Organic foods e-retailer supports suppliers with a new cash-flow model
Door to Door Organics has become one of the nation’s leading e-grocers with delivery into nine states, but with an eight-year history that began in Lafayette, its roots are deep in Colorado soil, where it has cemented strong relationships with the state’s farmers.
Door to Door Organics has developed a new type of partnership with a local farm that is likely to become a model for similar arrangements with others. Door to Door Organics is lending Longmont’s Full Circle Organic Farms owner Dave Asbury $50,000 to help with cash flow during the spring, which is an expensive time for farmers who need to purchase seeds, starters and equipment all at once while they don’t have much ready to sell – yet. Federal, state and local agencies, and non-governmental organizations offer some financial support for small farms and farm-related businesses, but it is very limited, and the demand is high. Later in the summer when crops are harvested, Asbury will pay back Door to Door Organics in trade (i.e. vegetables that Door to Door Organics will then be able to deliver to their customers).
Many Colorado farms rely on the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model to help balance the income/revenue cycle with most expenses early in the season, but little or no significant sales revenue until late summer when crops are harvested.” Colorado location director Bret Ebel noted that “even that model doesn’t always work – for example, Colorado’s largest organic farm and CSA, Grant Family Farms, had to close last year. It’s difficult to be an organic farmer. This new type of partnership [first with Full Circle Farms] is a win-win for everyone: we help them succeed in growing high-quality organic produce, which we can then provide to our customers, and everyone benefits.”
Last year, Door to Door Organics offered produce from more than 15 local farms including Full Circle Farms, First Fruits and Ela Family Farms in Hotchkiss, Grant Family Farms in Wellington, Fossil Creek Farms in Fort Collins and Isabelle Farms in Lafayette. At the peak of the Colorado growing season, up to 60 percent of Door to Door Organics’ produce is sourced from local farmers. From late June through October, the company also offers a “Local Farm Box” containing only Colorado-grown produce.
Full Circle sells to local restaurants, Whole Foods and at several area farmers’ market, so their bounty — wherever you get their produce — is partly thanks to Door to Door Organics, which has closed a critical loop in bringing certified organic foods to local tables..