The Turnip Truck out of Atlanta, GA acts as a distributor between small local farms and their customers. Every local product is advertised and sold with the farm name attached, because they are committed to 100% transparency and source verification for all of their products. We love The Turnip Truck for their commitment to all things local. They work with small farms and they're big time supporters of the slow food movement.
We reached out to Michael from Turnip Truck to see just how Turnip Truck has grown as a responsible and invested distributor for local farms over the past decade:
Could you tell us a little about Turnip Truck's history? What was the driving force and passion behind its creation?
The Turnip Truck of GA was founded in 2008. It was born of a need for a more efficient logistics and distribution solution for our local farmers. I am a trained chef and worked in the restaurant industry for almost 15 years before getting into produce distribution. Once I saw the difference in fresh, locally sourced produce compared to the conventional products from California mega-farms or imported, there was really no going back. Plus the connection to someone who is growing the food you are eating is so important. I really feel like it is a meaningful part of our lives that has been lost to modern industrialization, and that is why it is so important to us to keep that connection to the farm for our customers.
How do you connect with the farmers who supply for you?
Since we've been around for almost 10 years we've been able to develop a good reputation as a trustworthy distributor who can help farms take their business to the next level. Also, as we have a number of years of sales data, we help farmers plan their crop rotations to ensure they are growing what the market needs, and we are able to provide contracts and commitments so that they can feel good about investing in growing their business and having a steady stream of large volume sales.
What is the best part of your job?
Honestly, being able to work and interact with our amazing farmers is the best part of all of it. There is just something so honest and heartfelt about growing healthy fresh food, and it is such hard, demanding work that it really takes a certain type of person who hears the calling. Knowing we are helping to create a parallel food system with real economic benefits for these incredible folks and helping sustain them and their families is the ultimate reward.
What has been the most challenging part of operating this type of business?
The challenge is taking something ephemeral like fresh produce availability which is completely dependent on the seasons, weather, rainfall, and a number of other factors that we have no control over and establishing consistency for our customers. If we want to make a true local food system, it has to be consistent and convenient for the end users, and that is what we're all about.
What's your favorite food or dish?
I'm simple guy when it comes to food. You find that when you're using food this fresh that has been produced in the proper methods, you really don't have to do much to it for it to taste amazing. Give me a nice steak and a tomato and cucumber salad in the peak of Georgia tomato season and I'm on cloud nine. I am also a huge fan of old school white bread and Dukes mayonnaise tomato sandwiches-- I'll be eating them all summer long!