Local company lets you buy direct from farmers, ranchers

SNOQUALMIE VALLEY, Wash. -- Mike Rusch's Snoqualmie Valley ranch has been in his family for three generations. They raise a small herd of Red Angus cattle, mostly as a hobby.

Rusch and his wife, Lee Keller, don't slaughter enough cattle to make ranching a full time business.

"The only way we've been able to sell it to friends and family is through us and emailing, and then we found this amazing Farmstr website," Keller said. is the creation of Janelle Maiocco's, who grew up as a farmer's daughter in Bellingham. Riding trackers and living the farming life is in her blood.

"Not everyone can make it to the farmers market at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning," said Maiocco. "This is like farmers market in your pocket".

Farmstr connects buyers to small local farmers, ranchers and fisherman who actually grew, raised or caught the product they are passionate about and they have extra they don't need.

"They have little amounts," said Maiocco. "Some pig, or they have 20 extra boxes of apples and they really need customers and sales."

Keller said they recently put up an ad for a quarter of a cow and it sold quickly.

"Basically, a small family farm like this is working because we can actually sell the products on something other than a co-op, where you can not really make any money," she said.

Farmstr handles every part of financial transaction and takes a small fee from both buyer and seller for doing so. Farmers and ranchers drop off their food at designated pick-up points around the greater Seattle area, or buyers in some cases can pick it up directly from the farm or ranch

Maiocco says all the sellers have to agree to sell non genetically modified foods with no chemical additives or antibiotics. It's organic, but most small farms can't afford the organic certification.

"Really we want to get to the point where somebody like you and I can say look, this is my farmer, this is my rancher, this is where I get my grass fed beef, and by the way that's where I get my urban farming," said Maiocco