When it comes to healthy eating, Green BEAN Delivery has been an innovator since 2007, using their online platform to deliver mostly local and organic produce and goods to homes across the Midwest. They've expanded that mission with a new wellness program that partners with Columbus businesses to improve the health and wellness of employees. Green BEAN Delivery now drops off employees' orders at participating businesses, sets up opportunities to talk to employees about healthy food options and provides recipes to help employees use the healthy produce they've purchased. Green BEAN Delivery also offers Break Room Bins, in which they provide healthy alternatives to vending machines in the office. Find out more in the following Q&A interview between our student writer Rita Skaff and Green BEAN Delivery's Vice President, John Freeland. —Leah Wolf
Rita Skaff: Why was Green BEAN Delivery started?
John Freeland: Our goal is to make healthy and sustainably grown foods affordable, accessible and convenient to the Midwest communities we serve. By working with a network of local farmers and artisans that have both urban and rural roots, Green BEAN Delivery builds food systems and businesses that address communities' greatest food challenges.
Sarah Fairchild's paintings capture the detail and allure of vegetables in an uncommon way. An Ohio native, Sarah came by painting vegetables honestly—she spent her childhood in the garden, growing and canning food with her mother and grandmother. Yet her technique brings common staples like corn and cauliflower to life with one of the most joyful and unexpected colors—fluorescent pink. Standing in front of one Sarah's works, I'm swallowed up by the brightness of cabbages and how they call to me from the wall like sunlight through an open door. And that made me want to interview her to find out why vegetables, farming and art are so meaningful to her. —CL
Q: What inspired you to start painting vegetables?
A: I grew up following my mother and grandmother through vegetable and flower gardens. It was a true "farm to table" experience. I helped them pull weeds, plant seeds, harvest as well as can and freeze vegetables for the winter. As an adult, I rediscovered my love for plants by noticing the amazing produce at farmers market, walking through my neighborhood alleys and visiting community gardens. I found the vegetables beautiful, alluring and more interesting than the flowers. I knew I wanted to explore these forms in my painting.
Beans are an essential part of the delicious Indian, Provençal and Middle Eastern cuisines, but many home cooks in the United States are hesitant to use them. Eliza Sproat of HnL Enterprises wants to change that. Eliza and her husband developed the Quick-Cook Bean Pot that allows cooks to quickly and easily cook nutritious dried black beans, chickpeas, fava beans and more over the stovetop without overnight soaking. A native of Columbus, Eliza came across the inspiration for the pot in her husband's hometown of Cairo, where bean pots are an essential kitchen item.—Leah Wolf
Leah Wolf: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Eliza Sproat: I gravitate toward good food. In high school, an Indian restaurant opened nearby; as soon as I saw the sign go up, I was determined to work there. I ate Saag Paneer every night. Some time later I ate in a Slavic restaurant. The food was so good that I secured a job there that night. Then, before college, I worked in a Chinese restaurant both to enjoy the cuisine and to practice Chinese. Since 1993 I have pined for the tofu that tasted exactly like the smoked Gouda I learned about in a noodle shop while studying Chinese in Beijing.
When my husband and I were dating while students at OSU, he made a concoction I'd never tried before. It consisted of chopped lettuce and parsley, chopped veggies (the beautiful thing is most any raw vegetable works), oil, lemon, cumin, salt, pepper and fava beans. I was hooked. That was more than twenty years ago. When my husband was invited to share a bit about his culture at a local Boys & Girls Club here in Columbus, he took the same dish and the crowd there was as enthusiastic about it as I was.
With a passion for quality ingredients and an appreciation for entrepreneurs who share their delicious recipes with the world, Steve Barrish is helping to change grocery stores across America, one Luna Burger or frozen pretzel at a time. As Director of Sales and Account Management at Eat Well Distribution, Barrish is a key player in helping Columbus specialty foods producers get their products on shelves nationwide. Read on to learn about how a former promotions manager teams up with retail shops to bring artisan products to our kitchen tables.—Rebecca Wojno
Rebecca Wojno: Tell me about your background and how you went from working in promotions to being Director of Sales and Account Management at Eat Well Distribution?
Steve Barrish: I was hired on as Promotions Manager at PromoWest Productions soon after graduating from Ohio State in 2006 with a B.A. in Strategic Communication. I coordinated the Promotions Department which focused on grassroots and online marketing strategies for more than 400 concerts and live events each year.
In 2010, my wife Carly (who managed the Jeni's scoop shop at the North Market) and I decided volunteer for WWOOF (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) in New Zealand. For eight months, we did work that ranged from weeding backyard gardens to thinning grape vines to caring for hogs, cattle, and chickens. The experience helped to bridge the gap that so many of us have when it comes to understanding what it takes to grow, raise, and properly prepare our food. It gave us a deep appreciation for whole foods, simple ingredients, gardening, and cooking.
When I returned, I was invited by Jeni's CEO John Lowe to an informal interview. He saw how the trip affected me, that I developed a passion for real food and a better food system, and appointed me the Director of Sales & Account Management with the launch of Eat Well Distribution in January 2012.
Elisa Rosen and her new web business, Jackeez.com, aim to change the way local farmers and artisan producers reach customers. Jackeez.com complements the traditional farmers market audience by giving producers access to national and international customers through an online marketplace. Site vendors offer everything from honey and fruit preserves to artisan cheese and fresh quail eggs—all healthy, high-quality products that represent the pride of the artisans and communities that produce them. —Leah Wolf
Leah Wolf: Tell us a bit about Jackeez.
Elisa Rosen: Jackeez.com began with a conversation I had with my husband and daughters a little less than a year ago. We have a lot of friends who are working and running farms, raising animals right, making artisanal cheese, growing organic produce, making biodynamic honey, foraging, producing beautiful jams, fudge, and the list goes on and on. Most of them are struggling to sell enough of their products to survive full-time at what they're doing because they don't have access to a large enough consumer base and rely only on local customers, which is extremely limiting.
We thought we could give them access to an unlimited amount of customers by building an online marketplace where everyone and anyone who produces artisanal, small-batch foods and related products could sell their products around the country and the world, and gain access to a market that previously only national chain stores could provide.
Lorraine Walker, owner of Silver Bridge Coffee, has created a high-quality coffee business from what originally started as a hobby of roasting beans in her kitchen. Lorraine has combined her love of coffee, a dedication to conscientious sourcing and her focus on freshness to create a unique product with a loyal following throughout Central Ohio. Silver Bridge Coffee participates in the Café Femenino program, which helps empower women around the world. Her new Silver Bridge Singles also allow coffee lovers to support local coffee while enjoying the ease of single serve cups that work with all major brewers. Read on to find out more about Lorraine's philosophy and the history behind Silver Bridge Coffee.—Leah Wolf
Leah Wolf: Can you tell us what first drew you to coffee?
Lorraine Walker: I have always loved coffee. My journey with coffee began as a simple need for caffeine while studying in college and grew to my one "luxury" item when I was a mother of young children. Then about 10 years ago my husband became interested in home roasting; he is always interested in learning new things. He ordered green coffee beans online and started roasting coffee in an old popcorn popper he had found at a thrift store. Tasting coffee that was freshly roasted was the truly a game changer for us because it was so much better than anything we were drinking. Soon we were roasting coffee and giving it out to family members and friends and even trying to show other people how to roast coffee at home.