No time to go to the farmers market?
No problem — there’s one that will come to you.
Daily Harvest Express LLC delivers organic fruits and vegetables from local farms to customers’ front doors, businesses’ break rooms and schools. It also has a mobile farm truck cart service that visits companies throughout San Diego County.
To get on board with the service, all you have to do is go to the company’s website, www.dailyharvestmarket.com, set up an account, and select from themed boxes.
There’s everything from the Fruit & Veggie Medley and the Juicer’s Detox Box to the Assorted Seasonal Fruit Box, or people can build their own boxes. Customers can also purchase items such as eggs, artisan cheeses, sea salt, mini pies, coffee, honey, nuts, olive oils and spices. There are no account set-up fees, and there’s no commitment — people can order once or arrange regular deliveries, whatever fits their needs. And if there is a set schedule, items can be held during vacations, and customers are only charged upon delivery.
The family-owned and -operated company is overseen by Rafael and Janis Garcia, and their daughter, Ivonne Ganss. The idea first began to take root when Janis Garcia, who has a background in marketing for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, found herself out of work in 2010. She was invited to work for a small farm in Encinitas, Go Green Agriculture, to help with their marketing. During her yearlong employment, Garcia helped the company enter big market chains such as Whole Foods, Sprouts and Jimbo’s. Meanwhile, she also became acquainted with other members of the local farming community, and learned that their primary source of income was farmers markets.
“They don’t have the resources and the capacity to go into large retailers,” she said.
Garcia was inspired to help these small farmers find additional outlets. So with her family, she started Daily Harvest Market, a fruit-and-vegetable stand at Sunshine Gardens in Encinitas, in November 2012.
But not long afterward, Garcia was diagnosed with melanoma. With her daughter Ganss’ help and encouragement, the family changed the business model in 2013 — they moved their base to an old greenhouse at 712 Clark Ave., and became an e-commerce company. Besides allowing Garcia to recover, the shift let the company become more efficient and create less product waste.
“Very quickly, we saw a very positive change,” Garcia said.
Initially, the company mostly focused on businesses, bringing fresh fruit to break rooms around San Diego County. Daily Harvest Market’s popularity grew, as employees began making personal requests, and the company added home deliveries to its services.
In August 2014, the county of San Diego invited the company to set up a mobile farm stand at its main location in Kearny Mesa and then travel to its multiple affiliated locations as part of a wellness program.
This past April, the company added a mobile farm truck cart service and changed its name to Daily Market Express, setting up in parking lots and hosting Lunch & Learn sessions for employees several days a week.
Today, Daily Harvest Express — a member of the San Diego Farm Bureau — receives organic products from about 25 vendors, including Suzie’s Farm, Sage Mountain Farm and Dassi Family Farms, and is constantly adding more. The company receives most of its products on Mondays and Tuesdays, so everything is delivered fresh. The farm boxes are well-rounded and stocked with family-friendly, “familiar” foods, Garcia noted.
“We rarely get (people asking), ‘What is it?’ ” Ganss said with a chuckle.
To help customers with preparation ideas, Daily Harvest Express posts recipes on its web and Facebook pages.
The company delivers to individuals on Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout San Diego County. Its boundaries are south Oceanside to the north, downtown San Diego to the south, and from the coast to Interstate 15. It will drop off at a client’s front door, work or home. Delivery is $5 for orders under $25, or free for larger orders.
Customers are also welcome to pick up their orders at Daily Harvest Express’ location on Clark Avenue. However, because the property is being sold, the company will be moving Oct. 1 to the Gateway Business Center off El Camino Real in Carlsbad.
Daily Harvest Express also has delivery arrangements with several schools, in which parents order online and then pick up orders at the campus. The company gives back 5 percent of proceeds to the PTAs of participating schools.
At the end of the week, any leftover perishables are donated to the Encinitas Community Resource Center, Garcia said.