To begin with this most amazing September week, a huge Thank You! to you all. And you’re probably saying “A thank you…for what? Did my holiday fruit cake arrive early this year?” No, this is a thank you for you understanding on our need to change our delivery fee structure. Let me explain.
Over the past 16 years that we have been feeding you, your amigos and your family, we have had to raise the delivery fees at various points. Every time (without exception) we have gotten absolutely run over by loss in sales, upset phone calls, and emails criticizing my mom’s ability to raise a son. All in all, not a pleasant experience I can assure you.
This time I braced for the worst when we changed our delivery structure. We needed to do it, but I honestly was thinking that it might be the end of the business if we did not keep the support of the community. I even called my old dance troupe, Thunder From Down Under, to see if they would hire me back if things did not go well with the delivery fee change.
(Very) Fortunately, we did not lose anyone to the change. We actually increased our membership through it. Never saw that coming but I am so thankful for you and all of the support to help us make these necessary changes in our business model.
I have mentioned this before but will reiterate it again now. The mom n’ pop home delivery model has been absolutely decimated over the last several years. Companies who mentored me, helping shape the direction of our business have lost support from their communities and had to fold up the tent. Throughout California, Colorado, Arizona, Texas and other parts of our region, home delivery models have shut down.
This is sad to see because in the ashes of those companies closing their doors you find less economic diversity, less support for small growers, and fewer choices in the marketplace. You are left with big companies who will not even return a grower’s phone call let alone buy food from them.
Our community support keeps the local food landscape growing and evolving to meet the challenges and opportunities that face all our local producers. The food world is unforgiving so your support cannot be overstated. We need you.
Here is one email that I received that I thought summed up the new move very well… “I just wanted to say that I think your decision to charge a delivery fee is right on. It makes sense business-wise and It made me stay on your site and shop a little longer to get to over $75 for stuff I actually eat but usually buy elsewhere. I was always just too rushed to take the time to shop online. So thanks for slowing me down and for all that you do to bring food to our table. -JP”
On to the next part of housekeeping this morning, the use of Plastics in Grocery & Produce. For those of you keeping score at home, plastics have become the new public enemy #1 in the sustainability world. Plastics are a very hot button issue. And recently we have had some members say that they are going to quit our service unless we stop using plastics. So this is probably a good time to communicate our view on plastics.
First off, our use of plastic is very thoughtful. It is not by accident that we use plastic for the things we do. Greens wilt without protection from the refrigerator. Refrigerators are great at keeping things cold, but they dehydrate the air and therefore kill greens that are not protected. So I will Never compromise the quality of our food to save a plastic bag.
Secondly, we do not use a lot of plastics compared to much of the produce world. Because we buy directly from the growers, they bring their harvest to us in reusable totes or cardboard. We recycle 100% of our cardboard and compost 100% of any unusable food. There is not a retailer who is as environmentally friendly as we are. I can promise you that.
Lastly, folks we just do not use a lot of plastic. Look at the size of your cooler. That is the size box that we get 2,000 plastic bags! If our average customer receives 4 bags a week, one box (the size of your cooler) will be enough plastics bags for 9 years! I can guarantee you that you are producing more waste in your house than 1 cooler of plastic every 9 years.
These also are not one-use bags. We have the useful little zip on them so that after you use the greens in them, pack a sandwich and take it to work. Store opened cheese in them. Make them last. So we will not be getting rid of our plastic bags but we will continue to use them sparingly as we always have.
Thanks for your understanding. Please let me know if you have any questions, Farmer Monte