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Kroger said yesterday that it is partnering with an organization called Market Wagon to launch "a digital farmers market in Atlanta, Georgia … Developed as an e-commerce marketplace for local farmers and businesses, the service is a digital platform that offers customers a wide range of fresh, local products."

According to the announcement, "The delivery-only service offers a uniquely local assortment of over 1,150 local products by grouping local vendors together including local farmers, bakeries, and food artisans. All items found on Kroger Farmers Market are exclusive to the service and cannot yet be found at Kroger stores … The all-new partnership service will service a 60-mile radius across Atlanta that includes 28 counties in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Featuring the added convenience of delivery, customers can choose their preferred delivery day of either Tuesday or Friday."

Market Wagon defines itself as enabling "food producers to thrive in their local markets by operating as an online farmers market. Market Wagon partners with more than 2,500 local farmers and artisans to take their produce and products the very last mile to the doorstep of 45,000+ local customers."

KC's View:

I have to wonder if this is a testing ground for something that could be far more ambitious.  After all, Kroger already has jumped into the pure-play e-grocery waters with operations in Florida, and planned for Texas and the northeastern US, where it does not have stores.  If it could add to that offering the kind of produce marketplace that it is launching in Atlanta, it could be a strong differential advantage that would bring customers to its dot-com doorstep.