AmericanFarm.com

Drive-thru feature boosts business to Del. farm market

By JONATHAN CRIBBS
Associate Editor

BRIDGEVILLE, Del. (Sept. 20, 2016) — Thanks to Katey Evans and her husband Kevin, local produce is now as easy to get as Starbucks coffee or a McDonald’s Big Mac.
You don’t even have to leave your car.
The couple, owners of Evans Farms Produce and The Frozen Farmer, added drive-thru service to their new market facility on Route 404.
The building, which includes a local produce store and The Frozen Farmer, a creamery, opened early last month with the goal of offering local farmers’ market customers an unprecedented convenience: It’s the first market in Delaware to feature a drive-thru.
“A lot of the local customers that used to come in (to our old building) now make us a pit stop on the way home,” Katey said. “Really, the existing demand we had in the old market was the inspiration for the drive-thru in the new market.”
They got the idea for the drive-thru after watching customers shop at their old market, which is just a few yards away from the new facility, she said.
Some customers would be wheelchair-bound or a family would arrive with a car full of sleeping children, and the shop’s employees decided to serve them at their window so they didn’t have to get out.
In the new facility, motorists can simply drive into the general store’s carport, and order from the store’s offerings, which range from local produce, bread, meat and jarred items to milk, ice cream and other dairy selections.
“It’s kind of a sigh of relief for the customer to be able to get it all in one place,” Katey said.
But don’t expect bananas or pineapples.
“Our emphasis here is going to be on keeping it local,” she said.
It’s too soon to tell how much the new building and drive-thru service is boosting business, but it’s having an impact, she said.
“Business has definitely increased since making the move,” she said.
It’s just one way the farm has diversified its offerings.
It also owns and operates a food truck, which it sends to events, including fairs and festivals, almost every weekend, Katey Evans said. Evans Farms also features events such as a fall festival to be held Oct. 23 that will include pony and hay rides and cooking demos, among other attractions, she said.
They’re also pondering a weekend Christmas market that would sell Christmas trees, wreathes, grave pieces and other items.
“We’re really listening to the community on what they want,” Katey said. “They want something to do. There’s not a lot that’s out here to do.”
Evans Farm is a third-generation family farm that tills about 2,000 acres throughout Kent and Sussex counties. It grows fruit, grain and vegetables