Locally farmed food that's brought straight to your doorstep: That's the big idea that Howard Brown is launching later this month with his new company, Dominion Harvest.
Brown will deliver fresh produce weekly to his customers' homes throughout the Richmond region. The fruits and vegetables will change seasonally as Brown's supplier farms work through their harvesting rotations. The boxes of produce come in two different sizes. The smaller Commonwealth Box costs $37 and contains an assortment of 10 to 12 different items; the Governor's Box holds 14 to 16 items and costs $52.
Brown says he priced the Commonwealth Box against the same list of items at local grocery retailers. Compared to two retailers — one a chain and the other a natural-foods market with a single location — the pricing falls somewhere in between. The items at the grocery chain cost $30 vs. $46 at the natural-foods market.
There will be a standard assortment of items in each box, though customers may have slight flexibility to swap some items because of dietary restrictions.
"I want this system to have people start thinking about local food as less of a novelty item," Brown says. In other words, eating locally farmed food can become more the rule than the exception.
Most of the 20 farms supplying produce to Dominion Harvest use sustainable or certified-organic processes, Brown says.
"Each box I deliver is going to have an itemized list — you'll know the farm it came from and what is organic," he says. "If anything in that box is not organic, you're going to know where it came from, you're going to know that it's not organic, and you're going to know why."