As I read through OurHarvest’s site and learned more about how it worked, I started to get very excited about its potential. I believe OurHarvest is solving some intractable problems facing the food industry that can make the world a better and healthier place. As an online platform with competitive prices, OurHarvest may change the way you shop for all-natural foods.
If you have friends or family in Long Island, OurHarvest just launched this past weekend in 3 towns including my hometown of Port Washington.
You can learn more about OurHarvest by reading my interview with Scott & Mike below.
1) What is OurHarvest?
OurHarvest is a new online food business offering high-quality, fresh products at fair prices while combating hunger at the same time.
2) How does OurHarvest work?
It’s simple: Customers choose a convenient market location and pick-up date from the dropdown menu on our homepage. Then they shop our fresh, all-natural, top-quality products. (For every order of $25 or more, we donate a meal to fight hunger in the communities we serve!) Then they pick up their order at the selected time and place. Getting fresh, delicious food is that easy.
3) Why did you start it?
We started OurHarvest to address three major problems:
1) The food supply chain is very inefficient. Unnecessary middlemen and traditional grocery stores create higher consumer prices, products that are less fresh than they should be, and questions of traceability.
2) Food quality is inconsistent. Products are often mislabeled, some producers use unnatural ingredients, and customers aren’t always sure what they’re getting.
3) The number of under-nourished people in the U.S. is way too high. Nearly 1 in 6 Americans live in food-insecure households, including almost 16 million kids.
OurHarvest’s innovative business model seeks to address all of these concerns. By partnering with farmers, fishermen, and food artisans, we purchase or source our all-natural products locally to maximize freshness, ensure quality and traceability, and keep costs down. No questions about artificial additives, mislabeled products, or where your food comes from. We offer fresh, tasty food the old-fashioned way!
4) Why do you think all-natural food is healthier than just buying conventional groceries?
In this age in which people are more informed about what they’re consuming (and what their kids are consuming!), there are obvious benefits to buying all-natural food. Artificial additives may make something last longer or taste differently, but consuming products with ingredients we can’t pronounce means that we’re putting truly foreign things into our bodies that generally contain less nutritional value than all-natural products. Many studies have linked the consumption of processed food with poor health and added stress on our bodies because we have difficulty digesting such products.
5) Isn’t buying all-natural food a lot more expensive than conventional food?
It shouldn’t be! Look, done properly, farm-to-table will never be cheaper than factory-grown equivalents. It’s impossible for a small farmer whose chickens actually roam on grass outside to compete on price with the captive, densely-held birds of the larger poultry manufacturers. But just because something costs more does not mean it should be unaffordable, and that’s one of the problems in the marketplace we aim to solve. All-natural food should be accessible to a much wider segment of the population at reasonable prices. In our model of purchasing in bulk from farms and fishermen, we’re able to offer our customers fair prices without sacrificing quality – meaning that all-natural food should find its way into more kitchens without breaking the bank.
6) Can’t I just go to Whole Foods, or Trader Joes to buy all-natural foods? Why should I use your site?
There are of course many choices in the marketplace, but we believe our model is compelling. Without major distribution facilities, food brokers, and other unnecessary middlemen, we get fresh products to our customers faster than grocery stores. Fresher products taste better and retain more of their nutritional value. As noted, we also offer our products at very fair prices – we encourage customers to compare the prices of equivalent products from other food outlets. And for those of us who are civic-minded and care about being socially responsible, we leverage the power of community to help fight hunger. When people shop with us, they’re not only eating healthier and getting good value; they’re also helping neighbors in need.
7) What is the advantage of using OurHarvest versus going to a farmer’s market?
OurHarvest offers two big advantages: First, because we don’t have the same costs as farmers who travel far to get to the farmer’s markets, and because we purchase in bulk, we can usually offer equivalent products for better prices. Second, we offer predictability in product selection. Customers know we will show up with the products they ordered.
8) How do you choose your food suppliers?
We’re very selective in choosing our food suppliers. We aim to work with suppliers that adhere to the highest standards of procuring great products without cutting any corners in how they do so. We taste every single product before we offer it; we visit the farms we partner with and get to know them. And we work with established businesses that have a proven track record of quality, consistency, and success.
9) Is there a minimum amount of food required to purchase on the site, or a minimum payment?
There are no registration fees, subscription payments or other minimum payments. If someone only wants to buy a carton of eggs, we’d love to serve them! Certain of our products do have minimum package sizes, which enables us to pass along as much savings to our customers as we can. Offering family-size packages for certain of our products increases our purchasing power and enables us to maximize the value we give our customers.
10) How can BuiltLean readers bring OurHarvest to their neighborhoods? What are your plans for expansion?
We’re definitely looking to expand! We’ve already received many requests asking us to bring OurHarvest to other communities, and we’re exploring some of these opportunities right now. If someone is interested in bringing us to their neighborhood, they can contact us at [email protected] and let us know. We’ll take it from there!
11) Is there anything else you would like to mention?
One point we think is worth noting is the ambiguity over the label “organic.” Many people only want to purchase items that have this label at places such as Whole Foods. However, many people are not aware of what this label means. In short, a product that is certified to be “organic” is typically just an all-natural product for which a farmer has done some paperwork and paid an inspector of their own choosing to certify the product. You can imagine the potential for shenanigans to go on in terms of the certification process! All of it is done to justify higher prices to consumers. What people should care about is that their products are all-natural, not that they have a label of questionable validity that requires them to spend more money.
Have questions for Scott & Mike? Leave a comment!