A few months ago I received an intriguing email. A local CSA company, From The Farmer, was interested in teaming up with me. In exchange for photographing their produce, I’d receive a basket full of gorgeous local produce delivered right to my front door every week. Amazing, right? Anyone who follow my site regularly knows how much I love the farmer’s market. I have contemplated joining a CSA for years but always hesitated. Would it be too much food? Would I no longer need to go to my beloved market? What if the baskets were full of items I didn’t want? What if I wasn’t around to receive my produce? This seemed like such a perfect way to dive in.
And let me just tell you… I’m in love.
I would like to point out: This is not a sponsored post. I have not been paid to say these nice things. I am, however, completely hooked on this company, their service and their produce. The system is so well organized. Early in the week I receive an email letting me know what items I can expect to receive in the basket, which is great for planning purposes. On Thursday night I receive a reminder to place last week’s basket outside. On Friday morning I wake up to a big red basket full of beautiful fresh produce as well as other goodies.
From The Farmer has a three options: a half bushel, a single bushel and a double bushel. For a small extra fee you can also have fresh bread delivered from Lyon Bakery. I highly recommend getting the bread. I’ve received everything from rosemary boule to sweet challah (my favorite!) to pumpernickel raisin bread (pictured below):
One of the many reasons I love CSA is because it breaks me out of my comfort zone. I didn’t even know what kohlrabi was the first time it was delivered. Sunchokes? Bring them on! I now know that I love shaving turnips razor thin and spreading them on salads, something I had only done with radishes in the past.
I’ve also been juicing quite a bit recently and that is an excellent way to use many of the basket items.
I recently spoke with one of the founders, Nick Phelps, to get some more details about how everything works:
How did From the Farmer get its start?
From the Farmer really started by accident and with no previous intention of getting into this line of work. My business partner, Jason, and I met in college and always wanted to start a business together. After graduating college and each of us going our separate ways, we eventually came back together realizing that if we were going to be “young and foolish” the time was now. Back in 2011, coincidentally I had bought a Groupon for a similar service in the DC area and Jason happened to be in town visiting me when my “delivery” came. To say the least, it was not impressive at all. It was this “ah-hah” moment when we realized that we could do this much better. We’ve been slinging carrots ever since!
Where are your farms located?
Our farms are strategically located in a variety of locations all within 100 miles of Washington DC. From north of Frederick, MD to the West Virginia border, to the Northern Neck of Virginia. We wanted a diversity of growing conditions, and more importantly, a little risk reduction should something happen in one area (say a hurricane) and wipe out the crops.
That’s so smart, I never would have thought about spreading out for the purposes of risk reduction! I often receive basket items from other local food companies with wonderful products- fresh baked breads, cheeses, jams. How do you select other vendors to work with?
All of our farm partners and outside vendors are carefully selected based on a few criteria. They have to be deeply passionate about what they do. They have to be transparent and allow our customers to show up any time to watch their process and walk the fields with them, literally. And most importantly, they need to be dedicated to only the highest of quality standards. The outcome is great products, but also a true connection to where your food comes from.
Can you talk a bit about the delivery process and how it works? I’m always in awe when it’s sitting at my front door step by 7am.
The delivery process is quite simple. Just like the milkman use to (and still does), we deliver in the middle of the night when most people are sleeping. We do this for a few reasons: cuts down on traffic concerns and thus makes us more efficient, and the middle of the night is also the coolest part of the day. We’d hate to deliver in 90 degree heat with the sun beating down…you’d come home to a basket of steam vegetables! And most importantly, our customers live busy lives. We completely respect that people need to get to work and the last thing you want to concern yourself with is if your food will arrive before you have to leave or will it be safe sitting outside all day while you’re at work. By delivering overnight, we mitigate as much risk as possible and it becomes a win-win for us all. Not to mention, who doesn’t love getting a bountiful basket of produce first thing in the morning?!
I certainly do.
DC/MD/VA residents, listen up! From The Farmer has generously offered a discount code for fans of Savory Simple. If you sign up for their service, enter the code “SAVORYSIMPLE” at checkout and you’ll receive 20% off your first 4 baskets! This coupon is valid through the rest of this year so if this month isn’t so convenient, you still have time to take advantage.email. You can also follow me via RSS, Facebook and Twitter.