Farmers' City Market, the new supermarket chain stocking only products ­supplied directly by local farmers, is to launch an online shopping service.

The chain, which is gearing up for the opening of its first outlet in three weeks' time (The Grocer, 23 September, p7), said it planned to launch the web offer in the new year, by which time its new store - in Hampton Hill, near Kingston-upon-Thames - would be established.

Plans to open two more stores in the south east at the beginning of next year are also in the pipeline, and there are plans to take the idea nationwide.

More than 95% of the chain's grocery offer, which is set to include around 3,500 SKUs, excluding non food and household goods, will be available online to customers living within a 30-mile radius of a Farmers' City Market store.

"What our customers can be absolutely assured of is that the products that they receive will be of the very best quality," said Stephen Wilkinson, one of the company's three directors. "If it doesn't look, smell, and taste wonderful we won't be selling it. We will be promoting seasonality in a big way and won't sell oranges and clementines out of season, like so many of the other retailers, because they taste like bullets."

Goods sold on the retailer's website will be transported directly to customers in branded Farmers' City Market vans and delivered in the minimum number of biodegradable carrier bags.

Wilkinson and his team are currently in the throes of recruiting 40 people

to staff the new store, which will also have a head chef and raft of kitchen ­assistants to work in an ­

on-site ­restaurant and

café bar.

The restaurant and its glass-fronted kitchen area will be located at the centre of the store to allow customers to watch the chefs at work.

"We are all about honesty," said Wilkinson. "We have absolutely nothing to hide and want our customers to see all aspects of what we do."