How to get local produce delivered to your door in Metro Detroit
Prior to COVID-19, farmer Alex Ball expected it would be a decade before Metro Detroit farmers massively adopted online ordering systems. However, that changed when the pandemic broke out.
“It was fun,” says Ball, owner of Belleville Old City Acres. “Overnight, every farmer developed a way to sell their product online. I’m excited now because I’m seeing a lot of growth among smallholders.”
The pandemic has given numerous metro Detroit farmers an unexpected boost in energy to expand their businesses and deliver local food directly to their customers. Ball introduced an online ordering system and CSA in 2018. His CSA membership rose from 15 members in 2018 to 25 members in 2019 – and then to 50 in 2020, forcing him to build new infrastructure to meet the additional demand.
“My business shot up in the one month period that people decided to go back to buying local food,” laughs Ball.
Detroit planted is a “vertical farm” near Belle Isle that grows greens and herbs in a controlled indoor environment. The plants are stacked on the ceilings of two buildings to maximize the cubic space. Before the pandemic, Planted Detroit mainly sold its product to restaurants. When the pandemic hit, the company launched an online shop where customers could order ready-to-eat salads for delivery in the greater metropolitan area.
“Our plan for our products has always been a direct-to-consumer model,” says Simon Yevzelman, Planted’s director of food safety and biosecurity. “Really, the pandemic has only accelerated these plans.”
Other companies have introduced new ways to connect multiple local farmers online with new customers during the pandemic. Drew Patrick is the owner of Michigan Fields, an online store based on Eastern Market for Michigan products and more. Patrick says he had tentative plans for the company for a long time because he worked with local food and beverage companies through his branding and design business. Skidmore Studio.
When COVID hit, Patrick said, “We said, ‘This is one way we can help, and it’s a way for us to keep people busy and support local growers and producers.’ So we got it up and running in about two weeks. “
Dazmonique Carr, founder of Deeply rooted productsays the pandemic forced them “to see what we are good at and what other people are not doing”. She started her business, an online marketplace selling products from farms in Metro Detroit, in 2016 when she was at Wayne State University. She realized that she had an advantage in the many connections she had with Detroit farmers and an opportunity for growth in the fact that many of those farmers did not deliver to customers’ doorsteps. That’s why she started a CSA in 2020 that offers delivery across Metro Detroit.
Carr says the farmers she works with are “grateful” for the new stream of income that Deeply Rooted Produce has created.
“When you weren’t online, you had minimal streams of income, mostly because people weren’t really coming in person,” she says. “If you had a farm stand or were in a market, the effect of not having an online presence was definitely noticeable.”
Although food shortages in large grocery stores spurred an initial surge in interest in local food last year, that interest has continued this year – and farmers believe it will stay here. Jerry Ann Hebron is the managing director of Northend Christian Community Development Corporationwho runs the Oakland Avenue Urban Farm in the North End of Detroit. In addition to providing thousands of free meals to those in need last year, the farm also launched one Online shop in cooperation with D-Town Farm. The business will add 10 more local vendors this year, and Hebron expects to add more in the years to come.
“People’s awareness was raised and it was shocking,” she says. “I think now people are more interested in seeing who grows the food, who they are, what their growing practices are, and saying, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going there in Oakland’ or ‘I’m going out D-Town in Rouge Park. ‘”
“The pandemic has really accelerated the changes that people like me would like to see in the food and agriculture sectors,” he says. “We want to reduce our reliance on monocultures. We want to reduce our reliance on off-season foods that are grown elsewhere and shipped across the nation, lose their freshness on the truck and then stay on the shelf for two days. that will only do [local] Businesses thrive and it will make people healthier. “
Local food on your doorstep
Would you like to have local groceries delivered to your own doorstep? Here are some of the numerous options available in Metro Detroit:
Beaverland Farms:: The CSA of this Brightmoor-based farm offers delivery within 20 miles of its location at 15078 Beaverland St., Detroit.
Deeply rooted product:: The Detroit-based company’s online store, Detroit Produce Market, offers local produce, baked goods, and other supplies. Launched last year, the CSA will return this year with a tiered pricing model to serve customers of all income levels. Delivery is throughout Metro Detroit or you can pick up your order at Rivendell Gardens in Detroit.
Doorganics:: The Grand Rapids-based company provides local product delivery in Detroit and Grand Rapids. Only a limited number of new customers are accepted in certain zip codes. So check if the service is available in your region.
Dot’s Market:: The Detroit company founded during the pandemic aims to deliver local products to both paying customers and those who may be unsafe. You can buy a product box for yourself or make a smaller donation that will provide a box for someone in need.
Farm box:: The Kansas City-based company has a hub in Detroit that provides delivery of local product boxes.
FarmStop:: Two residents of Birmingham launched this local online grocery store last year in response to the pandemic. They offer delivery anywhere in Counties Wayne or Oakland, as well as pickup from their Livonia headquarters.
Fisheye farms:: The CSA of this Detroit-based farm offers delivery within 20 miles of its location at 2334 Buchanan St.
Market cart:: The Indianapolis-based local product delivery company has a hub in Michigan. You can order local products for delivery in Wayne County and other areas of southeast Michigan.
Michigan family farm:: The Brighton-based company supplies produce, meat, dairy, seafood, baked goods and other ready-made meals from dozens of Michigan farms.
Michigan Fields:: This Detroit-based online store sells Michigan products, meat, dairy, and baked goods for delivery in Metro Detroit. This year, Michigan Fields’ own meat and butter will also be launched.
Care for our seeds:: This urban farm in Detroit sells excess product baskets for online delivery.
Detroit planted: This Detroit company specializes in vegetables, herbs, and ready-made salads. Immediate delivery is available in Detroit, Hamtramck, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Madison Heights, any Grosse Pointe parish or St. Clair Shores.
Detroit Farms business:: This Detroit-based marketplace was formerly the online marketplace for D-Town Farm and Oakland Avenue Urban Farm and has been renamed Shop Detroit Farms to accommodate the new local vendors to be added this year. For the first time this year, delivery is only to customers in the city of Detroit.
Above all, this list is not exhaustive! If you’re having trouble finding a product delivery service that meets your specific needs, you may not be alone. The high demand over the past year has resulted in some restricting their new customers / subscribers. Ball notes, for example, that he has already sold out his CSA membership for this year. But for those who think they missed the boat this year for fresh produce deliveries, he recommends calling your local farmers market who may be able to connect you with a farmer who might be able to use your business.