2012-07-27

Co.Exist

Good Eggs: A Virtual Farmer's Market For Fresh, Local Food

The pleasure and simplicity of e-commerce has now come to local food. Instead of going to the farmer’s market, this new service lets you bring the farmer’s market right to your door.

Farmer’s markets are an efficient and often reasonably priced way to get fresh, local food. But for a variety of reasons, many people never make it. Maybe their work schedule doesn’t align with the farmer’s market schedule. Or maybe they’re ill and can’t make the trek. Whatever the reason, Good Eggs, a new online service that lets people buy food directly from local farmers and foodmakers, can help.

Good Eggs is the brainchild of Alon Salant and Rob Spiro. The pair have a strong background in the tech industry: Salant is the cofounder of software development firm Carbon Five, and Spiro is the founder of question and answer site Aardvark, which was acquired by Google in 2010. Spiro worked on Google+ until a little over a year ago, when he started thinking about the Good Eggs concept. He was inspired by time spent years ago working on a friend’s family farm, which was in the process of figuring out how to sell direct to customers. "It was clear even then that some sort of software would help that whole process," he says.

Spiro embarked on a mission: to help the local food system grow using great technology. Good Eggs is the result. The site provides space for food businesses (including bakers, ranchers, farmers, butchers, and pop-up restaurants) to sell their wares, and for consumers to buy everything available in their area. For now, Good Eggs is limited to five locations in the Bay Area: the Mission, SOMA, Hayes-Haight-Nopa, Oakland, and Berkeley . That doesn’t mean the service is lacking in food vendors. Clicking on the neighborhood nearest me (The Mission), yields 20 businesses that deliver and offer pick-up.

Right now, there are a total of 40 vendors on the site, including a lot of small artisan businesses offering things like naturally-sweetened popsicles, sourdough bread baked in wood-fired brick ovens, and pies made with local, organic ingredients. But there is also plenty of produce for sale. Serendipity Farms is offering delivery of its fresh fruits and vegetables. And Mission Community Market is selling the Chef’s Market Box--an original recipe from a local chef and all the ingredients required to make it.

Good Eggs takes a small transaction fee from each sale, but Spiro stresses that prices for items are comparable to what shoppers might find in real-world farmer’s markets and stores. Some of the vendors sell exclusively through Good Eggs. And in the case of meat, prices are cheaper than buying similar products in, say, Whole Foods. "Independent ranches that want to sell direct to outside of the industrial meat system are producing some of the best meat out there--grassfed, pasture-raised, humanely raised meat. In most cases you’re buying bulk, but the price per pound is amazing given the quality," says Spiro. That means you might have to spring for larger shares of meat on Good Eggs--a $400 pork box or $300 beef box--but it still ends up being a good deal.

In addition to the marketplace, Good Eggs also has an events calendar and a blog featuring authors like Alice Waters, the famed chef and creator of Berkeley, California’s Chez Panisse restaurant. "We wanted to help people be more successful local eaters in addition to local shoppers," says Spiro.

Like any good tech company, Good Eggs is already figuring out how to scale, first to the rest of the Bay Area and then to other cities across the U.S.

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