Fast, easy and convenient aren’t words often paired with organic, locally grown and sustainable. But a new trend in Long Island food distribution has set out to make access to local food as easy as clicking “add to cart.” Instead of fighting traffic out to the East End or relying on somewhat convenient—but inconsistent—Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) deliveries, there are companies offering an online shopping version of the market’s produce aisle that brings the best from local farmers and food purveyors directly to your home or office.
Rustic Roots Delivery
Rustic Roots Delivery (RRD) was one of the first local companies to recognize the need for an easier way to support local farmers. Husband-and- wife founders Jeff and Emer Moore left their careers in the New York City restaurant business to start RRD in 2011. “We wanted to start something with a better quality of life and to do something more fulfilling,” Jeff said. “We are inspired by our passion for the outdoors and love of food, so we left our jobs to try to bring the best,local, healthiest, organic foods to people who don’t necessarily have easy access to them.” Customers register on rusticrootsdelivery.com, select their items and pay using PayPal or credit card. For a $10 fee per delivery, RRD collects the items from their partner farms and delivers
the order usually within 48 hours, along with an email of sample recipes to inspire their customers’ palates.
RRD partners with farms to provide everything from seasonal fruits and vegetables to grass-fed beef to hormone-and GMO-free pet foods. “We go out of our way to source and partner with what we believe are farms that practice the ideals of sustainability and responsibility,” Jeff said. “We know our role in bridging the gap between the farm and the homeowner and our relationships with our farms and farmers help us keep the transparency from farm to customer.” That includes Marion Gardens Herbs in East Marion for things like organic chocolate basil and pineapple sage, Jen’s Hens and Turtleback Farm in Riverhead for pasture-raised chicken and eggs, and Restoration Farm in Old Bethpage for pesticide-free produce and their famous apple butter.
Since RRD opened their doors, similar services have begun popping up. Sag Harbor local Megan Schmidt founded The Good Farm delivery in 2013 after her CSA provider moved away. “I wanted to support the companies and farms who had been involved while providing a catch-all for people who aren’t eating locally but want to,” Schmidt said. She offers local products from strictly East End farmers. “Locally grown food is the best—it’s the best nutritionally, best for the community, best for the environment, best for everyone,” Schmidt said. “It’s responsible and connects us in a fun, unique way.”
The Good Farm
The Good Farm makes deliveries every Friday from the first week of June to the end of September. Customers create an account on the website (thegoodfarmdelivery.com) and place orders by 5pm the Tuesday prior to delivery. They also offer a monthly box subscription, which features a curated, CSA-style collection with a variety of seasonal options to help customers discover new produce available in the area. Some of the partner farms and artisans include Amagansett Sea Salt Co., Blue Duck Bakery & Cafe in Southold, good water farms in East Hampton and Joe & Liza’s Ice Cream in Sag Harbor.
Farm 2 Kitchen
One of the broadest selections is offered by Farm 2 Kitchen Long Island, founded by Kassata Bollman. “I was living on the North Fork, surrounded by farms, finding a lot of people didn’t want to join a CSA because it’s only for 28 weeks and you don’t get to choose what you get,” Bollman said. “[My company] is designed to be an online farmers’ market where you can handpick what you want and how much.” In addition to the traditional local, seasonal offerings, Farm 2 Kitchen also features a buying club that gives customers access to over 3,000 additional items like locally sourced flowers, meat and grains at inexpensive prices. The club operates on a group-buy model, so the price goes down as more people buy in. Bollman said about 90 percent of the buying club offerings come from New York City, with a few more exotic choices (like bananas) arriving from other locations. Their order minimum is $40, plus a delivery fee (from $11-$17 depending on your location).
Farm 2 Kitchen makes deliv- eries Wednesday through Friday, and all orders must be received by midnight on the prior Saturday. An email newsletter alerts customers each week when the “market” opens (farm2kitchenlongisland.com) and features the latest items available in the online farmers’ market. All produce is delivered within 48 hours of Farm 2 Kitchen receiving it. “I love helping all different kinds of people have an easy way to shop the way they want to shop,” Bollman said. Their offerings include a variety that ranges from sparkling water from Pure Cool in Southampton, biscotti from Cristoforo Biscotti Company in North Fork, coffee from Tend Coffee in Shirley and pre-made delicacies like REALLY GOOD fruit spreads (based in Cutchogue) and handmade dog treats from Life is Grruff in Easthampton.
All three services help residents of the greater NYC area experience fresh, locally grown food—even if they live an afternoon away from the nearest farm stand. “The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the whole process from the seeding of the veggies in spring to being able to take those veggies to my customers’ kitchens—they await their baskets like kids on Christmas,” Jeff said. “We recently started doing fresh, local fish. Getting a call when a boat comes home, running down to the docks to get it filleted and packaged and then rushing it off to someone’s home for dinner is pretty cool, too.”
The result? A newfound appreciation for food. “I recently had a customer who is a 70-year-old business woman in the city. She was absolutely giddy after receiving her order because she had tried kohlrabi for the first time. Discovering new foods is a very transformative experience,” Schmidt said.
Besides offering convenience, these companies offer a liaison between Long Islanders and the bounty of homegrown produce and goods. It just might have Long Islanders rethinking what it means to order out.