I've been writing about business ideas to bring better food to your home for quite some time. The first one was Jeff Barry's Boston Organics, years ago, when I was still at the Globe; I had a feature for a while called "A Click Away," I think. More recently, I've written about Gabriel Erde-Cohen's urban/personal CSAs.
Now we can add Laurel Friel, the "queen bean" behind The Green Bean, a start-up whose idea is to do the shopping for you at the region's farmer's markets and deliver your order to your door. I met her Saturday at the Somerville Climate Action Network's event I wrote about on Thursday.
The company will deliver to Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Arlington, Lexington, and Brookline. The fee for most customers in those areas is $200 for the five-month season, up front, though Friel said some of the farther reaches may be face an added distance fee. She put the cost of her service at about $10 per week, on top of the cost of the food.
Her value proposition, she said, is that many people who might want to patronize farmers markets, to foster community, to support local farmers, and to have a stronger connection between provider and eater, can't shop on the markets' timetables, have family or work obligations, or can't find parking. She said she intends to provide weekly updates on farm news and events, to try to build those connections.
Her expectation, she said, was to appeal most to young families in which both parents work, but she has found strong interest among younger people. She said her research suggests she needs about 50 households to make a go of her idea, and she has about 20 after only two weeks of promotion.