Community Spotlight: Suburban Organics
by Linda SechristTwo years ago, Chuck Minguez had an epiphany. The customer service coordinator and community outreach manager for Suburban Organics, which purchases seasonally available certified organic fruits and vegetables from local farmers and delivers them straight to customers’ doors, realized that the true value of supporting local and regionally grown foods is ultimately about the economic and health benefits to his entire community.
Minguez is unable to recall the exact circumstances that sparked his “Aha!” moment. However, he does remember that it occurred after working through two growing seasons at Blooming Glen Farm, situated on 30 acres of preserved farm land in Upper Bucks County, and spending quality time as a stay-at-home dad with his two sons—time which gave him the freedom to tend to his backyard garden.
Because he enjoys collaborating with other organizations on community outreach activities, Minguez recently hooked up with Rolling Harvest Food Rescue to help address the serious issue of food waste. “In 2010, within the United States alone, 34-plus million tons of food waste was generated. Only 3 percent was recycled, meaning that 33 million tons of food went to landfills and incinerators,” he explains, adding that Rolling Harvest now picks up any less-than-perfect produce that Suburban Organics can’t sell to customers and takes it to local food pantries.
“We also donate produce to Purely Farms, in Pipersville, which raises grass-fed chicken, pigs, sheep and rabbits,” says Minguez, “and we give bananas to oWowCow Creamery, in Ottsville. They use them for their delicious ice cream, smoothies and milkshakes.” He looks forward to developing more collaborative efforts and fundraising opportunities with local schools and nonprofits, and the company currently offers a philanthropic opportunity for customers. “If four or more customers elect to have their deliveries at the same location, we take the monthly dollar amount for all their purchases and give 10 percent of the total to a nonprofit,” he explains.
One of the best things about working at a locally owned company, Minguez emphasizes, is the relationship he enjoys with his teammates, “Crazy-for-Honey-Crisp-Apples” Matthew Flood and “Gleaming-Over-Granny-Smiths” Chris Natale. Flood is the operations manager and produce guru, ensuring everything goes as planned in getting the boxes of fresh produce out to customers. He is also responsible for locating and purchasing the produce and market items offered every week. Natale, the warehouse manager, takes care of the produce. “We all appreciate being able to support our local farmers and community partners, as well as being able to make our customers happy,” enthuses Minguez.
Suburban Organics purchases from local certified organic farms such as Lancaster Farm Fresh, Lady Moon Farms, Blue Moon Acres and out of season from One Straw Farm, Coke Farm and John Givens Farm. Deliveries are made within the tri-state area.
For more information, call 484-833-1100 or visit SuburbanOrganics.com. July 2012