Why Local?

Local food systems rely upon a network of small, usually sustainably ran, family farms (rather than large industrially run farms) as the source of farm products. Industrial farming negatively impacts the environment in countless ways (e.g., by polluting the air, surface water, and groundwater, over-consuming fossil fuel and water resources, degrading soil quality, inducing erosion, and accelerating the loss of biodiversity). Industrial agriculture also adversely affects the health of farm workers, degrades the socioeconomic fabric of surrounding communities, and impairs the health and quality of life of community residents. In addition, although the concept of “food miles” (i.e., the number of miles a food item travels from farm to consumer) has been criticized as an unreliable indicator of the environmental impact of industrially produced food, it should be noted that conventional food is estimated to typically travel between 1,500 and 3,000 miles to reach the consumer and usually requires additional packaging and refrigeration. Many small-scale, local farms attempt to ameliorate the environmental damage done via industrial farming by focusing on sustainable practices, such as minimized pesticide use, no-till agriculture and composting, minimized transport to consumers, and minimal to no packaging for their farm products. When you eat local, naturally grown food, you are truly doing your body, mind, community and favor!

Standards

Aiken Organics is passionate about the quality of food we offer. We have high standards for our Growers and Producers to ensure the healthiest, and safest items for our ourselves and customers:

  • All products must be either organic or naturally grown/raised.

  • No chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, or GMOs.

  • Occasionally, items are offered, particularly at the wholesale level, that are conventionally grown. These are clearly labeled so as a consumer, you are making a conscious and informed choice.

  • All canned items must use local produce that meets the same standards as the produce.

  • All items must be grown and produced directly by the seller.

  • Any cooked item must be prepared in a DHEC approved kitchen and/or approved by the department of agriculture.

  • All prepared foods and desserts and sweets must use as many local, naturally produced ingredients as possible. We realize that there is no such things as locally produced sugar, so we retain a bit of flexibility for our cooks and bakers. However we do work with them to ensure that their items align as closely as possible to our standards for produce, and that none of their items contain GMOs or artificial ingredients.

FAQ

How do I join?

Fill out the form on the sign up page and begin shopping!

Are there membership fees?

Yes, we ask that you pay a one time fee of $29. You are welcome to try us for two orders before officially becoming members. We are not a retail shop. We do not purchase items from local growers, mark them up, and then resell them. You purchase things directly from the growers and producers. Everything is picked or made fresh for you. The sellers set the price, and that is the price you pay, similar to a farmers market. For that reason, the membership fee keeps Aiken Organics going! It is an alternative business model, with a priority on making local food viable for growers and producers. Customers are getting local food at the lowest possible price, set by the farmers themselves.

Will I have to buy vegetables I don't want?

Unlike some co-ops or CSAs, at Aiken Organics you get to order what you want, how much you want and from the farms that you want. We have certain standards for our products/sellers on our website. A weekly email will be sent of items available in our market.

How do I order?

Every Thursday at 8:00 AM, a list of available products is sent to all of our registered customers via e-mail. Customers must place their order for the week no later than Sunday at 11:59 PM. Orders can be placed here on our website.

When do I pay?

We DO accept advance payment on the website AND this makes the whole process much easier for you. We also accept payment when you pick up your order. Because we may have to adjust your total. There are sometimes unexpected changes that need to be made to orders between the time you order and the time you pick up, such as weather damage, inaccurate quantity prediction, or a farmer unable to deliver. These situations will be rare, but occasionally may happen. When they do, we need me make changes to your order so you are not charged for items you are not receiving. Also, some items are priced by the pound (meat). It makes life easier to adjust orders at time of pick-up.

When and Where do I pick up my order?

You pick up your order on Thursday from 3-6:30pm at The Alley Downtown Taproom; 214 The Alley; Aiken, South Carolina 29801.

Am I still charged for my order if I do not pick it up?

Yes. The growers harvested for you and Aiken Organics paid the growers on your behalf when they brought your order to the market. This makes you responsible for paying for items, even if you do not pick them up. This amount will be added to your next order. We will make effort to contact you if you have not picked up your order about 30 minutes prior to pick-up time ending. If an unforeseen circumstance comes up and you know you'll not be able to pick up your order, you're welcome to send a friend, or just send us an email and we'll work with you to figure out a convenient time.

Why Support Aiken Organics?

  1. Locally grown food tastes better.

  2. Local produce is better for you.

  3. Local food preserves genetic diversity.

  4. Local food is GMO-free.

  5. Local food supports local farm families.

  6. Local food builds community.

  7. Local food preserves open space.

  8. Local food keeps your taxes in check.

  9. Local food supports a clean environment and benefits wildlife.

  10. Local food is about the future.

What methods of payment do you accept?

Customers are encouraged to pay by check or cash, but do accept credit cards at the time of pick-up.

Do you accept WIC/SNAP/EBT?

We do not offer these payment methods at this time. Please Email the market manager if you have additional questions or interest in this.

How can I sell through this market?

Contact Alexandrea Kneece at 803.920.7153 or Alexandrea@aikenorganics.com