A growing number of central Ohio residents are turning to an online supplier of organic produce and natural groceries that ships directly to consumers' homes.
Green BEAN Delivery originated in Indiana in 2007 and has expanded into other Midwest markets, including Columbus in 2010. BEAN is an acronym that stands for biodynamic, education, agriculture, and nutrition.
"We knew Columbus had a demographic for it to be a success," said Tony Fairchild, general manager of Green BEAN Columbus.
"Columbus residents appreciate healthy food as well as supporting local farmers and artisans," Fairchild said.
He said within each local market -- Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, St. Louis, and Louisville, Ky. -- Green BEAN acquires products from local farmers and growers, based on the season and the product.
"Produce such as kiwis, bananas and oranges are from outside Ohio," Fairchild said.
Green BEAN also partners with organizations to promote healthy cooking and lifestyles, including the Freestore Foodbank and Columbus Public Radio.
The Freestore Foodbank is an emergency food provider to a 20-county area in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
Green BEAN donates food to the Freestore Foodbank, as well as Cincinnati COOKS!, a 10-week course for low-income and at-risk individuals seeking employment in the food service industry.
The organization places equal emphasis on hunger relief and teaching health and wellness, according to the website, greenbeandelivery.com.
"We support local farmers and want to provide consumers with healthy eating options," Fairchild said.
Green BEAN accepts orders exclusively online at its website.
Fresh produce is packed daily at a central Ohio warehouse. Drivers make deliveries four days a week in central Ohio, including north to Delaware, east to Pickerington, west to Plain City, and south to Grove City.
Fairchild attributes the growing success of Green Bean Deliveries to customer referrals, community involvement, and various sponsorships and partnerships.
"A lot of our new customers come from 'word of mouth' and I think we're also known for our community involvement," Fairchild said.
He estimates Green BEAN Columbus has about 2,500 customers and makes about 1,600 weekly deliveries.
One Green BEAN customer is Allison Shardell, of Pataskala.
Shardell, 32, buys the produce for her family, including her husband and their three children, ages 9, 6, and 4.
She said she discovered Green BEAN through Facebook.
"At first, we had to pick up our orders at the warehouse, but then they began delivering to our area," Shardell said.
"I want us to eat as healthy as we can and we also have food allergies in our family," Shardell said.
"We can get grass-fed meat, organic foods, and support local farmers," she said of buying from Green BEAN.