Latest Silicon Valley Start-Up Isn’t High Tech, so Much as an Old-School Alternative to the Farmers Market

Washington Post writer Heather Kelly reported recently that, “On a recent Friday night in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in California, a line of eight idling cars stretched out across the shared parking lot of the still-closed library and arts center. Most of the drivers had their trunk popped open and a piece of paper pressed to their window with names of fruit scribbled in marker.

“They listed pounds of yellow and red cherries, flats of organic strawberries and blueberries, or a box of miscellaneous veggies. A team of teenagers loaded produce into the back of each car, completing the last phase of what’s become an elaborate weekly bulk-fruit and vegetable-selling operation that started with a post on Nextdoor.

“A passion for start-ups is still humming in Palo Alto, even as the heart of Silicon Valley goes into its fourth month of coronavirus restrictions. But its latest invention isn’t high-tech so much as an old-school alternative to the farmers market, with a pandemic twist. It doesn’t hurt that Silicon Valley is just a couple hours from the state’s produce-rich Central Valley, which produces a fourth of the food in the United States. That helps explain the bargain prices, such as $34 for 12 pints of organic strawberries.”

The Post article stated that, “Located near Stanford University, Palo Alto is home to companies including Tesla and Palantir. Its residents include founders such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Larry Page, as well as a number of other tech billionaires, including Laurene Powell Jobs. It has one Whole Foods.

Local resident Maria Gregorio is the mastermind behind the bulk-fruit buy and pickup, which she calls Giving Fruits. She came up with the idea just before Mother’s Day after meeting a woman named Marisol Lopez who was selling bulk amounts of cherries she’d brought from a farm in Sacramento through social media. Gregorio, an IT professional at Stanford University, extended the offer to more people online and contacted other farms directly herself to expand the options.”

Ms. Kelly added that, “Gregorio is not alone in finding new ways to move food. People have been exploring different ways to get, share and sell food during the pandemic, including bartering, buying grocery staples from restaurants with wholesale contacts, and signing up for community supported agriculture, or CSA, boxes.”

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