August 21, 2013

Natural Foodie: Organic, local produce delivered right to your door

By AVERY YALE KAMILA

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click image to enlarge

Casco Bay Organics owner Jillian Hilton delivers a small box of fresh produce to a home in Portland.

Photo by David Zwickerhill/Zwickerhill Photography

TO LEARN MORE about Casco Bay Organics, visit cascobayorganics.com.

Home grocery delivery is a growing trend across the country. While the 2012 "U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends" report by the Food Marketing Institute found that only 4 percent of shoppers have purchased fresh produce online, 54 percent have purchased other grocery items online.

 Many of the companies in the growing field are small start-ups like Casco Bay Organics and Golden Gate Organics. But larger ventures such as Farmigo and Relay Foods have entered the market backed by significant venture capital. Meanwhile, industry giants, including Walmart and Amazon, appear poised to rollout nationwide home delivery of fresh produce.

 Convenience is the main appeal of these services, but it's also a way for shoppers to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Recent research shows that using a grocery delivery service cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 25 to 75 percent because an efficiently routed truck consumes less fuel than each of us driving our own car to the grocery store. 

Currently the service is centered around Portland, but Casco Bay Organic's delivery range stretches to Waterford, Biddeford, Windham and Freeport.

"I deliver to homes, business and schools," Hilton said. "And I donate the rest of the produce at the end of day to the Preble Street Resource Center."

Each customer gives instructions on where to leave his or her delivery and they're encouraged to leave coolers out if the company must leave their produce outside.

Being a small start-up, Hilton said she makes sure her customer service is top-notch. She'll even check with customers to make sure there wasn't a mistake if an order shows up for all of one item.

"I cannot say enough about Jillian and her team," Warren said. "They are so responsive to questions and have a passion for our local community of Maine farmers." 

It's clear Hilton has a passion for connecting shoppers with local and organic produce. She also has a passion for Maine.

While she grew up in Massachusetts, she moved to Maine when she was 19 and says, "Maine feels like my home." 

Avery Yale Kamila lives in Portland, where she eats organic fruits and veggies and writes about health food. She can be reached at:

avery.kamila@gmail.com

Twitter: AveryYaleKamilaINFO

 

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