HAMPTON—A box truck rolls into Riverdale Shopping Center off of West Mercury Boulevard precisely at 7:00 am after making an earlier delivery to Williamsburg. Cars and pickup trucks start to pull in shortly after, brimming with cardboard boxes emblazoned with the phrase “DIRT TO DOORSTEP” on them. People wearing distinctive Seasonal Roots t-shirts methodically unpack the boxes and stack them neatly by the truck.
“We reuse the boxes to be eco-friendly,” said Tami Farinholt, Area Manager for Seasonal Roots in the Hampton/Newport News Area. “If a box is stained with strawberry juice or something, we still collect them and bring them back so they can be recycled by the company.”
Once the trunks and pickup beds are unloaded, the fun begins. The driver of the truck pulls a large insulated box on a handcart out to the truck’s hydraulic platform and expertly positions it in the parking lot, then goes back up to get a pallet full of shrink-wrapped boxes packed with individual orders.
Inside the insulated box are specialty items such as ground beef, bratwurst, dips and sauces, artisan breads, fresh pastries, eggs, milk, butter, and more. Farinholt goes through a checklist to identify which specialty items are going to each customer and groups them.
In the meantime, the area managers, also affectionately known as “Veggie Fairies,” swarm the shrink-wrapped boxes coming off the truck, unwrap them, sort through them, and start stacking them behind each other’s vehicles. These will be delivered to customers as soon as each individual box is checked to make sure the items ordered are included and the fruits and vegetables inside are fresh and aesthetically sound.
Another load comes off the truck with more boxes of fruits and vegetables grouped by category. There’s a box of green peppers, another with beets, kale, tomatoes, and more. If something is missing from the customer’s checklist for each box, the Veggie Fairies use this third load for substitutions.
“We had a lot of requests for asparagus on this particular run,” said Farinholt. “Unfortunately, the weather last week was too hot and the asparagus went to seed, meaning the stalks would be woody and basically just not edible.”
Once the substitutions have been made, the Market Managers pack up their boxes and start making their delivery rounds. It’s a cycle they repeat every Thursday morning.
For the customer, the ordering process is simple. They can go online, pick from three different “basket” options based on how many types of veggies they want each week, then they can customize their orders with the specialty items previously mentioned. They can customize the deliveries each week, based on what’s available.
“It’s the home delivery and it’s the 30-second ordering process with a basket of local produce that they really, truly want,” said Duane Slyder, Founder, CEO, and CTO of Seasonal Roots. “And we try to get it to them within 48-hours of it being harvested. So, we’re the next best thing to having your own garden.”
The produce and specialty items all come from local farms, dairies, bakeries, and others. “Seasonal Roots is an online farmers market,” says Lesley Baker, Chief Happiness Officer. “It has given the consumers an easier way to get that local produce. The number one benefit of getting food from a farmer as opposed to the grocery store is, it’s going to be fresher. It’s going to be more nutritious.”
Interested in farm-to-table food from local businesses? Visit the Seasonal Roots website, check to make sure they deliver to your address, look through the options available, and start enjoying delicious and nutritious food, delivered weekly to your doorstep.