Libraries Encourage Healthier Minds And Eaters With Fresh Produce Deliveries
By Dawn M. Chiossi
Now libraries can do the same thing for the body: Tempting taste buds, inspiring people to eat healthy, and celebrating fresh food, Field Goods Produce Year Round Delivery Service will bring the succulent tastes of the farmer’s market to customers, offering and delivering fresh produce to area libraries.
Since October 11, in a brand new pilot program, area libraries including Wayne, Totowa, Little Falls, West Orange and Bloomingdale have become pick-up locations for this innovative service.
Field Goods was founded in 2011 with a mission of celebrating fresh food and bringing it from small farms to consumers at workplaces and community sites everywhere. Armed with passion and a strong belief of the positive power of food, small business, and helping others, Field Goods was founded by Donna Williams after she completed an agricultural development consulting project to identify ways to grow farming in Greene County where she lived.
Humbly beginning as a company with a dream, an old station wagon, two employees, and 60 customers, Field Goods combines its concern for consumer health and desire to help the natural food industry into a successful venture of e-commerce. It has now expanded to serving customers New York, Connecticut, and Northern New Jersey.
Convenient, delicious, and fresh each week, taking advantage of this library delivery program is an ideal way for people to get produce, plus other mouth watering delights, without too much effort or thought.
Getting started is easy, and people can choose from weekly or bi-weekly deliveries.
With more than 150 varieties of fruits and vegetables, and dozens of other local products, there is a cornucopia of artesian items to choose from that can be added to the order a la carte’ including: Free range eggs, breads, cheeses, herbs and pastas of the week, butter, honey, yogurt and more.
Simply by signing up and going to the respective libraries, subscribers will receive five to eight different types of fruits and vegetables each week, depending on bag size, plus add-ons, from more than 60 small farms that practice sustainable farming.
Bags cost $16 to $32 per week, depending what ingredients are chosen. Included in the purchase will be a fun, witty and educational newsletter entitled “Out Of the Bag,” which will describe the contents of the weekly deliveries and provide suggestions recipe links. Additionally, the price will include $1 contribution to go to the specific library to support it, and their continuing efforts to bring programs, events and activities to their communities.
Once signed up, every Friday Field Goods will send an email “In the Bag” alert with the fruits and vegetables that will be in the bag that week. Patrons have until Monday at 11 a.m. to decide if they want the bag for that week.
Pickups will be on Thursdays.
The Field Goods program offers a myriad of benefits to so many: from consumers, to wellness in general, to partnering with farms and farmers, selling their unique products to a new market at a fair price, this is a win-win situation for everyone.
And libraries are thrilled.
Over at the Wayne Public Library, Director Doreen Shorba states, “Field Goods is very popular. We have about a half dozen regulars so far that really enjoy getting their fruits and vegetables from the library.”
Patricia Perugino, director of the Bloomingdale Free Public Library likes the idea of promoting eating healthy while supporting small farms. When asked if she participates in the program herself, she states, “I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in Field Goods. It has been healthy, enjoyable and educational.”
She is impressed with the selections offered.
“The month of October even offered purple foods such as Chinese Eggplant, Purple Viking Potatoes, and Concord Grapes,” says Perugino.
Anne Krautheim, director of Totowa Library, is extremely enthusiastic regarding the program.
“It really makes sense as we are a community center,” says Krautheim. “This service really comes full circle. We provide our patrons access to fresh fruits and vegetables and help local farmers. It enables families to try something new and different and Field Goods makes it so easy.”
She mentions that the program really took off during the spring and summer months, when they first participated in it.
“The staff loves it, many are weekly customers,” says Krautheim. “One staff member Brian Sedita started a Meatless Monday cooking demonstration using the Field Goods ingredients, and was even able to get an eight year old to try broccoli rabe. The feedback from the patrons has been overwhelmingly positive, stating that they love the adventure of cooking and trying new things.”
Krautheim adds that a patron’s son loves to prepare a gourmet meal with the ingredients!
Krautheim herself is a customer as well who enjoys the variety of options and trying new vegetables.
“Have you ever tried Kohlrabi? It’s delicious,” she quips. “The produce is so fresh and it’s packed in such an environmentally friendly way that you just can’t help loving this company. Sometimes I feel like I am on that cooking show Chopped.”
Perhaps the moment that stands out in her mind the most regarding the program was launching the idea of Field Goods at the Totowa Library. Krautheim shares that she wanted to do it in a big way.
“I ordered some farm props from Oriental Trading and encouraged the staff to dress up like farmers so we could pose on Facebook,” she says, adding that she reached out to Field Goods and the post was sent out to hundreds of people. That was my big moment!”
For further information or details, or to sign up, visit www.field-goods.com.