Lessons learned in the first year of Local & Fresh


Scarcity is the norm in a new business, and even more so when that business is in the business of local food. Time, money and butterhead lettuce (some weeks) can be hard to come by.

However, after one full year of building a stronger local food network there are at least three things we are grateful for great abundance:

Great Customers
As I look down the list of the deliveries this week, I see the same names that I saw a year ago when we timidly stepped out to see if there was a demand for local food delivered to your home.  For those of you who were there from the beginning, a special thank you – you have helped us with your support, your feedback and your patience. For those that new to Local & Fresh…welcome aboard! You are a part of a sea change in the way that we eat. Welcome to the ark.

Passionate Producers
The second area of abundance is the incredible group of producers who grow or make some of the best food you can find. We feel so fortunate to work with a group of people who are so passionate and talented when it comes to producing a quality of food that is quickly fading away from the shelves of the big boxes. Over the past year, you (the customer) have helped our producers grow and expand their production – strengthening the local food system…and we have only just begun.

Better Food
Even though I sometimes pick and pack the order myself, I still get excited when it is our own Local & Fresh delivery day. I look forward to each meal and the taste that will be enjoyed. This is coming from a guy who was a long way off from being a foodie not too long ago.

But it is not just my own taste buds that have delighted to the taste of real food that is truly fresh. As a parent, I love seeing one son actually ask for more of “Tim’s Carrots” or the other son writing a story for school about “Marco’s Pizza” being his favourite food. They have noticed a difference in our food too. They know who made it. They may not understand the benefit to the environment, the economy or their health, but they certainly understand good taste!

One of the most amazing things of a year of “living la vida local” has been how our family has been able to replace so many “foods from far away” in our house with better options that support local producers. The switch to local has been worth it just for the improvement in our morning coffee! Although, I fear that if Caliber’s Los Mandrinos coffee were a person I would have serious rival for my wife’s affection.

We would love to hear from you on this one. Is there a food you found this year that has changed your family’s dinner table? Is there a grocery staple that we need to add? Send your comments, your questions, and even your love to info@localandfresh.ca. It helps us to get better and better.

Still more to do
We are incredibly grateful for the abundance of the past year. The growth has been fantastic. However, it is still short of where we need to be to truly be a sustainable and to have the robust local food network we seek to create.

If you believe in better food options; if you believe in a better environment; if you believe in supporting the local economy; if you believe that food should taste good…we ask for your continued support and your help to spread the word.

Have some friends over for dinner and tell them where the incredible food on their plate came from. Make an order for your parents or your grandparents. Shout it from the rooftop! (L & F does not endorse actually going up to your roof.)

Thank you for a wonderful first year…here’s to many more!

Andrew Rathwell