Friends & Farms
last month launched two pickup sites in Baltimore, in Roland Park and Little Italy. The Columbia-based alternative food provider is starting with 30 customers at the new locations but expects to increase that number and to add additional pickup sites in the future.
“We knew there was a community in the city for us,” says director of marketing Regina McCarthy, who conducted a marketing campaign with an emphasis on social media before the Baltimore launch.
“We picked those sites because they are central and north of downtown,” says McCarthy, “and also because we are working with people who understand what we're doing.”
The Baltimore pickup sites are at the Gilman School, at 5407 Roland Ave. and 210 South Central Ave, at Stratford University.
Friends & Farms sells weekly baskets of fresh, locally-grown produce and other items year-round. Customers pick up their baskets at designated sites on designated days. Since its founding last year
, the company has grown from three sites to seven and from 30 customers to over 250. Sites are located in Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties besides Baltimore. It's one of several companies that are delivering farm-fresh produce and meat
McCarthy says that co-founders Philip Gottwals and Tim Hosking not only wanted to offer an alternative food system to consumers but to give farmers financial security. Before the growing season, company staffers meet with about 70 local farmers to plan crops for the baskets. The company also works with local bakeries, creameries, meat processors, fishermen and people who make honey and preserves.
Weekly baskets vary in size: one-person at $40 per week, two-person at $51 per week and four-person at $76 per week. A vegetarian basket runs $55 per week. New this year are gluten-free and dairy-free options.
Each basket contains enough food for one week, including fresh produce, two proteins (fish, poultry, meat or vegetarian), bread and dairy. Food selection varies with the seasons. The company sends customers a weekly newsletter with recipes and updates on the farmers, and sponsors a yearly tour of the farms.
Friends & Farms has a staff of nine, and may be hiring additional staffers this fall.
Source: Regina McCarthy, Friends &Farms
Writer: Barbara Pash