Back to list

Sustainable produce startup takes root

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

 

The bounty of the county is short drive away, but two entrepreneurs are making it even easier to access fresh produce by bringing it right to people’s doorstep.

Co-owners Peter Saba and Josh Mastronardi recently launched Go Produce Inc., an online company providing regional home delivery of Windsor-Essex grown produce. The 26-year-old childhood friends took advantage of the opportunity to work together in a business that supports local farmers while fostering awareness and access to produce. Mastronardi himself is a third generation farmer.

“We’re trying to be sustainable. We’re trying to support our local community and we want to give our customers this awareness of what’s out there in our backyard,” said Saba.

Customers can order premade and custom bags of produce online that range between $29 and $54, delivery included. There are weekly and biweekly subscriptions available, and customers can cancel or put a hold on their orders at any time.

Saba said their prices are comparable to grocery stores, and their produce is fresher because it’s picked at peak ripeness and sent to customers directly from the source. While Go Produce includes non-local produce such as bananas, avocados and oranges – due to customer demand – he estimates that 80 per cent of the produce in their reusable bags is locally-grown, including the peppers and tomatoes from Mastronardi’s 25-acre farm.

Go Produce bags include up to 20 options for seasonal fruits and vegetables, including rhubarb, apples, bok choy, cucumbers, potatoes, lettuce, apples and radishes. Suppliers include Simpson Orchards in Leamington and Bradley’s Potatos in Kingsville.

“People are excited by the online ease (of ordering) … I think this is the way people are evolving these days. Online is huge,” said Saba, adding they’ve filled around 60 orders since opening May 1. “It’s seen steady; we’re happy about it.”

Saba and Mastronardi started planning the business last year and their participation in the Small Business Centre’s Starter Company program provided training and resources to get the business off the ground.

“The Starter Company program is really good; it educates you on some of the experiences you’ll go through,” said Saba. “We’ve been trying to get it running since November, and when we went through the course it really helped us solidify our ideas and make us confident in what we needed to do, from the web development to the lawyers.”

Go Produce is offering a promotion for new customers to receive $5 off their first order when they use promo code HELLOGOPRODUCE before June 30. For more information, visit goproducenow.com.


Peter Saba and Josh Mastronardi are WindsorEssex Small Business Centre clients participating in the Starter Company youth program. You too can receive support in launching or expanding your small business. Contact us for more information.