Green B.E.A.N. Brings the Farmer’s Market to Your Front Door
One of summer’s little luxuries is being able to amble through the local farmer’s market, sampling new foods and picking up fresh, local produce. But what if summer mornings are consumed by soccer games or baseball practice, and what happens when the farmer’s market goes away with the winter weather? Where can a shopper turn to find good local foods? Green B.E.A.N.Delivery, a home delivery service of organic produce and natural groceries has a solution to this dilemma.
Founded in 2007 by Matt Ewer and Beth Blessing, a husband-wife team and Indiana natives, Green B.E.A.N. sought to fill a hole in the local market by providing convenient and affordable access to foods from local farmers and artisans. Says Matt, “We knew that everyone has a busy life, and so we felt that if we could make healthy food options convenient that it would be utilized.”
After a short stint on the west coast where Beth earned her Masters degree in Nutrition and Matt worked as the General Manager of Full Circle Farm, they decided to return to Indiana to start their family and to fulfill their dream of owning a farm. Matt’s knowledge of buying, selling, and growing produce combined with Beth’s nutritional acumen, they decided to work backwards toward reaching the goal of owning a farm. First, they would partner with local farmers and artisans to delivery their goods and eventually purchase their own farm where they would grow many of the organic items that they deliver.
Starting with just 4 employees and utilizing word of mouth and social media as marketing tools, Green B.E.A.N. has grown to having nearly a 100 employees and delivering approximately 2,000 food bins to customers in the greater Indianapolis area. When asked for his opinion as to why the organization grew so quickly, Matt responded, “We have a good understanding that you only grow when you are providing a good product. Since the beginning we have been very focused on the quality of our products and service.”
So how does Green B.E.A.N. work? A customer simply logs on to the website (www.greenbeandelivery.com) and creates an account. The only requirements for membership is a standing order totaling $35 or more. This standing order consists of the produce bin you select and the frequency of delivery, either weekly or bimonthly. The produce bins come in small (for a small family or 2-3 people), medium (sized for a family of 4), or large (sized for a large family). Additional options include a fruit only bin and a produce plus groceries bin. All bins include a mix of seasonal produce. A unique aspect of Green B.E.A.N. is that, unlike similar food delivery services (such as a CSA), members may customize their bins with items they can choose from the company website. The company delivers each bin to the customer’s home on their scheduled date.
“Lots of members have reported weight loss after starting the program,” says Matt. “If healthy food choices are dropped off at your door, you will eat healthier.”
Heather Mullins of Carmel, whose family has been using Green B.E.A.N. for 2 years, agrees. “We decided to use Green B.E.A.N. because we wanted fresh organic produce and dairy in our home at all times. We also thought if we had produce automatically delivered to our house we would be more likely to eat it, and we were right.”
This year Ewer and Blessing realized their dream when they opened Feel Good Farm, a 60-acre organic farm in Sheridan, Indiana. “The B.E.A.N. in our name stands for Biodynamic Education Agriculture and Nutrition, and in 2011 we really focused on agriculture by opening the farm,” says Ewer. In addition to the foods they grow at Feel Good, they typically utilize about 100 different growers during the season with an emphasis on using local farmers. According to Ewer, “Local food is so important to the local community.” In addition to the greater Indianapolis area, Green B.E.A.N. also delivers to Fort Wayne, Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Louisville. Plans for 2012 include developing a farm in the Cincinnati area.
Supporting the local community is a top priority to Green B.E.A.N. “We believe in showing what a food company can do. We take our community partnerships very seriously,” says Ewer. In the 4 years that they have been operating, Green B.E.A.N. has donated over 125,000 pounds of food to local food banks and charities. Green B.E.A.N. partners with Gleaners Food Bank and Second Helpings, as well as organizing their own ongoing food drive, called Constant Can Food Drive. Members can place canned goods into their empty bins for pick up on delivery days to make an easy donation. “It’s important for members to know that when they choose us as a delivery service their money is staying within the community, both by supporting local growers and artisans as well as local charities.” That commitment extends to the customer service they provide their members. Says Mullins, “They are a great business because they provide excellent customer service and are very flexible. The few times we have had an issue over the past 2 years it was quickly resolved. I recommend them to all our friends.”
“It’s been one heck of a ride,” comments Ewer when asked about Green B.E.A.N.’s rapid success, “but we knew if we offered a quality service that the reaction would be positive, and we’re proud of what we’ve been able to do.” So while that weekly stroll through the farmer’s market is a distant memory this time of year, by delivering fresh, local, and quality produce and groceries to customers, Green B.E.A.N. is bringing that farmer’s market experience right to your front door.