4 farm to web businesses: Austin experiences welcomed surge in online local food resources
What was once a world populated by mom-and-pop shops and small startups has now become plagued with e-commerce, smartphones and social networks.
In a time like this, small businesses and young entrepreneurs often fear becoming obsolete amid the inescapable change. Yet many local businesses are stepping up to the plate to embrace the technological revolution, particularly in the food and wine industry.
A handful of local culinary businesses and groups are becoming some of the most efficient online resources out there. We've highlighted four culinary companies that provide individuals with access to local, delicious foods through the convenience of online platforms.
Launched less than six months ago, Beetnik is an Austin-based online source for healthy, organic à la carte foods and wholesome meals. The company was founded by former NFL player Britt Hager and his business partner David Perkins, Executive Chef of Beetnik. The duo launched Beetnik with the intention of sourcing nutritious food to ship all over the country.
"Over the past few years, people have become more and more comfortable with relying on online services," Hager says. "Our goal is to take our passion for food, marry it with technology and become a convenient source for healthy, delicious food."
The company handpicks its meats and ingredients from both local and national farmers and ranchers, prepares a myriad of dishes, packages them in biodegradable containers, and ships them to the front doors of customers across the country. Beetnik has also embraced the process of flash freezing their food, which Hager says help preserve its quality and nutritious value.
Unlike most local food-delivery businesses, Beetnik primarily sells meats and proteins, such as grass-fed beef and cage-free poultry. That said, the website also features a host of more gourmet items like applewood-smoked salmon, portabella mushroom ravioli, cranberry white chocolate scones, ossobuco and gluten-free desserts.
For years, Chelsea Staires worked at an Austin tech start-up called BuildASign.com before breaking off on her own and launching Coterie Market, an online local foods and goods store, in December 2012. The store offers a vast selection of local baked goods, pantry staples and fresh foods, as well as a selection of home and lifestyle goods, such as all-natural cleaning products and handmade jewelry.
Though food comprises the majority of her current sales, Staires emphasizes that her chief goal with Coterie Market is to furnish customers with access to all things local.
"I wanted to provide people with items they could find at farmers markets and artisanal markets without making them subscribe to a weekly bushel. That's such a huge commitment for most people," Staires says. "People can get these items à la carte anytime and have them delivered to their door within two days."
Similar to Farmhouse Delivery, Coterie Market sources from local artisans like Amity Bakery, Easy Tiger, Dai Due, Gourmet Texas Pasta and more. The online market is growing and expanding its list of suppliers and products, so check the website often to see what's new at Coterie Market.
Started in 2009 by Stephanie Scherzer and Elizabeth Winslow, Farmhouse Delivery is undoubtedly the most popular all-local, farm-to-table delivery business in town.
By accessing Farmhouse Delivery's website, customers can sign up for a membership and have bushels of seasonal produce handpicked and delivered to them either weekly or bi-weekly. What's more, members are provided with easy-to-follow recipes, efficient cooking tips and essential food storage advice.
"We live in an online world, and it's easier now more than ever to do all your shopping online. When we started, our mission was to provide the Austin community with access to all the great seasonal farm produce out there," Scherzer says.
In addition to their weekly or bi-weekly bushels, customers can add on different artisanal products from sources like Amity Bakery, Confituras, Dai Due and more through the website. In 2012, Farmhouse Delivery also started delivering to the city of Houston.
Though it doesn't deliver food like the rest of the individuals on our list, The Homegrown Revival serves as an invaluable online platform for people who want to learn where and how they can access local food. Through Revival's website, visitors can watch videos and access a plethora of information about the evolving Austin culinary scene.
"The Homegrown Revival teaches sourcing, foraging, hunting and cooking of local food," Sonya Coté, co-founder of The Homegrown Revival and chef/co-owner of Hillside Farmacy, says.
"It gives people the confidence to cook, the ability to source from all over Austin and educates [them] about guided hunts, land management and how to keep money in your community. By creating a network of information that community members can access, we help maintain the [local] food revolution."
Know of any other great online food resources? Leave a comment and let us know where we can find them.