Becoming a subscriber to Foodshed’s Fresh 5 program—a weekly distribution of fresh, seasonal produce, grown by the small farmers who make up the Foodshed cooperative—means you’re in for two surprises with every delivery. One is the produce itself: an ever-changing...
Daily Harvest Express
Passion for the local farming community is personal for Janis and Rafael Garcia. Rafael got his start as a farm worker when he was 14 years old, and then went on to enjoy a successful career in business. Years later, his interest in farming was re-kindled after Janis began providing marketing services for a local farm. During her year working with the farmers, she learned that some of the biggest challenges came not from growing, but from trying to sell locally. “They don’t have the resources and the capacity to go into large retailers,” Janis explained. When she realized how difficult it was for farms to get their incredible produce into local markets, the idea for Daily Harvest Express was born.
“Often people think we’re a farm. We’re not. We exist to support hard working farmers by providing an extra stream of revenue and to bring local, organically grown produce to hard working people that can’t get to a physical farmers market,” said Janis, who founded Daily Harvest Express with Rafael.
To bridge the gap between local growers and residents, the Garcias developed relationships with San Diego County businesses and office buildings, who contracted them to provide healthy break room snacks and access to their mobile farmers market. The Daily Harvest Express truck brings the farmers market experience directly to parking lots of partner offices, which enables employees to shop for sustainable products from over 25 farms and producers on their breaks. “We buy directly from farms right here in San Diego like JR Organics, Stehly Farms Organics, Go Green Agriculture and San Gabriel Farms,” Janis said. “And while some of our small family farms are not certified organic, such as Dassi Farm, they do not use chemical pesticides and they do practice sustainable farming methods.”
In 2015 Daily Harvest Express launched a website to sell directly to customers, effectively bringing the farmers market to the doorstep of everyone in San Diego County. They offer different sized produce boxes and a build-your-own-box option that allows customers to select from each week’s fresh-picked bounty. Each box comes with recipe cards based on the seasonal haul and the website features stories about each of the farms Daily Harvest Express sources from. “Practicing sustainable agriculture isn’t cheap. The farmer and his workers need to be paid fairly to survive, yet how much is the customer willing to pay?” Janis said. “Every day our farmers compete with cheap produce from farms that only pay their workers a few dollars a day. As the saying goes, we are willing to pay for what we value, and every dollar our customers spend shows that they understand the benefits of locally grown produce, and value the lives of the farm owners and their workers.”