OK amigos, the launch of the Same-Day Delivery is upon us. Sunday, 7/24, marks a pivotal point for the future of the farm and for food distribution for our region. No other grocery store or delivery service that I know of (besides cardboard Pizzas) will be bringing you food so efficiently. Order by Noon, Delivery by 6pm. Shoot, not even Amazon is trying something so ambitious.
Fortunately, our size is playing into our favor. We are in the perfect Goldilocks zone of scale right now. Big enough to have the vans and people power to make this work, but small enough that we will not have millions of people trying it out. We are in a great position to pull something so crazy off. Should be a fun ride. And as this idea has gotten closer to becoming a reality, I have thought about so many collateral benefits that we could possibly see with this.
Food waste. Did you know the biggest culprit for food waste in our country comes from our personal kitchens? Most people think big restaurants or convention centers are at the root of food waste in our country, but the reality is that the problem stems from us. We end up buying huge volumes of food from box stores in order to save a few pennies, but then we realize that we do not actually need a gallon of peanut butter.
I would argue that in our quest to pay as little as possible for our food, we end up buying more food than we can eat and throwing too much away. That waste obviously increases the cost of the food that we did eat, and so probably saved nothing by buying those 144 hot dogs that were on sale. So to follow this argument through, the best way to cut food waste is to buy our food as close to when we intend to eat it as possible. Buy today what you plan to make for your dinner tonight.
So besides an insane convenience, I really think that this addition to our delivery model will help cut food waste and give you a better idea for your food budgeting.
There is a second side to this coin that we are putting into place right now as well and that is delivering produce that is harvested the same day you receive it. Let me explain because your mind is probably blown right now 🙂
As you may recall from previous newsletters, we have been putting lots of energy into developing our hydroponic growing systems. And I have to tell you, I am a firm believer that the future of urban farming is going to be in the hydroponic world. I used to be such a purist that food had to be grown in the dirt (soil please). But I have to tell you that it just doesn’t. Hydroponic veggies are producing better tasting and higher quality goodies than many of the items I have tasted fresh out of the field in the last 16 years.
And hydroponics allow us to offer you something that you will never get from the field– living food! You may have seen the living lettuces that we have brought you over the last couple of weeks. Roots still on the plant. Which means that the plants are still alive. Still growing. This is the direction that I want to see the farm really explore.
We are moving over 5,500 square feet of greenhouses from our farm to our warehouse right now. This will give us room for over 50,000 plant sites under the protection from the weather and pests. Additionally, these hydro systems use 10% of the water that we need to grow in the fields. Not bad for a desert farm.
But let me walk you through the idea of moving these systems to the warehouse. You place your order by noon for the day. Our packers see that we have 130 heads of lettuce on order for the day. They walk out to the greenhouses, harvest lettuce, pack your order, and it is dropped off at your casa by 6pm. So when you are eating dinner at 7, your food literally is only hours from harvest.
This is the vision of the farm that I want to see take shape over the next few months and for the future of fresh food.