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OPN Connect Newsletter 205 · February 18, 2021

Baldor Debuts “Peak Season Box” and Continues to See Strong Home Delivery Demand for Organic Produce


At the end of January, Baldor launched the Peak Season Box, a new curated offering for its home delivery customers. The $42 weekly box features 5-8 specialty fruits and vegetables and will often include organics.

“The box was designed to give customers the ability to try some of the more esoteric items that would usually be sold only by the case and therefore a little cost prohibitive,” said Patrick Ahern, Baldor’s director of procurement/pricing and administration. “Many, but not all, of our unique items happen to be organic.”

Patrick Ahern, Director of Procurement/Pricing and Administration, Baldor

Alpine Fresh Feb 2021

Baldor, a distributor that serves the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, has been a longtime provider of specialty produce to restaurants. When foodservice demand dried up during COVID, the company pivoted and created a direct-to-consumer delivery service, which has proven to be very successful.

“The box was designed to give customers the ability to try some of the more esoteric items that would usually be sold only by the case and therefore a little cost prohibitive.” -Patrick Ahern

Baldor’s VP of Sales & Marketing Benjamin Walker recently came up with the idea to create the Peak Season Box as a way to give the company’s home delivery customers a sampling of the “best of the best” specialty produce that the company has to offer.

 

Misionero Feb 2021

 Benjamin Walker, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Baldor

“We try to give a nice variety of items, a few imported, some local, and some not so local—and when they can be organic, so much the better,” said Ahern of the selection. “The box will be slightly changed each week and completely changed every two weeks so that ‘peak’ really does mean just that. This will expose the online community to a variety of new and exciting items that they may never have discovered hitherto.”

Starr Ranch Feb 2021

Organic Cara Cara oranges

This week’s box (February 15) includes:

  • Caraflex cabbage
  • Moro blood orange
  • Red Globe pomelo
  • Wild mustard greens
  • Organic mixed baby beets (local, NY)
  • Organic Korean daikon radish (local, NY)

In previous weeks, organic items in the Peak Season Box have included organic Cara Cara oranges, organic Hinona Kabu turnips, organic rainbow carrots, and organic watermelon radishes.

 

Heliae Feb 2021

Organic rainbow carrots 

In general, Ahern said that Baldor continues to experience strong demand for organics from its home delivery customers via the company’s online a la carte ordering option (there’s a $100 or $150 minimum depending on the location).

“The box will be slightly changed each week and completely changed every two weeks so that ‘peak’ really does mean just that. This will expose the online community to a variety of new and exciting items that they may never have discovered hitherto.” -Patrick Ahern

NatureSafe Feb 2021

“On many items, we made the decision to just carry the organic line for home delivery,” he said. “An example would be celery hearts. You can buy a case of conventional or organic, but by the ‘each’ we only have organic—same for cherry and grape tomatoes and many other items. We do still have items that we sell both as conventional and organic, but if we only have one line, it is generally organic.”

Ahern also noted that Baldor has a “very stringent scan and pick” system in place so that customers can be sure the organic items they’ve purchased are indeed organic. “[Our protocol] prevents [you from] being sent a conventional code item when you order organic,” he said. “I have made use of the NYC area’s many home delivery services, and one bone of contention for me is getting conventional produce when I order organic.”

In terms of the Peak Season Box, Ahern said organic produce “will continue to play a varying role depending on availability,” noting that he thinks the number of organic items will increase as the weather warms. “I very much look forward to the spring and summer where I envisage the trifecta, if you will, of the Peak Season Box—local, organic, and peak flavor/quality.”

Shenandoah Feb 2021

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