We are Jen Barnett and Sam Brasseale, and we founded Freshfully in 2011. We were both interested in eating more fresh, local food, but we were having trouble finding it. Because we are web nerds, we had an idea for making a web site that would make it easier to buy tasty local food. We're based in Birmingham, Alabama, because that is where we live.
We started our company by winning the first Incubate!(bang) challenge, a new business competition that provided our seed money plus a luxury office suite (pictured below) and programming time. We began the no-fail plan of calling farmers on the phone and asking them if they'd like to be on the internet. Our locavore blogger Emily also started writing for the site then, posting reviews of local foods and farmer profiles.
We launched Freshfully.com in November of 2011 with about 50 products for sale from local farmers and food producers. Much to everyone's surprise, the site took off pretty quickly, and we actually had paying customers who were not related to us at all!
By January, we were regularly shuffling frozen flank steak and pork butts through our luxury office suite. We were ready to open a market. Incredibly, a local organization called Main Street Birmingham had partnered with neighborhood beermongers Avondale Brewing Company to offer a contest where you could win retail space in one of the city's coolest neighborhoods.
We won in March, 2012, and opened the Freshfully Market in Avondale on May 1st with about 500 heads of lettuce and not much else. Thanks to the support of the local community and the happy people who help us in the store, we were able to stay open despite a few newbie buying mistakes. Now we have a gorgeous collection of local fruits and vegetables, pastured meats, farm eggs, dairy, and pantry staples.
Online, we noticed that people were mostly interested in veggie boxes and meat shares, so we decided to streamline the site to focus on these and other CSA offerings. We launched the new site in September, 2012, and also brought on locavores to cover new cities around the Southeast.
Well, that's the whole sordid story. Now, if you'd like to buy some delicious local food from these happy people, you can find some right here in Birmingham. Thank you!
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