Small Bites

White Picket Produce

By Randi Donahue / Photography By Peter Acker | October 07, 2015
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Sharyn Vross paid her way through college delivering singing telegrams but today she’s delivering a tastier message. Each week she packs boxes with fresh, organic produce and delivers them right to her customers’ doorsteps.

Vross is the “driving” force behind Sarasota’s newest concierge produce delivery service, White Picket Produce, which launched in April.

“I am amazed every day at how everyone is so excited and positive about it,” she says.

This endeavor, which has seen success in the short time it’s been up and running, is a result of her own experience with a similar service when she lived in Charlotte, NC. As a single, working mom Vross searched for a convenient and affordable way to source healthy, good food for herself and children Daniel, Katie, and Michelle each week without being locked into an inconvenient pickup time and location. A local delivery service offered the solution.

After returning to Sarasota, Vross realized the potential for a similar service, and reached out to mentors with successful box-produce programs around the country.

“I researched it and then ran with it,” says Vross.

After sourcing the produce, she drew on her marketing and web background to create a userfriendly website on which customers place their weekly orders.

Different from many community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs and co-ops, there is no long-term or seasonal commitment required with White Picket Produce, and customers can choose what they want in each week’s delivery. Best of all, there’s no need to drive to a designated location on a certain day or time for pickups. Vross posts the “menu” each Thursday (deliveries are made the following Wednesday), and substitutions are welcomed.

“With this, you get a selection and get more of what you want,” says Vross.

If a customer isn’t home on delivery day, they need only leave a cooler containing a cold pack or a bag of ice by the front door.

Vross wavered on whether to offer certified organic produce only.

“Some [local] farms just don’t have the money to be 100% certified organic, even though they are using organic [growing methods],” says Vross, who ultimately decided to stick to certified produce. “People are just conditioned to see that sticker,” she says. With a limited local growing season during the Florida summer months, during the off season Vross sources the produce mostly through Global Organics. As the upcoming local season picks up, she’ll partner with farms that tick both the local and organic boxes.

White Picket deliveries are currently limited to certain Sarasota ZIP codes, but Vross hopes to expand as the demand, company, and staff continue to grow. Also, White Picket offers a 10% “co-op” discount if four or more boxes are delivered to one location. You can take advantage of the discount for yourself or have that savings donated to your choice of nonprofit, school, or church.

For Vross, the benefits of this veggie-centric service extend beyond convenience. She’s had customers comment on both the noticed health benefits and cost savings.

“You end up cutting grocery bills because all meals revolve around the veggies that comie in the box.”

White Picket Produce: 941-888-4834; whitepicketproduce.com

What can you expect to find in a delivery?

This week’s all-certified-organic standard box contains a Dapple Dandy pluot, 1½ pounds of heirloom tomatoes, 1 pound of red beets, 1½ pounds of heirloom eggplant, white ginger root, two Cripps pink apples, a bunch of lacinato kale, two russet potatoes, a head of green leaf lettuce, two bananas, and 1½ pounds of Portobella mushrooms.

Article from Edible Sarasota at http://ediblesarasota.ediblecommunities.com/eat/white-picket-produce
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