Doorstep Farmers, a two-year-old Pleasant Hill-based start-up, is providing a healthy alternative to folks who want to support local farms but don’t have the time or inclination to visit Farmers Markets – for a monthly fee, they will deliver a box of fresh fruits and vegetables to your door.
“The company started in July of 2010 by Michael Wedgley,” said Jessica Singh, 24, who is Wedgley’s business partner. It began as a part-time operation, but last year, when Singh signed on fresh out of college, the business expanded and went full-time. They moved operations out of Wedgley’s garage, rented a warehouse space, hired part-time help and watched their business grow to the more than 400 subscribers they have today.
“We’re trying to support local organic farmers,” Singh said. The company gets its goods from farmers in Martinez, Pleasanton, Sunol and other nearby locals.
If your family consumes a lot of fruits and vegetables, Doorstep Farmers has you covered – you can get a weekly delivery right to your door. If you don’t that much produce, you can opt for the every-other-week delivery. There are also different sized boxes you can order – a large box is 12 to 16 pounds of produce for $36.95, a regular box is 8 to 10 pounds for $24.95. If you need something in between, there’s a medium box for $30.95 that holds 12 to 14 pounds of produce. Students and seniors (55 and older) can order a six to eight pound box for $19.95.
The produce in the box is predicated on the season – right now, strawberries, grapefruits, apples and oranges are available, as is broccoli, kale, leeks and lettuce. Singh said that customers can choose to opt out any item that week and replace it with more of something else.
Doorstep Farmers is working with local schools in Martinez and soon Pleasant Hill on fundraising. If customers choose to pick up their boxes at a participating school instead of home, the school receives a percentage of the purchase. So far, the company is delivering to Hidden Valley Elementary, John Swett Elementary and Morello Park Elementary, all in Martinez. They hope to begin similar programs next year with John Muir and Las Juntas in Martinez, and Valhalla, Strandwood, Sequoia, Gregory Gardens and Pleasant Hill Elementary in Pleasant Hill.
So how does a 24-year-old college graduate with a business degree decide to get into the produce delivery business?
“I grew up healthy,” Singh said. “My family cooked most of our meals. Then I went to college, and I got into a spiral of bad habits. I wasn’t feeling good. When I got home, I started learning about organic food. And then I saw the movie ‘Food, Inc.’”
That film inspired her to join her friend Wedgley in his new business. She created an Excel database, and brought other skills she learned from her newly minted degree in business. Last February, there were 30 subscribers. Today, there are 400.
Now the company delivers to doorsteps in Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Concord, Clayton, Walnut Creek, Alamo and Lafayette. They make 300 deliveries each day.
You can list your likes and dislikes with them, Singh said. So if you don’t care for kale, but love strawberries, your delivery will always reflect that.
If you’re looking for health and convenience, and a way to support sustainable local agriculture, Doorstep Farmers may be your answer.