San Francisco-based food startup Good Eggs wants to “grow and sustain local food systems worldwide.” Luckily for New Yorkers, phase two of its plans for world domination brought it to Brooklyn. Under the direction of entrepreneurs Rob Spiro and Alon Savant, the company has evolved from two tech guys trying to figure out how to make more good food available to the masses into a multi-faceted operation that brings top-notch locally grown and produced food right to its customers’ front doors in the Bay Area, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and New Orleans.
We caught up with Josh Morgenthau, who’s the leader of the New York operation as well as the farmer behind Fishkill Farms, whose fare you can buy–where else?–on Good Eggs.
You guys launched in San Francisco. What’s been the biggest difference running the operation here versus there?
The demand for local food is strong in Brooklyn and in New York City overall. But, because of the extreme seasonality here (our very cold winters), local food channels are less developed than they are out west, where Bay Area folks enjoy a year-round growing season. (Not to mention tree-ripe citrus, something I covet in a major way!) The opportunity is to sustain a four-season food system here in New York, offering locally grown storage crops and frost-hardy greens all winter long. Other differences? Parking and traffic. While the traffic in the Bay Area is tough at times, New York is even less car-friendly. That said, we’re confident we’ll find ways to overcome those challenges and thrive in New York.
Brooklyn already has a lot of farmers markets and quality grocers, not to mention FreshDirect. Why should people try Good Eggs?
We love the Greenmarket; all of the farmers’ markets across the city have been a game changer for the city’s food supply. But local food is still only a tiny fraction of what New Yorkers eat. It’s an access problem. Good Eggs provides a convenient home delivery option for food made with integrity. And we aggregate the products of food-makers that may not be present at farmer’s markets (think bakers, fishmongers, and makers of prepared foods, etc.). That saves a lot of shopping time for folks who prefer to eat local.
You’re also a farmer. What benefits do producers like yourself get from selling through Good Eggs and how hard is it for them to adjust to your model?
A farm’s ability to sell directly has two primary benefits: the personal connections that you can establish with customers, and the absence of a wholesaler taking a cut of the sale. But maintaining a consistent presence in farmers’ markets also requires time and focus that you might otherwise invest in your farm. With Good Eggs, you can maintain that direct connection with customers, serve dozens or hundreds with a single drop-off at the Good Eggs foodhub, and preserve strong margins that would be unthinkable selling through traditional wholesale grocery channels.
With almost a hundred producers, it looks like there’s something for everyone. Which vendor(s) is your personal favorite? Whose products are you still dying to try?
Easy: anything from Fishkill Farms! I’m biased of course, but Good Eggs has so many exceptional farmers and foodmakers who are masters of their craft. Every day it’s a thrill to see more join the community. I’ve been loving bread from Orwasher’s, meat from Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, and cheese from Saxelby. If I had to pick a few new producers that piqued my interest, I’d say Mama O’s Kimchi, Bagel Hole, and Bien Cuit.
Good Eggs’ mission is “to grow and sustain local food systems worldwide.” You’re already in SF, LA, New Orleans and Brooklyn. Where will you go next?
We’re laser-focused on making our four existing foodhubs thrive and scale before we take on another market. But thereafter? There are so many resilient, vibrant local food communities around the country, so we take requests (by zip code)! That is a really valuable indicator of where demand for local food is strong.
Celebrate Good Eggs’ launch on Sunday, November 10, 2 to 6 p.m. at Colony Studios, 67 West Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Enjoy live music, DIY caramel apples with Morgenthau’s very own Fishkill Farms and Spoonable, and tastes and sips from vendors like Argyle Cheese Farmer and The Real Vegan. Tickets are $5.