New way for consumers to buy all kinds of local, organic foodWith more than 2,000 subscribers, Lufa Farms has become one of the largest food basket providers in Canada. Customers pick up weekly baskets at one of approximately 130 pick-up points around Montreal, Laval, and the West Island.
Since Lufa Farms started delivering its fresh and responsibly grown vegetables to local consumers in 2011, the company also has partnered with area farmers, like organic-potato grower Mario Bessette to supplement its offerings with vegetables unsuitable to greenhouse cultivation.
"Lufa Farms gives us visibility and market access which would be almost impossible to establish ourselves," said Bessette. "It makes real sense to both the grower and the consumer."
Two years after starting the partner program, Lufa Farms now represents some 40-odd Quebec organic farmers and producers who focus on high-quality, sustainable food, everything from root vegetables and maple syrup, to cheese and fresh-baked bread.
"Our customers choose from among the broadest array of local, responsible and organic foods in Quebec," said Lufa Farms President Mohamed Hage. "We like to say 'we bring the farmers market to you.'"
Marc-André Royal, a Montreal chef and baker whose products Lufa Farms distributes, sees the direct-to-consumer approach as relevant to the producer as it is to the consumer.
"We start baking each day at 2 a.m. to make sure that our fresh, quality breads are available for the Lufa Farms' baskets that day. Nothing is fresher and nothing tastes as good," said Royal.
Like a CSA, but with choice -- all year roundLufa Farms models its product distribution on the community-supported agriculture (CSA) approach - with some key differences. Instead of delivering only during the traditional local growing season, Lufa Farms baskets are available all year because the greenhouses can grow vegetables all year long. And instead of accepting a basket full of whatever a farmer is harvesting in a particular week, Lufa Farms customers choose from an online grocery store exactly what goes into their baskets.
"Lufa Farms has been a great alternative to traditional CSA farms," said subscriber Eva Chan of Bois-Franc in St-Laurent. "It's always a treat to pick up my weekly basket!"
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