From Their Farm to Your Table: Farmers to You Makes Partners of Families and Growers, with Delicious Results
Apr 30, 2011 01:57AM
● By Kim Childs
Greg Georgaklis spent 25 years working in horticulture and agriculture in the Boston area, where he saw a disturbing lack of connection between those who consumed food and those who produced it. Seeking to change that, Georgaklis co-founded Farmers to You last fall. The service links farmers in Vermont with families in places like Cambridge, Arlington and Lexington to provide fresh produce, meat, baked goods and dairy items to hundreds of customers each week.
“The food that we’re delivering is highly nutritious and highly flavorful—that’s the first thing that people notice,” says Georgaklis. “They just cannot believe the flavor in the carrots, the beef or the cheese. We have milk in glass bottles with cream on top, and people are stunned.”
Improving the health of area residents by providing organically and locally produced foods is just half the mission for Georgaklis and his business partners. They also seek to elevate the status, productivity and prosperity of farmers in the region.
“We need to reconnect farmers with the people who are buying the food, and have those people be willing to pay sustainable prices for food that’s produced in a way that really serves our health, the environment and those who actually produce the food—both the laborers and the farmers,” Georgaklis says.
Farmers to You customers are asked to buy a minimum $30 worth of groceries each week, placing orders on FarmersToYou.com and visiting local site coordinators on delivery day to pick up their food. There’s a money-back guarantee, no commitment, and home delivery (via emission-free pedal trucks through Metro Pedal Power) for anyone who can’t make it to the drop sites.
Some items cost more than they do in the supermarket, but most customers say they’re willing to pay for higher quality products and the chance to support more sustainable food production. “We’ve been spoiled by [local supermarkets] to think that food is not as expensive to produce and deliver as it really is,” says Arlington site coordinator Katja Baker, who changed her eating and shopping habits after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and watching the film Food, Inc.
“I’ve become a more thoughtful consumer and a better planner,” remarks Baker, who now creates weekly menus built around the food she buys from Farmers to You and the recipes that come with it. “It makes sense both philosophically and politically, and I’m so happy to know that my family is eating real food, grown and delivered by people I can trust.”
In Cambridge, site coordinator and personal chef J.J. Gonson confesses that she puts. “ crazy amounts of energy into finding local food,” for her family and business. Gonson says that it used to be a full-time job to find what she needed, but Farmers to You has made the task easier. “Sometimes you really do not want to deal with the whole ordeal of going to the [farmers’] market,” she says, “Or, it’s frustrating when you do and things are already sold out.”
Gonson says that some Farmers to You customers are asking why they would keep using the service once the local outdoor farmers markets are open. “Then they immediately answer their own question,” she reports. “The Vermont growing season is two weeks later, so that means two more weeks of strawberries and two more weeks of peaches!”
In May, Georgaklis predicts that customers can add asparagus, field greens and greenhouse cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, salad greens and sprouts to their orders, followed by plums and cherries in June. The immediate goal for Georgaklis and his colleagues is to add more families and neighborhoods to their delivery list. But he’s also thinking decades ahead, to the lasting impact he hopes to have on this area.
“When I’m 90 years old, if we’ve managed to rebuild our regional food system here in the Northeast, so that Boston-area families are getting 50 or 60 percent of their food from a 150- to 200-mile radius, I’ll die a happy guy,” he says.
To learn more about the service, the growers and the items available for order, visit FarmersToYou.com or call 802-225-6383.