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High Tech Farm Delivery: Good Eggs

Issue 05

In typical Bay Area fashion — where San Francisco meets Silicon Valley — Alon Salant and Rob Spiro approached the challenge of creating a closer bond between people, food, and technology. Good Eggs is an online platform where customers can order directly from local farmers and artisanal food-makers, with goods delivered to their home or dropped off at a convenient location. Launching a pilot of their digital marketplace in 2012, they followed with a full service and distribution system in the Bay Area in early 2013.

Driven by a mission to grow and sustain local food systems worldwide, Alon and Rob built Good Eggs based on feedback they received from local producers who wanted to easily connect with consumers. “We’re building tools to service the local food movement — also called the “integrity food movement” — and the amazing food producers who are a part of it,” Rob explains. “Ultimately we see better food as a means to a better world, where the folks who succeed are the ones doing things right: caring for their land, their communities, and making food with integrity.”

Good Eggs is gaining momentum, adding new producers weekly to their roster of over 150 Bay Area farmers and producers. The team will soon be expanding to Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.


INTERVIEW ROB SPIRO, Co-Founder, Good Eggs, {San Francisco}

01 How did you and your team get into the online farmer to consumer grocery business?
We started Good Eggs with just a mission statement: to grow and sustain local food systems worldwide.  We hypothesized that there was some tech-enabled product or service we could build in service of that mission.  So rather than picking an idea right off the bat, we spent months in research mode, talking to local farmers and foodmakers in order to see what they needed, what aggravated them, what they loved about their work. We kept hearing the same things: producers wanted help with the marketing and distribution of their direct sales, so that they could connect with more customers and not have to become full-time delivery drivers.

Rob: Before launching Good Eggs, I founded the social search engine Aardvark, which was acquired by Google in 2010, and was a product lead on the Google+ project. Prior to joining Google, I worked to revitalize a deteriorating farm in upstate New York, helping to raise chickens and harvest tomatoes. It was getting my hands dirty on the farm that sparked my passion for food and sustainability.

Cathy:  I also worked at Google in sales and marketing before coming to Good Eggs. Reading Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser in college opened my eyes to our broken food system, and years later I fell in love with an independent baker (we’re about to get married — and he sells on Good Eggs!), which ensured that local food issues would forever be in my heart.

02 How does the service work?
You order online, direct from your local farmers and foodmakers. You choose exactly what you want, from the producers that you want. The farmers and food-makers pick and prepare your food to order — so in most cases, a farmer will literally pull something out of the ground within hours of you ordering on the website – then they bring it to us, and we pack and deliver it all right to you. You can also pick up for free at lots of convenient spots.  We think it’s more convenient than grocery shopping, and much better for the producers who actually make the food.  It’s also much more customizable than a CSA – with Good Eggs you pick exactly what you want and there’s no need to subscribe.



03 Why is a service such as Good Eggs needed relevant in the world today?
The local food movement, or the “integrity food movement” as its sometimes called, is a worldwide phenomenon that has been picking up momentum for many many years.  You see it in the growth of farmers markets, farm-to-table restaurants, and general customer awareness of the source of their food. We’re building tools in service of that movement and the amazing food producers who are a part of it, we’re building infrastructure so that the local food movement can keep growing and grow a little faster. Ultimately we see better food as a means to a better world, a world where the folks who succeed are the ones doing things right; caring for their land, their communities, and making food with integrity.

04 Where is the gap in education/information in the minds of consumers when it comes to purchasing food?
It’s so hard to get even the most basic information about your food when buying through conventional channels. It can start to feel like food appears out of thin air. As a society, we’ve lost what have always been the most important elements of food: that it’s one of our primary ties to each other and our most intimate connection with nature. Bringing that back, remembering that actual people make our food, that doing it the right way takes time and energy, and that the end result is good for everyone, is something we’re shouting from the rooftops.

05 What is the most significant thing you learned about food since launching Good Eggs?
That there is a complicated logistics process involved in getting food into retail settings – a logistics process that involves lots of refrigeration, lots of truck driving, and in most cases today, lots of waste.  We’re working to simplify that process and eliminate the waste involved.



Photo Source: Colin Price

06 Do you entertain at home?
Yes! I entertain very simply, with basic dishes — when you buy good ingredients, you can simplify the preparation and still have really amazing food that can be the centerpiece of a celebration. We usually eat slowly, linger on lots of courses, and generally enjoy each others’ company. There’s always wine on the table, great cheeses and cured meats, and lots of seasonal fruits.

07 What is next for Good Eggs?
We’re focusing on building our operations in the Bay Area as we get ready to launch operations (including warehouses and full delivery) in our other cities as well. In the next few months we’ll expand to more cities across the country and abroad. Soon we’ll build mobile apps to make ordering even easier for customers, continue to build better tools to help farmers and foodmakers run their businesses, and better tools to help restaurants and institutions buy from Good Eggs producers.  One thing we’ve learned is that infrastructure for local food is needed in almost all places where it’s taking off.

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