Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fresh n Local: Home Delivery

Shopping at a farmers’ market is fun. The stands are heaped with lettuce and carrots and tomatoes. Maybe you’re really lucky, and there is fresh asparagus or garden-ripe strawberries.

But it’s not always easy to get to the market. Perhaps you don’t have a car, and you can’t imagine toting everything home on the bus. Or you have kids and spend weekends dashing from soccer games to music lessons. Maybe the weekend is your only opportunity to sleep in, and you really aren’t eager to head off to the market first thing Saturday morning.

Well, you’re in luck. You can now buy fresh, local products, and Fresh n Local will deliver them to your door.

Fresh n Local
Curtis Coleman was working as the facilities manager for Floating Gardens last year. Once the system was set up, he started helping to sell their vegetables at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. He overheard people saying, “I love your products, but I can’t always get to the Market. It’s just not practical.” Curtis thought he had the solution. If people couldn’t make it to the Market, why not take the food to them?

Curtis looked online and nearly every major centre across Canada had a local and/or organic food delivery service – except for Saskatoon and Regina. He set out to fill the gap.

Local First 
Curtis grew up in Saskatoon. His parents weren’t farmers. In fact, they didn’t even have a backyard garden when he was growing up. But, over time, his diet changed as he and his friends focused on eating locally-grown and produced food. “It doesn’t make sense to me,” Curtis says. “We can grow tomatoes. Why are we getting them from Mexico? It’s not sustainable either.”

Fresh n Local promises to supply its customers with local food products. If possible, the products will be both local and organic. If that’s not possible, they will be as local as possible. If particular products can’t be found locally, Curtis is sourcing organic, fair trade products.

The list of products being delivered by Fresh n Local is amazing. There are crusty loaves of bread from Earth Bound Bakery (organic, made with Saskatchewan wheat, and totally delicious), cucumbers from Grandora Gardens, tomatoes and eggplants from Floating Gardens, carrots from Living Soil Farms, and spinach from Wally’s Market Garden. There are lentils from Hestia Organics, seabuckthorn gelato from Northern Vigor Berries, ice cream from Prairie Sun Orchard, and yogurt from Legacy Yogurt.

These are some of my favourite Saskatoon Farmers’ Market vendors (and baker), and their products are now available online and will be delivered to my doorstep. Amazing!

Fresh vegetables are great, but we need other food products as well. You can already purchase meat, breakfast cereal and oil from Fresh n Local, but Curtis hopes to expand the line to include staple grocery items, such as pet food, toothpaste and bathroom products.

“I’m planning to add a minimum of one new product a week,” he says.

Online Experience
“Fresh n Local doesn’t have a physical store,” Curtis explains. “It’s all about the online experience. It had to be simple, clear and yet bold.” He worked with Daren McLean and the Deezine team to develop the website. “I gave them the concept, and they did the work,” he says. The result is very user-friendly with great visuals.

How It Works
Fresh n Local is currently providing weekly Wednesday deliveries. You order online before midnight on Monday. The farmers and producers receive the orders on Tuesday, and Curtis picks up all the fresh produce at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market on Wednesday morning. You’ll be receiving farm-fresh produce – even the ice cream is made on Tuesday, ready for you to eat on Wednesday.

The food is packaged in two containers. The coolers are made out of recycled cardboard. The totes are made of 70% recycled plastic, and Curtis hopes to eventually replace them with a greener choice. In any case, if you are using Fresh n Local on a regular basis, Curtis will pick up last week’s containers when he delivers your new order.

You can choose to have your order delivered in the afternoon or the evening. If you won’t be home, you can leave instructions for where the food can be dropped off. There is a $6 delivery fee if your order is under $50; after that, it’s free.

Curtis has signed up with and will be purchasing carbon offsets for every aspect of his business, from mileage to office supplies.

Looking Ahead
Curtis is already looking ahead. He would like to start making bicycle deliveries. And, if there is enough interest, he will start providing Saturday as well as Wednesday deliveries.

“My goal is to help people eat local,” Curtis says. “If I can make money doing it, that’s perfect.”


Deb said...

We love this new initiative to get great local food into hands of more people. Great job Curtis!

Golden Grain Farm said...

I agree with Deb. Very impressive! Will he come out to Wadena??? LOL. Actually I shouldn't laugh -- with this fellow, nothing would surprise me!

Ysabella said...

I'm planning to open up a Oklahoma City local food delivery service but I'm still contemplating. After reading this post, I'm now more confident of carrying out my plans. I hope that I'll be successful.