WALKERTON – Brad and Jill Pitt are a brother and sister who share a business that’s based on supplying the freshest produce, from local suppliers whenever possible, directly to consumers.
The Produce Club concept began four years ago, said Jill. At first it was a bit of a hobby, something to try out, but now it’s a thriving business.
The concept is simple – they put together boxes of produce each week, or every two weeks, and deliver them directly to their customers.
The two deal with local producers to get the freshest local fruits and vegetables when they’re in season, and top them off with items purchased at the Ontario Food Terminal in Toronto.
“We like to deal with local producers,” said Jill.
A typical box of produce might contain potatoes, squash, carrots, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes, as well as strawberries or bananas. Boxes come in three sizes, the smallest perfect for one or two people.
Jill said she has customers who share a box, splitting both the cost and the contents.
The boxes are delivered to central pick-up points or even to the customer’s doorstep (there’s a nominal charge for home delivery). They have customers throughout Grey-Bruce, from Markdale to Port Elgin, including nearby Hanover and other local communities. Winter snow can present some issues – Jill said their van has gotten stuck a couple of times – but delivery is year-round.
“This is a big thing in the cities,” said Jill.
But there’s no reason people in this community can’t take advantage of the Produce Club.
She said the benefits go beyond getting the freshest possible produce. It’s budget-friendly – very good value for the money – and means fewer trips to the store. While most of the items in the box are what people would choose for themselves, sometimes there are less-familiar items, and that’s good, too.
“A lot of people like the opportunity to try different things,” Jill said.
The convenience is a major selling point. People fill out their order online, pay with a credit card, and it’s delivered regularly after that. If the customer goes away for the winter, they put a hold on their order. If they want a box of food only once a month, they order it for every two weeks and put a hold on it the week they don’t want it.
For more information, or to become a member of the Produce Club, visit produceclub.ca.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times