Like many local small businesses feeling the crunch of the current economic crisis caused by COVID-19, Garden Fresh Foods, a fresh-cut produce company has been searching for new ways to sell its products.
The typical clientele are local restaurants, but all have been ordered to close down save for takeout or drive-up service.
So, co-owner Mark Dugdale recently sent out a company-wide email to ask staff to come up with some creative ideas to help increase sales.
“We specifically discussed selling directly to the community, but we were unsure of the FDA requirements to make that happen,” Madison Dugdale said. “The next day the FDA announced they were relaxing the technical labeling rules so processors like us could sell directly to consumers.”
Madison said she didn’t think her mother Christina, who is also part owner, and her father (Mark) were completely sold on the idea so she decided to create an ordering website and come up with a plan to make it happen.
“I knew I wanted to take home a breakfast kit myself and I also knew if I could propose a full, working plan to my dad, he would give us the green light" Madison said.
“To make the process as easy as possible, we created a means of ordering online. Orders placed before 9 a.m. Monday–Thursday will be available for same-day pick-up from 1 to 3:30 p.m. here at Garden Fresh Foods."
Orders placed after 9 a.m. on Friday and throughout the weekend can be picked up on Monday during the pick-up hours. Madison said she will personally be manning the curbside pick-up and handing out the orders.
She envisions the pick-up serve becoming a routine part of daily operations at Garden Fresh Foods once the order to close down in-service restaurant business has been rescinded.
“As much as I would like to see this work long-term, it will depend on the FDA rules that currently coincide with the quarantine,” Madison said. “Assuming all goes well, we may look into making this a long-term service and create the labels needed to be FDA compliant.”
Garden Fresh Foods was established in 1987. The company is a member of the United Fresh Produce Association, WSDA Organic Certified and also SQF certified. In March, GFF partnered with Food Lifeline, a non-profit organization that supplies food to different food banks across Western Washington, and has donated more than 14,500 pounds of fresh ready-to-use produce.
Garden Fresh Foods is located at 14316 NE 203rd Street in Woodinville. Its website was launched on Friday, April 3. Visit www.garden-fresh-foods.square.site to place an online order.