Friends Cassie Springer and Julie Brown were on a hike in Utah when they first discussed creating a produce delivery business in the Sandwich area.
After thinking about the idea for a few months, in mid-December 2018, they went on another hike and realized they should make their idea a reality.
“We’re both moms with families and a household, and we know how difficult it can be to buy fresh, quality produce at an affordable price,” Springer said. “My husband and I are in the produce industry, and we own a transportation brokerage. We help produce get to where it’s sold, from the grower to the customer.”
“Cassie had just gotten a new job as a nurse, and I was looking for a job change, so it was perfect timing,” Brown said. “We had access to all of this great produce, and there’s a need for it in our area. We had the idea, and it grew from there.”
Grown Produce launched March 17 and delivers fresh produce to the Sandwich area, including the towns of Sandwich, Plano, Newark, Millington, Somonauk, Leland, Sheridan, Yorkville, Waterman, Hinckley and Millbrook.
“We chose this area, our area, because there are limited grocery store options,” Springer said. “I think it’s important to eat a whole food-based diet for health and well-being. There are not many options for healthy eating once you leave the Naperville area.”
Grown Produce receives its produce from the same farms as grocery stores, but instead of the produce traveling from field to warehouse, where it sits before being delivered to the store, it travels directly from the wholesaler to Grown Produce and is delivered straight to your home.
To order from Grown Produce, visit www.grownproduce.com. The website is mobile-friendly, so purchases can be made from cellphones. Purchases are one-time orders, not a subscription or a commitment plan.
Produce ranges from fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, berries, grapes and peaches, to vegetables such as peppers, onions, asparagus, cauliflower, romaine lettuce and spinach, and even to herbs such as basil, ginger and parsley. Produce available for purchase changes weekly and seasonally, and there are some organic options.
“We can accommodate small orders or bulk orders, whatever they need,” Springer said. “We have pineapples, potatoes, tomatoes and everything in between. You can order only a few items one week and many the following week. You order the items you want and need when you want and need them.”
Orders include a $3.99 delivery fee. Produce purchased by 8 p.m. Tuesday will be delivered throughout the day that Thursday. Deliveries are made in a refrigerated van, nicknamed “Louise,” that is temperature controlled. Customers are asked to leave a cooler outside if they will not be home.
“We wanted the ordering process to be simple and easy,” Brown said. “You go online, click and order. It could not be easier. Then your produce is delivered to your front door a few days later.”
Springer and Brown said their future plans include reaching out to businesses and restaurants in the area, adding more organic items and possibly creating boxes, such as a summer barbecue box with sweet corn and items needed to make kabobs.
“We’re not looking to expand too much to other surrounding areas because there’s a need here,” Brown said. “I feel like they’ve forgotten about our area in the produce and food industry. We don’t have many choices. We want to help people in our community eat healthier and have an alternative, fresh, healthy option.”