Bay Direct Local Connection to the Middle Peninsula’s Freshest Seafood and Produce
In search of fresh seafood and produce harvested on the Middle Peninsula to make suppertime special?
Download a new Bay Direct app and the rest plays out like your favorite dating site only the “catch” isn’t a new belle or beau.
Anyone with a smartphone, tablet, notebook or desktop can download the app free on the App Store or Google Play by searching for BAY DIRECT or following the download links directly from baydirectva.com.
Think of the Bay Direct app as a dating app, said Lewie Lawrence, executive director of the Middle Peninsula District Planning Commission, which helped manage the construction of the app alongside the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority thanks to a grant from GO Virginia.
Instead of a traditional love match, users are seafood and produce farmers and customers hungry for their fresh harvest.
Watermen, farmers and restauranteurs can download the app and list their available harvest for free and include instructions for consumers to order directly from them. The app also has a GPS feature to allow consumers to find the closest locations to them for the seafood they enjoy the most.
The app allows buyers to search by food type or peruse a list of what’s available. The Bay Direct website also offers information for users who prefers using a website to buy and sell.
The app is just one way regional government organizations have helped farmers weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Local seafood and agricultural producers continue to be challenged by the pandemic that has affected the economics of their operation,” Lawrence said. “By using the app, a fisherman or farmer can post what harvest he has, a consumer can see that harvest and they can make a connection through the app to make a sale in real life.”
The need for a new marketplace was related to the COVID-19 pandemic reducing traffic to local restaurants and uncovering the need to create diverse ways for farmers to sell directly to consumers.
In addition to the GO Virginia grant funds that made the construction of the app possible, Marker Nine, a Gloucester Point-based casual apparel company, donated $4,000 to the project through the sale of its “Eat Local” line of shirts.
“The Middle Peninsula is home to the freshest seafood in the nation, and by using this app, residents can find the best way to bring it to their dinner table,” said Stephanie Heinatz of Consociate Media, who was also involved in the roll out of the app. “We urge everyone to eat local, and it’s never been easier.”