REGINA – Growing up on a farm, Jennifer McIntyre always knew where her food came from. Between her mother’s garden and her father’s chickens, the family grew most of their own food.
Once she moved into the city that became more difficult, until she received a flyer in the mail for Local & Fresh.
The company allows customers to place orders online for products made or grown in Saskatchewan, and delivers them to their homes.
Owner Andrew Rathwell is also a father of two. He said the idea was born out of convenience.
“I love the farmer’s market and love going there, but it was often a challenge to make that fit into our life schedule,” Rathwell said, “So the idea was – what if a farmer’s market came to you?”
The business launched in September and has seen its client list quadruple since. Rathwell says growth has been exponential.
He believes there are a number of reasons why people come to him for food – for some it’s to eat healthy, or support the local economy. For others, it’s about the taste, or perhaps the convenience of having their unique order delivered to their doorstep.
Salt Food Boutique on Victoria Avenue is a specialty store contributing to the venture.
“We saw it as a really good way to tap into the part of the population that doesn’t always get downtown,” said store manager Justin Craigen.
The success of Local & Fresh has forced the charcuterie to double its production on some items, especially big sellers like chorizo sausage and caramels.
Near Lumsden, farmer Lloyd Anticknap is able to sell potatoes he would otherwise throw out.
“I go to the indoor markets from October into December, and after that my sales drop off to nothing,” he said.
Like Anticknap, Bob Balfour’s business, R & J Milling, is located outside the city, but he doesn’t mind coming in to make additional sales.
“They send me an order, I put the order together once a week, and deliver the product to Regina,” Balfour said.
If you’re used to shopping at larger chain grocery stores, Rathwell said local products are rather comparable price wise. Some things, like eggs, are even cheaper through Local & Fresh.
He said he doesn’t have to increase his prices based on a turbulent economy, “As our dollar is going down, the cost of food here is going up. But if it is grown in Saskatchewan, made in Saskatchewan, we’re somewhat immune to those pressures.”
The company doesn’t have a storefront at the moment, but Rathwell hopes that will change in the future.
Orders must be at least $50, and come along with an $8 delivery fee.