By WRAL Tech Wire

DURHAM, N.C. – The Mint Market will open for business on Sunday.

The new Durham startup plans to launch its online marketplace for local food this weekend which will allow chefs in the Triangle to discover, purchase, and schedule delivery of food directly from area farms.

Farmers must sign up by Saturday, July 28 to have their products included on opening day.

“We’ve been testing Mint Market with amazing local chefs and farmers. Now we’re ready to open the floodgates,” said Ricky Spero, Mint Market’s founder. “We can’t wait to see what they do with this powerful new tool.”

Spero said Mint Market will showcase some of the area’s finest local vendors, including Maple View Farm, Hillsborough Cheese Co., and Dock to Door Seafood. It also gives farmers an efficient way to sell their products to restaurants using e-commerce.

According to Mint Market’s business model, farmers update their inventories on Saturday. Chefs shop on Sunday. Farmers harvest on Monday and deliver to restaurants on Tuesday. Listing products on Mint Market is free. When farmers complete a sale, Mint Market takes a 5 percent fee.

Scott Howell, chef-owner of Nana’s Restaurant in Durham, was Mint Market’s first customer.

“This is something the area really needs,” he said. “From our earliest days, Nana’s has supported local farms. Mint Market is going to make that much easier.”

Spero is clear about the role that Mint Market aims to play.

“We love food, but we’re a technology company at our core,” he explained. “We ask ourselves how we think people will buy food five years from now; and then we build it, so everyone can start doing it today.”

Mint Market is an internet startup that was among the first companies selected by the Blackstone Entrepreneur’s Network and by Groundwork Labs, an incubator program sponsored by NC IDEA and Capital Broadcasting Company.