SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) over 75,000 farmers across the Commonwealth call Kentucky home, operating on 13 million acres. Justin Slaughter is taking on a new concept called ‘Market Wagon’ where he can operate an online farmers market for customers in Louisville, Shelbyville and Lexington. 

What You Need To Know

  • Justin Slaughter operates his farm with his wife, three children

  • Slaughter started Slaughter Family Farm in 2018

  • Slaughter is in partnership with Market Wagon to provide a online farmers market experience

  • Market Wagon is partnered with 100 vendors, in 34 markets across the United States

Slaughter owns pigs and chickens, they are a part of the Slaughter Family Farm, run by himself, his wife Melina, his children Dorothy, Judith and William. He is using a more modern tool to allow him to spend more time with his family. Throughout the pandemic 75% of U.S. consumers have changed their shopping patterns in response to economic pressures, store closings, and changing priorities according to a survey from McKinsey.

“I was trying to figure out how to cash flow this [farming], figure out a way to bring in another $400-800 and that was actually when we found Market Wagon,” said Slaughter.

(Left to right) Melina, Dorothy, Justin and Judith Slaughter smile for a Christmas photo. (Justin Slaughter)

Market Wagon is an online ordering and delivery service for produce, meat, and dairy all from local farmers. Slaughter knew relying on his community supported agriculture (CSA) shares was not enough, so he partnered with the farm-to-table reality which allows farmers just like him to thrive as an online farmers market. Slaughter got this drive from his Nana, the woman who helped raise him as a child.

“There are definitely some days where I will sleep in a little bit but normally I like to do chores and get to coffee by 6 a.m.,” said Slaughter.

For Slaughter, operating his family farm and managing online orders for Market Wagon means early days and long nights for Slaughter but he gets to work beside his wife and children to make it all the better. He knew he needed this quality time after spending a number of years in a sales position working 90 hours a week.

“Working on the land you have to take it one day at a time. Sometimes I like to feed them [chickens] on the ground,” said Slaughter.

Slaughter takes caring for his farm very seriously, which is why Market Wagon CEO Nick Carter appreciates farmers like him.

“We are talking about a person, we are talking about a farm. We are talking about knowing who raised your pork or your chicken or baked your bread and grew the veggies on your table. Knowing them [local farmers] by name, when you have questions about the food chatting with them [local farmers] on our platform. It is building an actual relationship with the people that grew your food,” said Carter.

Slaughter Family Farm’s chorizo chicken sausage sits inside of deep freezer. (Spectrum News 1/Diamond Palmer)

“There is an old saying that ‘it tastes like chicken’, well that is because chicken tastes like nothing conventionally. When we get chicken we have to flavor it, put a bunch of stuff on it. It is really cool to have consumers buy our chicken and love the flavor. Our boneless, skinless chicken breasts is what everybody wants,” said Slaughter.

Justin Slaughter would not trade this job for anything, Market Wagon currently partners with more than 2500 local farmers across 34 markets with hopes of spreading to all 50 states.