Shipping News

February 6, 2009
By


Courtesy Photo
Metroped CEO Wenzday Jane navigates the MAssachusetts Avenue bridge in Boston on a cargo tricycle.

Pedal power delivers fresh produce

City Feed and Supply, at 672 Centre St., on Jan. 29 became the new JP pick-up point for a winter farmshare program run by Enterprise Farm in Whately, Mass.

And, thanks to Metro Pedal Power (Metroped), a Boston-area cargo-tricycle delivery company, farmshare members can get fresh, east coast-grown produce delivered from City Feed to their doorsteps carbon-free.

The farmshare program provides provide regular supplies of produce to members on a weekly basis, in exchange for the purchase of a share in the program. Small boxes cost $100 a week and large ones $150. Similar programs proliferate in the spring and summer, during New England’s growing season, but, Enterprise Farm proprietor David Jackson told that Gazette, this is the first year Enterprise has tried to run its program year-round.

While fresh local produce is scarce in the Northeast in the dead of winter, Enterprise is supplementing the few crops it has on hand—greenhouse-grown salad greens and storage crops from last season, including beets, carrots, potatoes and onions—with regional fare from “family and organic farms” along the East Coast, according to its web site.

So farmshare purchasers can expect to see cucumbers, zucchinis, tomatoes and even citrus and avocados from as far away as North Carolina and Florida in their weekly boxes. All the produce is “in-season and less than two days’ drive from our farm,” the web site says.

“For our New Year share we had avocados and strawberries. It was like, daiquiris and guacamole. People were psyched,” Jackson said.

The regional purchasing means the produce travels, at most, half as far as produce from California, and it ends up getting distributed less than a week after harvest. Vegetables are harvested on Fridays and shipped to Whately in Western Mass. by Monday. Tuesday is Enterprise’s local farmshare pick up day for Whately customers. Distribution to wholesale customers and satellite farmshare distribution points happens on Wednesday and Thursday, Jackson said.

Enterprise has over 70 members signed up at its other Boston-area distribution point in Somerville, and currently about a half-dozen JP customers, Jackson said. It is looking to expand. “Forty shares is like the floor at which it will be profitable for us to distribute in JP,” he said.

City Feed staffer Morgan Ward said that the local business’s smaller Boylston Street location has long been a distribution point for summer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares from local farms. When Jackson contacted them a about a month ago, City Feed jumped at the opportunity, he said.

Jackson said he has been impressed at how quickly it all came together. “It took [City Feed], from the time we talked to them, less than two weeks to get it locked and loaded,” he said.

The Somerville-based Metroped has long worked with Enterprise on its distribution in that north-suburban community, Jackson said.
In JP, in addition to the CSA deliveries, Metroped currently offers delivery services from Lionette’s Market, a South End shop that specializes in locally produced meat products, said Metroped CEO, Wenzday Jane.

According to the Lionette’s web site, it offers a wide range of meats, including lamb, partridge, pheasant and rabbit, from “local, sustainable farms in the northeast corridor.”

Jane said Metroped is looking to expand its operations in JP. Its cargo tricycles have 40 cubic feet of space and can hold up to 600 pounds. They are equipped with “electric assists,” to help them get up hills.

Most of the company’s business is food delivery, but it also does office supply delivery and local distribution for the national bicycle magazine Momentum. “We will deliver anything that needs to be transported,” Jane said.

To sign up for a CSA share, drop by City Feed, Thursday, 2-6 p.m., or go to www.enterpriseproduce.com. To sign up for tricycle home delivery, or to learn more about Metroped, e-mail wenzday@metropedalpower.com or go to metropedalpower.com.

David Taber