By Margo Greenman
When buying food for yourself or your family, what type of things do you consider? Do you shop for food that’s locally grown? Organic? Ethically raised? Over the past several years, people have become more concerned not only about the kinds of foods they’re putting into their bodies, but also where their food is coming from. Eating organic, GMO-free is, of course, at the top of many consumers’ lists, but often equally as important to consumers is where their food is grown. Was it shipped across country or grown at the nearest rural farm? These are the kinds of questions and concerns many people have about their food today.
However, being a conscientious “locavore” can be hard work. It requires asking your local grocer questions, scheduling time out of your busy day to make it to the farmers market, or even investing in a garden of your own. But, what if it was easier? What if you could order fresh, local, organic foods from the comfort of your own home and have them delivered fresh, straight to your door? This is the idea behind Tacoma’s Terra Organics.
After graduating from the University of Puget Sound, California transplant Dan Hulse found a part-time job working for a local, organic produce distributor. “I started out driving around to stores and making deliveries to farms in the area,” says Dan. However, working as a delivery man did not satisfy Dan’s interest in farming. Curious about the production side of things, Dan set out to find a new job and discovered Terry’s Berries in Puyallup. It was here that Dan also found his future business partner and wife, Kim.
After just one year of working together, Dan and Kim decided they wanted to combine their expertise and start their own business. With Dan’s knowledge of wholesale and distribution, Kim’s experience managing vegetable production, and a shared desire to provide home delivery, the two started Terra Organics.
Terra Organics started out small. It was 2004 and Dan and Kim were running back and forth between tending their leased farm in Enumclaw and making deliveries to friends and family in Tacoma. They did this for three years, until deciding to halt production and focus solely on distribution, until 2009 when they started Tahoma Farms in Orting.
Now backed by a 40-acre, certified organic vegetable farm in Orting and a warehouse in Tacoma, business was about to take off and Terra Organics’ reach quickly grew. In the six years since Tahoma Farms launched, Terra Organics has been providing customized produce boxes to Tacoma residents, all delivered straight to their customers’ doors. But, it’s not just produce from Tahoma Farms that you’ll find in your Terra Organics community supported agriculture (CSA) box. Over the years, Dan and Kim have worked closely alongside other farmers, forming close relationships with others passionate about providing fresh, local and organic foods to the community. Thanks to partnerships with local meat, dairy and other produce farmers across the region, Terra Organics is able to provide their customers much more than just what they produce at Tahoma Farms.
So how exactly does CSA work? It’s simple. If you visit Terra Organic’s website, you are given a variety of box options from mixed fruits and vegetables in three sizes (small, medium or large), customizable boxes, add-ons and more. It’s basically just like placing any online order. Box prices vary depending on size, type and whether you opt for any add-ons, like a dozen eggs. Then, you simply decide if you want your box delivered to your home ($3 delivery fee), or you can have it delivered to one of Terra Organic’s community partners, like Proctor Frozen Yogurt or Tacoma Strength, and the delivery fee is waived.
The convenience and peace of mind that Terra Organics delivers with each CSA box they sell is a service that Dan and Kim are proud to provide to the community. “It’s rewarding knowing that we are providing a real service to the community,” says Dan. “We work with a really good product that I can stand behind and know is a lot better than some of the other options out there. It’s kind of a bright spot in the food system.”
To learn more about Terra Organics or to purchase a CSA box, visit Terra Organic’s website or call them at 253-627-1581.
All photos courtesy of Terra Organics/Tahoma Farms.