Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

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March 5, 2010

Urban distributor reaches out to growers

Farm Fresh Delivery, a company based in Indianapolis that has expanded to Cincinnati, will provide economic chances for area growers, 50 attendees of "Time to Grow: Your Food, Your Profits, Your Opportunities" learned Feb. 27.

"he model marries current technology (www.farmfreshdelivery.com) with distribution systems" to connect local producers with buyers, noted Paul Freeland, treasurer of the event sponsor, Food and Growers Association of Laughery Valley & Environs. Two 30ish entrepreneurs are “solving some of the problems that Batesville as a community is looking to solve,"such as where to sell fruits, vegetables and other farm items on a consistent basis and how to use surplus produce.

Founder Matt Ewer, who grew up on a small Marian farm, began selling sweet corn door to door from a red wagon at 7. After college, he continued his passion for agriculture by experimenting with delivery systems, shipping produce boxes by plane from Seattle to Alaska.

When Ewer moved to Indianapolis, he discovered "a new market of people wanting to live healthy ... and support people in their own community."

Ewer considers the two-year-old endeavor “a virtual grocery store."People order online by Monday, then produce, frozen meats that come with ice packs and other edibles are delivered in reusable green plastic bins Tuesday-Friday to not just homes, but also restaurants. "Customers don't even have to be home."

"We'll choose 12-14 items of produce for bins," then participants can add and subtract what they want. In the summer, most items come from Tristate farms. In winter, it's U.S.-grown, but probably not near here. About 1,500 deliveries are made in the two cities weekly.

"Batesville is strategically located in the middle of both," he pointed out. "We drive two trucks a week" between the two cities, trading produce from both ends in Batesville. Ewer told producers, "We feel you are in a very good location for this business."

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