The Vernal Equinox marks the first day of spring and the first day of Forager.
Four years ago, we officially launched Forager on the Vernal Equinox, the official start of spring, when the exact hours of daylight and dark are the same. It seemed symbolically appropriate for the launch of a new business focused on agriculture.
It’s been a long and hard year for many of us; certainly a lot of farms struggled this past year with the loss of their restaurant and events business, and several farmers we know had to take on extra jobs or close or sell their farms. Forager has worked hard and tirelessly to try and support our 400+ farms and suppliers across the country, and we hope that they will build back stronger than before.
After Alpha and Beta Testing for almost a year, and another full year of research and development Forager launched commercially on March 18th, 2017, the Vernal Equinox. On that day $1,174 of local food was procured through Forager in Maine from three local suppliers: Misty Brook Farm, Winter Hill Farm and The Milk House.
During the following week, a total of $6,200 of local food was procured through Forager from 15 different farms and suppliers, and purchased by three innovative local grocers, with majority from Rosemont Market and The Portland Food Co-op who have continued to be great partners and risk takers. Top farmers were Goranson, FishBowl, Left Field, South Paw, and Frith Farm; these are all amazing farms who now have sold close to $2MM of local food through Forager in the last four years. We have grown now so that our average weekly sales are 8-10 times what they were four years ago and we work with grocers, restaurants and institutions in 10 states.
Looking back at this NECN story, featuring Sean Hagan from Left Field Farm, that came out during our first week, feels like yesterday and also like 100 years have passed!
While the past year particularly challenging, the demand for local food has never been greater. Over time we have grown a supplier network of approximately 400 growers and producers, and are now working with over 40 retailers and institutions in 13 states. $8MM and nearly 200,000 products have been purchased through Forager: and this week we will be announcing our largest retail partnership and furthest regional expansion to date!
We continue to work tirelessly with our partners to rebuild and revitalize our local food system, which is so vital to the health of our planet, our communities and families, friends, neighbors. We are thankful to all of our great customers, partners and investors for getting us to this point.
Spring is Here! And after a long very hard year, hope has arrived and we are emerging stronger than ever.
You can read some of the press coverage from our launch below:
Maine Biz: CashStar co-founder starts digital platform for local foods
New Hope News: New web application streamlines local sourcing
Fast Company: United States of Innovation: 50 projects that are really making America great again
Food Dive: Will this digital platform do a better job of getting local produce on grocery shelves?