Farmigo’s CEO on the shuttering of the online retail platform

Thanks to FMC’s Research Director Alex Canepa for sharing this article about Farmigo’s online market demise.

Here are some quotes from the article, most from Farmigo CEO Benzi Ronen, that I think should be discussed, challenged or simply noted, depending on how you see the scaling up or technological solution conversation in regards to family farming.

Silicon Valley is sometimes guilty of hubris, thinking we can disrupt an industry overnight and do it better,” he says.

He’s confident Farmigo will be just fine, because it still has its CSA software business, which has 300 to 400 customers, depending upon the season, and revenue.

Is there a need for what we’ve been working on? There is definitely a need for it – you can debate, I think, the magnitude of the need. How many customers are willing to pay a premium for a better product?

We are currently looking for partners that can service our customers once the Summer ends. We have also sent all our customers in each region a list of the producers they love so that they can purchase directly from them – Seattle-Tacoma, Greater New York and Bay Areas.

We’re looking at it broader than a CSA platform. Right now we’re servicing CSAs very effectively, but we now we have experience working with a lot broader array of farms than just CSAs. We were working with all kinds of farms, fishermen, bakers and food artisans that wanted to get their food to market. Some of them were CSAs, and some of them were even using our software, but the majority weren’t. We feel that we now know better what software tools we can give all of them, so they can sell direct to consumer if they want, to food hubs if they want, to wholesalers and distributors, to retailers, to farm stands, farmer’s market.

The industry as a whole has grown significantly, but it’s still incredibly inefficient to source this stuff — and those are the kinds of problems I know we can fix. As a software guy, as a guy who’s been building business to business software applications with SAP that connects businesses and allows them to trade more effectively together, to trust one another and to have transparency, to me that’s a massive opportunity

Source: Why Farmigo’s Shutting Down Its Online Farmers Market


Other posts on food hubs.

Blue Apron

Many market organizers and vendors have seen the market box concept in action in their region, where a non-profit or an entrepreneur picks up goods from participating producers and sells them as a package or allows for individual selections, packed and delivered. In my area, Good Eggs has the corner on the regional ingredient delivery system right now. Their delivery van is seen at most markets first thing picking up orders from individual market vendors.

Another version of the delivery service of “fresh” but not necessarily local is Blue Apron which delivers the precise ingredients for meals to your door, and adds seasonal recipes and detailed instructions. Hello Fresh is another well-known company using the same model, but Blue Apron is seen as the industry leader and just raised 135 million dollars so is now “valued” at 2 billion dollars.

So do these services help local food?
The truth is that many eaters will never become regular market shoppers but many can be introduced to the joys of seasonal whole foods through these services and so market organizers should at least be aware of them and do their best to work along if it does not impair the direct sales of the market’s vendors. However, we need to be vigilant about communicating the benefits of markets even more in these crowded times.

Blue Apron charges approximately $10 per meal, and makes over 3 million meals every month. Blue Apron now operates two distribution centers with over 1,800 employees, and thousands of customers.
Other facts from their site:
Recipes never repeated in the same year
Meals are 500-700 calories per serving and take 35 minutes to prepare
Ingredients are perfectly pre-measured so there’s no waste
Cook with seasonal ingredients that are fresher than the supermarket
Discover specialty products that are hard to find on your own
Convenient Delivery
Free delivery nationwide
Choose a delivery day that best fits your schedule
Ingredients arrive in a refrigerated box so food stays fresh even if you’re not home

What it’s like to use Blue Apron – Business Insider.