Middleman Business Connects Consumers with Farmers to Deliver Fresh Produce

Barbara Soderlin reported yesterday at The Omaha World-Herald Online that, “Melissa Young doesn’t have to get her shoes muddy or leave her Omaha corporate office job to get farm-fresh produce for her family’s dinner.

“And Ryan Pekarek, the farmer who grows some of that produce near Dwight, northwest of Lincoln, doesn’t have to deliver his vegetables to Omaha or shop his product around to city dwellers.

The farmer and the urban customer connect thanks to Lincoln-based Lone Tree Foods, a middleman business that is bringing a new service to the Omaha market this spring after a competitor, Tomato Tomato, went out of business.”

The World-Herald article noted that, “Lone Tree already serves Omaha restaurants and supermarkets, and this year it is going direct to consumers by adding its own weekly subscription box service, the Nebraska Box. That’s what Young buys.

“Whether Lone Tree succeeds where Tomato Tomato struggled will depend in part on whether there is enough demand from people like Young to cover the higher costs of distributing local foods, a farm economist said.”

Ms. Soderlin added, “The company expects that fast, early growth to slow, and is now looking to diversify by expanding the subscription box program. Customers have two choices in the program: the veggie share for $25 a week, and the supreme share for $37.50, including meat, cheese and eggs.”

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