Good Eggs, a Virtual Farmer’s Market, Delivers Real Food; The website and delivery service lets you order products online from local farmers and artisanal food producers

November 13, 2013

Good Eggs, a Virtual Farmer’s Market, Delivers Real Food


When I was growing up, my father was fond of ordering steaks through the mail. When they arrived, my sister and I gleefully danced around the icy packages and argued over who got to open them. I can still remember marveling at the novelty of meat arriving in the same pile as regular letters, and our amazement that it tasted as good as — if not better than — the beef we purchased in the supermarket.I experienced a similar kind of delight last week, when an appropriately hip delivery guy arrived on my doorstep in Brooklyn and handed me two grocery bags overflowing with fresh produce and goods from a new online service, Good Eggs.

Good Eggs, which opened for business in February, is a website and delivery service that lets you order food from local farmers and artisanal food makers. The Good Eggs model is much more advanced than the Omaha steaks of my youth, however. It is much closer to an online version of a farmer’s market.

Shoppers can go on the site and browse through dozens of virtual stands, searching by the type of item (dairy, meats, baked goods, produce and so forth) or by farm. Good Eggs says each order is fulfilled and assembled on-demand. According to the company, my order, placed last Wednesday, was harvested at and collected from the farms on Thursday, and assembled at a warehouse in Brooklyn before it was delivered to me the following day, Friday.

Good Eggs is one of a handful of companies around the country that are tapping into the local food movement and making it more accessible with technology. They offer a large array of products from a variety of farms, which distinguishes them from services known as C.S.A.’s, or community-supported agricultural programs. C.S.A.’s let people pay up front for a season’s worth of local produce to be delivered or picked up once a week. But they tend to work with one or two farms, so you may find yourself with unwanted produce, like too many pounds of new potatoes, beets or turnips, as has happened to me many times.

Good Eggs is available in Brooklyn, San Francisco and New Orleans, but Rob Spiro, one of its founders, said it was working on expanding its footprint nationwide, with an eye on Los Angeles as its next hub of operation.

The overall trend toward local goods delivered to your doorstep seems to be growing, so similar services should soon be starting in your area, if they haven’t already. In New York, there’s also Urban Organic and Next Door Organics, as well as companies like Quinciple that are specializing in artisanal food delivery. Start-ups like Farmigo are building software systems that any local farm can use to offer online ordering. Farmigo says it is working with 300 farms in more than 20 states across the country.

Even Amazon is getting into the business with a new trial service, AmazonFresh, and although the company is primarily focusing on grocery delivery, it is working with local merchants to include their goods on its digital shelves as well. (FreshDirect, which I did not test for this column, offers a similar online grocery service, but it is more closely modeled after a sprawling, upscale food market, versus the small-town farmer’s market feel that Good Eggs is trying to cultivate.)

The Good Eggs site itself is an orgy of visual pleasure. Plump, pink scallops and tender duck confit lay on one page, while hunks of fresh bread beckon from another. Hearty bags of golden-colored pears look as if they just came from an orchard, and pearly jugs of milk look as if they were just pulled from the fridge. The luscious photos made me more inclined to indulge and over-order, even though I was trying to limit my spending to around $40.

I ordered a wide selection of items from Good Eggs, including maple yogurt, organic rolled oats, Tuscan kale, sour pickles, a bunch of fennel, sunchokes, a jar of white kimchi and a package of Berkshire pork chops. The total amount of my delivery, including taxes and fees, came to $69.13.

The company gave me, a first-time customer, a $10 coupon, so I wound up paying $59.13, which is still much more than I’d spend on average at the grocery store or even at a farmer’s market. My C.S.A. usually costs me about $20 a week for a hefty bag of whatever fruits and vegetables were in season that month, which makes up the bulk of my meals that week. So it’s a bit more money than I’m used to spending on food for a meal or two at home. But it’s worth noting that I included several artisanal items (like the oats and kimchi), since both are harder to find on a regular trip to the store.

Of course, there are some downsides to ordering food sight unseen. For example, I ordered a bunch of fennel because it looked good on the website; since it’s a cool weather crop, I figured it would be a safe bet. But the fennel I received looked dry and shriveled. The fennel still tasted great once chopped and served in a salad with fresh chard and apple. But had I been shopping at a traditional farmer’s market, I’m not so sure I would have taken it home with me.

The delivery schedule for sites like this depends on the availability of food items and when each farmer comes into the city. This can cause some problems. For example, I placed an order for eggs, honey and an assortment of fall fruits on Thursday with Rustic Roots, a similar service, expecting it sometime that week. But a few days later, the company emailed to say it was closed for a week and would deliver my items the next week. It also said delivery time fell between 3 and 5 a.m. — with no possibility of a more convenient hour!

The company says that it requires its customers to have a doorman or secure vestibule for drop-off, which is a big thing to ask for most city dwellers.

But given the newness of these services, problems like these seem par for the course, and may smooth out over time.

There’s just one word for the food from Good Eggs that successfully made its way into my kitchen: phenomenal!

On Saturday, the day after the delivery, I invited a friend over for an impromptu dinner party to help test the goods and he immediately praised the greens for their rich color. We made a meal out of nearly everything that arrived and were impressed with the freshness of our ingredients and the deliciousness of the meal. I was happiest with the items that would be hardest to find at a typical farmer’s market, like the Berkshire chops and specialty items. The organic raw oats made for a lovely Sunday morning breakfast.

Good Eggs embodies all the promise of our newfound on-demand world, one dominated by apps and services that deliver the best at the tap of a button or the click of a button. It captures the perfect combination of convenience and wonder — the way it effortlessly just worked, exactly as advertised — that leaves you convinced of its superiority and ingenuity as a service.

And yet I missed going to the market myself, browsing through the stalls, tasting things and making small talk with the farmers. The thrill of Good Eggs is that it can deliver farm-fresh food that makes even the most highbrow foodie’s mouth water. But the true thrill of getting food from a local grower is that it removes the degrees of separation from its source. Adding those layers back in is hard to stomach.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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