A Veggie Tale
The story of two stand-up comedians who met and fell into business together.
It’s no secret that locally-grown produce is a booming trend. Now, more than ever, restaurants proclaim a focus on fresh local foods, and farmers’ markets are
sprouting up everywhere—Missouri led the nationwide craze by adding 77 new markets last year alone. NeighborGood Foods, co-founded by John Doelling and Andria Smith, has taken it to the next level—bringing the farmers’ market right to their customers’
front doors with weekly and biweekly deliveries of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables.
Love At First Bite.
When they first met as stand-up comedians, Doelling and Smith would never have guessed they would eventually start a company together. But, Smith changed the course of both their lives when she returned from a standup trip (she’s made appearances on Comedy Central and “Last Comic Standing”) with a bag of grass-fed beef and pork from pigs raised on a natural acorn diet. Amazed by the great flavor of these organic meats, the pair started frequenting farmers’ markets to see if they would find the same taste difference in farm-fresh vegetables. They did. Doelling and Smith were instantly hooked and became regulars at farmers’ markets throughout the area, establishing contacts along the way.
Have Veggies, Will Travel.
The two Dogtown residents began planning and spreading the word via door hangers, and they delivered their first 25 food baskets in August 2011. Since then, the company’s reach has grown rapidly to include 14 communities, from Downtown and the Central West End to Webster Groves and Ladue, with a diverse customer base ranging from high-level attorneys to the unemployed. Their service is particularly popular with parents who want to ensure their children are eating fresh produce, and busy individuals who simply don’t have time to shop the farmers’ markets themselves.
“We’re getting people fresh fruits and vegetables with quality that exceeds what’s available at the grocery store,” Doelling says. “People are becoming more aware of the total spectrum of good health and food’s role.”
Local greenhouse growers supply 75 percent of the produce NeighborGood Foods delivers, and while it has been grown in an environmentally responsible manner, it’s not necessarily certified organic. The rest comes from certified organic importers. In addition to produce, baskets may contain freshly baked breads, nuts, jams and jellies.
Smith and Doelling post what their baskets will contain each week on the NeighborGood Foods blog. They guarantee a variety, and when something unusual is on the menu, they include cooking tips or recipes as a bonus. If there’s something on the list that you don’t want, simply note it on your exclusion list, and they’ll make substitutions.
For more info, visit neighborgoodfoods.com, or call 314.630.7808. If your neighborhood isn’t on the list, simply get five office workers or neighbors to order with you, and they’ll add your office or neighborhood to the route.
John Doelling and Andria Smith
John Doelling and Andria Smith
Photo credit: Sara Swaty Roger