At your service

Food delivery companies shine in Wake County

by Danielle Jackson

Going to the grocery store has its own merits, but what happens when you want fresher seafood, fruits, and vegetables than what your local grocer can give you? Luckily for you, there is no reason to live with what you see at the store anymore. And while the State Farmers Market in Raleigh is a wonderful option for picking out the season’s best fruits, vegetables and other goods, we realize you can’t always make it to the market. So instead, let these places come to you.

Here are two home delivery companies that stand out for their efforts to deliver quality foods to homeowners and businesses across Wake County and beyond, and a handful of others that also are serving the home delivery needs of customers in the area.

Locals Seafood
At Locals Seafood, fresh seafood is purchased daily from various sources along the North Carolina coast stretching from Beaufort and New Bern to Mackey’s Ferry and Belhaven.

“Our mission is to deliver the freshest possible seafood from North Carolina fishermen to the Triangle area,” says Lin Peterson, co-owner.

This mission helps drive the Raleigh-based company, which was created when Peterson and longtime friend Ryan Speckman started the business in 2010 with a cooler filled with shrimp that they sold out of a pickup truck. Both fisheries and wildlife science majors from N.C. State University, their love for the coast, the outdoors, and good seafood began early. Now that their company is flourishing, they are dedicated to sharing their own knowledge and passion for North Carolina seafood.

Currently, the company offers home delivery via its website, as well as via phone or text. Quotes are provided based on amount of food and on location. It also regularly delivers to the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, has pickups available at other markets in the area for loyal customers, and works with between 20 and 25 restaurants in Raleigh and Durham, supplying fresh fish to diners weekly.

“We are working to reconnect coastal communities to their food systems, promote sustainable fishing practices, and strengthen relationships between fisherman and the people they feed,” Peterson says.
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The Produce Box
Like many small businesses, The Produce Box started out of its owner’s home. Courtney Tellefsen of Cary was looking for ways to keep her family eating fresh food while running her household. And while heading to the farmers market weekly was good in theory, it quickly become too much for her to bear. So she sent an email to her neighborhood group to see who’d be interested in having a group home delivery of food and almost immediately received 25 responses back.

“I really wanted to be more thoughtful about my food and where it came from,” she says. “I was determined to go to the market, talk with growers about their products, buy up lots of beautiful produce and come home to cook up a wonderful gourmet meal.”

What evolved out of her dream became The Produce Box, a home delivery company that works with 50 North Carolina farmers to deliver their fresh produce to homes across the Triangle, the Triad, and Wilmington.

The company, now in its sixth year, delivered more than 1 million pounds of fruits, vegetables and other farm items created in North Carolina to families signing up for the service. In 2012, almost 7,500 families had joined, getting almost 100 varieties of fresh North Carolina produce into circulation after harvest. Boxes range from $18.50 to $28, depending on options selected and the size of the family.

“We take care of customers and the distribution so all farmers have to do is what they do best: grow delicious fruits and veggies,” says Kevin O’Connell, chef and crop coordinator. “We get those boxes sorted and delivered quickly after we receive the produce, and all items are picked at the peak of ripeness for the best taste and nutritional value.”
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Backyard Produce
Backyard Produce serves as an online farmers market of sorts that delivers not only produce but also breads and other goods to homeowners and offices around the Triangle area. Its variety baskets usually contain the most popular items for any given season, though like other delivery companies that serve the area it offers a range of options and some customized ones too. Costs range from $25 to $55 per basket, depending on the types of foods included and the number of family members being served.
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Bella Bean Organics
At Bella Bean Organics, which recently acquired similar Triangle area home delivery business OrganicFood2You, organic produce is the main goal. The company supports local sustainable food production and the farmers who grow these foods. It is committed, then, to sourcing the highest quality of organic fruits and vegetables from reputable farmers who implement strict standards for how they grow their food. Food is harvested hours before it hits customers’ doorsteps, with the company offering online food shopping and weekly home delivery options.
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Carolina Grown
Another local produce delivery company is Carolina Grown, which serves the Triangle, Triad, and Fayetteville markets with fresh fruits and vegetables weekly. The company specializes in home delivery of food that is grown, raised and produced in North Carolina to its members. It also encourages members to learn about local food and seasonal eating by promoting sustainable events and farm tours.
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DoorStep Produce
DoorStep Produce prides itself on connecting the area’s farmers with customers.

“No grocery store I’ve visited can deliver the tomatoes I grew up with, red and bursting with flavor, or a cool crisp cucumber bought directly from the person who grew them,” says owner Bobby Hillburn. “We have partnered with these farmers and are committed to giving residents access to local farm-fresh produce.”

It partners with many of the State Farmers Market vendors to ensure delivery to customers and handles weekly delivery of such foods to homes and offices around the Triangle.
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Papa Spud’s
Papa Spud’s offers weekly subscriptions for its three sizes of boxes, which all are delivered directly to homeowners’ doors and which feature a customizable assortment of seasonal and sometimes organic items. The company works with a growing base of local farmers who utilize organic practices and who communicate their weekly harvests. The whole idea, company owners say, is to use a sustainable system of distribution that reduces waste and fossil-fuel consumption while maintaining a higher-quality product.
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Danielle Jackson is editor of Wake Living and Triad Living magazines.