according to the market’s website.

Brad Berry, who grew up in West Bloomfield, along with his business partner, Jonathan Sitko, launched Farmstop, an online grocery store.

Farmstop’s distribution center is located in Livonia, where orders can be picked up.

Delivery is also available for residents of Oakland and Wayne counties. Macomb County may be serviced in the future.

“Farmstop is a full-service, online grocery store,” Berry said. “Essentially, we want to be able to provide people with access to local products and local goods. So we’re working directly with farmers in the area, as well as local producers for a lot of our dry goods. … We’re trying to find a way for people to have access to a lot of specialty goods in the metro Detroit area.”

The localization of the products is perhaps the biggest selling point for both Berry and Sitko.

“By working with local farmers, we’re able to localize a lot of our food system. Not only that, but support local businesses, local farmers and strengthen our local food system,” Berry said.

According to Berry, 1% of Farmstop’s income will be donated to the Detroit Black Farmer Land Fund, which he said “basically helps farmers in Detroit reclaim and buy the land they’re actually growing on.”

“I think it’s important that businesses engage in more conscious behavior, in terms of their ethics and values,” Berry said. “It’s this idea of how a local food system not only means buying local, but re-investing in those farmers you are hoping to buy from or will be buying from, and watch them grow alongside with you.”

Sitko said connecting with local farmers has been among his favorite things about starting Farmstop.

“We’ve seen just an extraordinary outpouring of interest and support from the community, which I did think would be there, just not so much, so fast.”

For more information, visit farmstop.co.