Indiana native Matt Ewer has farming in his blood. At the ripe old age of eight, he started selling sweet corn door-to-door for his family's farm. When he was twenty, he began working in organic farming and not long after moved to the West Coast to study organic agriculture.
Then he returned to Indiana and in 2007 and along with his wife, Elizabeth Blessing, founded Green B.E.A.N. Delivery (1071 Cool Springs Industrial Drive, O'Fallon; 314-779-2145), a service that delivers local, organic produce to customers' doorsteps.
Now Ewer is bringing Green B.E.A.N. to the St. Louis area.
"We started with an idea of trying to connect community members with family farmers and sustainable growers," Ewer tells Gut Check. "We wanted to make local and sustainable foods more convenient, affordable and accessible. We felt like the method of home delivery would be our best option for connecting consumers and community members with small farms."
In addition to the Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Muncie regions, Green B.E.A.N. now serves Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio and Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky.
"We see ourselves as being very competitive in the marketplace," Ewer says, explaining the company's "bin" option, which allows customers to buy a week's worth of produce for as little as $35 (the minimum order amount for delivery service). "We see ourselves as being very affordable, and obviously very convenient for our customer.
"We also have products that are not available in a lot of organic supermarkets," adds Ewer. "We are very good at networking with local farmers and artisans, and giving them an opportunity to reach the marketplace."
The company obtains its produce mostly from the Midwest, and Ewer says he works with more than 100 farmers and artisans in the region. (During winter months Green B.E.A.N. sources from farther away.)
The company's Missouri-based suppliers: Boeckmann Family Farm (beef), Good Earth Egg Company, Buttonwood Farm (poultry), Geisert Farms (pork), Heartland Creamery, Dogtown Frozen Pizzas, Companion Bread and Mississippi Mud Coffee.
Green B.E.A.N. has also pledged to donate fresh produce to the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
"Philanthropy is a big part of our business -- giving back to the community is something that we're really proud of," says Ewer. "A lot of times, food banks have a hard time accessing healthy foods. We feel like it's an obligation of our company to give back to the communities where we have our service."