In my previous post (see link here if you missed it), I spoke about the first part of getting local eggs to market. Now comes the other half. Six years later, Jeff and FAF continue to bring Sunset Farms eggs to market. It’s not only a business relationship, but a human one as well. Once Jeff and family pack their daily supply of eggs from his flock, he heads to his truck and checks his smartphone.
Enter Jonathan: JTD, as he is known. JTD runs logistics for Five Acre Farms. JTD texts Jeff our orders as he gets in orders from the FAF buyers. JTD then coordinates with our truck driver, Jeremy, for the pick-up from Sunset Farms. This coordination takes time to master since it includes other pick-ups for Jeremy of perishable items that will also be on the delivery run. Technology has been a godsend.
Jeff and Jeremy load the pallets of eggs (about 900 dozen) onto the trailer and then Jeremy heads south. Jeremy spends his week inside the confines of a newly leased International 2020 LT pulling a 48-foot trailer, which includes a comfortable sleeper cabin.
About 200 miles later, Jeremy is backing the trailer into a bay in a Bronx warehouse, where several people (JTD, Subhash and Pete) wait to unload. Jeremy has to back in “blind” (mirrors don’t show the way) because of the dock set up — tightly packed parked trucks, a high curb divide and a narrow service road just off the Bruckner. He is a pro so he glides in easily.
Subhash is an actor and volleyball coach during the day and works at the FAF warehouse 2-3 nights a week. He drives a forklift, uses a pallet jack and assists JTD and Pete in getting the orders packed for the next day. Pete manages as many as seven trucks and drivers for FingerLakes Farms. FingerLakes services several hundred accounts with fruit, dairy, meat and vegetables from almost 200 regional farms and covers the last mile logistics for Five Acre Farms.
The eggs and milk (16 pallets in all) come off the truck, and by 11 pm, Jeremy is back on the road, heading out of the city. Subhash, Pete, and JTD then sort and pack orders for Pete’s trucks to deliver the next morning. They will reach around 100 shops, kitchens and markets.
By 11am the next day, Jeff’s eggs have gotten to where they need to be. Some were unloaded by Rodolpho at Key Food Supermarket, some by Luis at Chefs Warehouse (a large distributor). They were then packed out onto a supermarket shelf or delivered to a hotel kitchen or a local diner that needed local eggs. The end customers wanted a fresher, Local egg on a reliable basis, and that’s what they got.
I have only listed some of the people involved in the egg delivery but all of them play a role in getting Jeff’s eggs on your table. They don’t represent unnecessary “middlemen.” They are all part of our economy, part of the Local Food economy that is flexible, nimble and human. That changed drastically when COVID19 hit.