Valley Green Feast Brings The Farmer’s Market To Your Door

The Western Massachusetts co-op wants to deliver to the Boston area.

By | Hub Health |
Valley Green Feast fall produce box photo by Rebekah Hanlon

Valley Green Feast fall produce box photo by Rebekah Hanlon

Ever wonder what it would be like to have a farmer’s market in your front yard? Readily available, local, fresh produce waiting for you as soon as your open your door? Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? ¬†Valley Green Feast¬†(VGF)¬†thinks so and they’re committed to bridging the divide between the farm and your front door.

VGF, a Western Massachusetts based co-operative, delivers locally grown, organic products straight to your home. “We live in a great area full of agriculture but not everyone has access to it,” says Rebekah Hanlon, one of the four owners of Valley Green Feast. “Some people don’t have cars so they can’t get to farmers’ markets, and people are really busy and sometimes don’t have time to go to the grocery store and walk back with all those bags. That’s the gap we’re trying to fill.”

That’s why VGF is trying to expand their co-operative into the Boston area starting January 8th. But with less than a month and more than $10,000 still left to go on their¬†Indiegogo campaign, they need the community’s help. “We do a lot of work to help connect our farmers and our producers and stand behind the work they’re doing,” Hanlon says. “And we want to get the community involved in that because it’s really all about community.”

The four VGF worker/owners: Becky Szlosek, Ally Sterling, Rebekah Hanlon, and Ruth Ann. Image provided

The four VGF worker/owners: Becky Szlosek, Ally Sterling, Rebekah Hanlon, and Ruth Ann. Image provided.

So what makes VGF different from similar fresh delivery programs like Boston Organics? Besides VGF’s status as a worker owned co-operative, all VGF deliveries in Boston will be conducted completely by bicycle. VGF teamed up with another local co-operative, the Boston Collective Delivery¬†bicycle¬†courier¬†service, to handle the deliveries to a number of Boston neighborhoods on Wednesdays.

“We’re both relatively small businesses and relatively new businesses,” Hanlon says of the collaboration with Boston Collective Delivery. “And we realized that we could really help each other out. We both wanted to help bring money into the local food system, [bring] good food to families, and create more co-operative jobs for people in the city.”

Boston Collective Delivery will also benefit from the funds raised on Indiegogo.¬†What they really need to buy, Hanlon says, is weather resistant traveling supplies. “We’re going to need a lot more than we have, for the winter and for the city,” she says. “We want to make sure that all the food is safe as its being delivered and that Boston Collective Delivery feels confident with their supplies.”

So how does VGF work? You order online, your produce is gathered from local farmers, and then it’s packaged and delivered to your door about a week later. You can choose from a wide selection of meats, poultry, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, breads, and even coffees and chocolates. The items are all¬†produced right here in Massachusetts. And you can customize your produce boxes to make sure you receive more of what you like and less of what you don’t.¬†The boxes come in sizes ranging from mini to extra large which allows for individual healthy feasting or sharing with a large family.

Other products available from VGF. Photo by Rebekah Hanlon.

Other products available from VGF. Photo by Rebekah Hanlon.

“Over the past few years, we’ve built up great relationships with local farmers,” Hanlon says. And unlike CSAs or similar food delivery programs, Valley Green Feast’s boxes change constantly. Hanlon calls it “spreading the love.”

That also means each week’s boxes have an inherent element of surprise. “It’s kind of a leap of faith for our customers,” Hanlon says. “Every week you know there will be local and organic food, but you don’t know exactly what’s in the box.”

Current customers usually place standing weekly or biweekly orders, according to Hanlon, but individual, one-time orders are also welcome.¬†Pre-orders for Boston-area delivery are happening now on Valley Green Feast’s website. After the launch in January, Bostonians can place their orders on Tuesday before noon to receive a delivery the following Wednesday.

“We experience so many difficulties in our normal lives,” Hanlon says. “We’re not connected enough to other people, and these two co-operatives working together can make really huge changes in the community. We really do care about each other, and about bringing good food to as many families as we can.”

413-588-8704, valleygreenfeast.com

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/blog/2013/12/16/valley-green-feast/