The physical and psychological pleasures of locally grown produce are the subject of passionate conversation—from eye-pleasing color, freshness and taste to gratifying support for neighborhood farms. Demand for farm fresh food is more popular than ever, and services are cropping up across the Island that will deliver these products straight from farm to front door. Proprietors of Long Island’s leading organic delivery services cater to patrons who value convenience, quality, flavor and variety, in addition to overall wellness.
The home delivery model is familiar to those who have shopped online. Customers visit a virtual farmers market, fill a cart with local vegetables, dairy products and artisanal provisions and select a delivery time or method. Produce is transported directly to the home in insulated bags to assure freshness. There is usually a minimum price per order and the cost is often higher than the average supermarket run, but the service is worth it to devotees of the farm-to-table movement.
“Once people are choosing organic and paying for organic over a regular delivery service, they’re saying my health is number one,” said Jeff Moore, co-founder of Rustic Roots Organic Home Delivery, a year-round service launched in 2011. The Ronkonkoma-based business delivers from Montauk to Manhattan and sources organic products throughout the northeast region, including eggs, produce, meats and wild seafood.
Among Moore’s top clients are busy new mothers who want to nourish their families while juggling their careers. “People want to go to the farm…but it’s not practical to do fifty-two weeks out of the year,” Moore said. “They want to put their health first, but they don’t have the time to go to farmers markets. We like to say we bridge the gap between the farmers, the producers and the customers.”
Megan Schmidt launched The Good Farm Delivery—a hyper-local online farmers market—out of Sag Harbor in 2013, promising to bring, “the best of the Hamptons to your door.” She said the diversity of produce she curates has a direct impact on her patrons’ well-being, recalling an ecstatic client in her 70s who was able to experience the bracing, fresh taste of kohlrabi for the first time. “Finding things that are new and exciting and make us feel good are few and far between. Experiencing discovery and joy and new flavors and then being able to take that and share it with your family sparks new conversations,” Schmidt said.
This commitment to farm fresh food delivery also means an investment in the benefits of home cooking, Schmidt noted. “There’s a wellness benefit to the ritual of cooking and the connections we make when we cook. That sort of conviviality is really essential to wellness, even if it happens just a couple of times per week.”
And it’s not limited to produce. Home delivered, ready-to-eat foods—from hearty soups to restaurant quality entrées—are quickly becoming standard. Wyse Organics of East Hampton delivers chef-created meals from local organic ingredients, fully cooked, frozen and ready to eat in about 15 minutes. Similarly, Sang Lee Farms of Peconic ships frozen soups, dressings and dips via overnight delivery.
“We’re providing a product that someone can grab and go, but it is made with all of the things they would cook for themselves if they had the time and they could go shop at the farm stand,” said Sang Lee Farms manager and educator Lucy Senesac. She described her customer as, “a person that cares about health, cares where the food comes from and cares about flavor.” Sang Lee Farms’ soups are prepared in a certified organic kitchen and feature rich vegetable broths and tomato-based stocks made from the farm’s celebrated organic harvest. Customer favorites include vegan-friendly soups, such as hearty kale, spicy Asian cabbage and carrot ginger.
But it’s more than just food. When customers commit to an organic lifestyle, Schmidt said service accrues back dividends. “Knowing that you’re getting harvested-to-order goods and very high quality curated products at your door leaves you the time to go for that run or spend time with your family and friends and do other things that are great for wellness.”