'It just tastes better': Southern Alberta company modernizes traditional farmers' market
CALGARY -- A southern Alberta business is bridging the connection between local producers and customers by modernizing the traditional farmers' market.
CultivatR is an online shopping system that aims to support producers by delivering their goods straight from the farm to the doors of customers.
"You can't be a farmer, a marketer, (and) a delivery service. It's impossible to do all of those things," explained Daniel Berezan, the founder of CultivatR. "So we help out with doing those for our producers."
Berezan came up with the idea after moving out of the city a few years ago and learning many smaller farmers were struggling to get their products to a wider market. His goal is for everyone to eat local and to reduce food waste in the province.
"Our produce isn't actually picked until it's actually ordered, so that's a big difference between us and a grocery store and secondly everything we sell is actually from an Alberta company."
Customers have noticed the difference including 17-year-old Finn Vander, an aspiring chef.
"It's all organic, it's all from southern Alberta so you feel good eating it," said Vander. "The food is a lot better product. The meat is all 21 dry age days so it just tastes better too."
In less than two years since launching, and despite the challenges the pandemic presented, business has been booming. CultivatR has grown from some 10 vendors who sell produce, meat and more, to a current list of 80 vendors and interest is growing.
"For every dollar that was spent on Cultivatr we actually put 18 dollars back into the local economy (this past year)," said Berezan.
Reid Henuset is the president of Deepwater Farms — a hydroponics and fish farm in Calgary — and he says partnering with CultivatR was a no-brainer.
"People want local so to have someone whose focused on supplying that to customers, it’s important," said Henuset. "We’re not in the business of driving it (produce) around, dropping a case here and a case there. So, they provide lots of products and it was just a nice easy fit for us to team up with them to get our products in more homes."
Unlike many businesses during the pandemic, Berezan says his company continues to expand thanks to a focus on local at a time when more people are wanting delivery services as opposed to going to the grocery store.
Currently CultivatR delivers Thursdays to Sundays but plans are in place to increase their delivery schedule come May.