Locavore lust? ACME Farms+Kitchen delivers
Whatcom County residents don't need to go far, or even leave home, to have access to high-quality, locally produced food. ACME Farms + Kitchen makes use of local growers and suppliers to make deliveries to members. The service was started in June 2011 by Cara Piscitello and Joy Rubey, and has grown more than threefold in the last year.
Members regularly receive wide varieties of locally grown and made produce, fruit, meat, pasta and even dairy products. ACME buys from more than 30 food growers and producers, almost all of which are located within a 100-hundred mile radius of Bellingham.
The business plan is, in short, an online variation of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a model which has members pay for a portion of anticipated harvest prior to the start of a growing season. ACME Farms + Kitchen asks members pay a $30 fee that covers membership for a season. They then send out weekly emails detailing what proteins will be available. Members then log onto the online store and order various tasty locally produced and grown items – from eggs and dairy to baked goods, produce and more. Delivery takes place on Wednesdays. Food can be picked up at delivery points or even sent directly to subscribers' homes.
The business has undergone substantial growth since its humble beginnings. Deliveries began on June 29, 2011, and the first season wrapped up with 100 members. This year, the second season began with approximately 325 members.
This expansion even caused the need for a new, more spacious location. The new 5,400-square-foot headquarters is located at 1313 N. State St. in Bellingham. It includes a commercial kitchen, a distribution facility/event room and office. The commercial kitchen will allow harvest to be better preserved to allow for greater distribution during winter months, Piscitello said, adding that the kitchen is also going to be used to create time-saving products such as pie crusts, sauces and dressings.
The mentality behind the operation has undergone various changes over time as well. Initially customers could just pick any produce they wanted off the site. However, with time, Piscitello and Rubey shifted the focus to helping members use the products they get to create full meals and learn to cook effectively with the food they buy. This, according to the owners, is the next step in encouraging more people to eat locally.
The "locavore box" is a prime example of this shift and is quickly becoming the site's trademark. Those who purchase the box receive meat, seafood, pasta, cheese, eggs and produce. More importantly, they receive recipes for meals that can be created with the ingredients in the box.
Anyone with an interest supporting locally grown food, as well as an up and coming business, can get information and sign up at acmefarmsandkitchen.com.