Alex DelCollo’s mission is to bring more local, fresh food to nearby areas and to raise awareness about the benefits of shopping local. You can find Alex at HAC on Thursday mornings with a variety of this season’s best growers for our local farmers. It’s pretty much a pick-and-choose CSA! We asked Alex a few questions to learn more about Fresh2U, check out her answers below!
How did you get started?
I have been working in the field of health behavior and chronic disease prevention for quite some time, earning my Master’s in Science from the University of Delaware in Health Promotion. It is well documented that a healthy diet is a huge factor in preventing and managing chronic diseases. While working in the community I often hear that healthy foods are too expensive and vegetables do not taste good. If you go to your local grocery store and look at the prices and the quality there, you cannot argue with these points. Most of the time we have no idea where our produce is coming from. Even if the produce is labeled as local, often, you cannot find the name of the farm on the produce. I work with many farmers in South Jersey on a regular basis in my full-time career, so I knew I could get quality produce from local sources. This has the added benefit of knowing where your food is coming from and in this day of environmental concerns and animal welfare concerns that is very important to people. We know exactly where our produce is coming from and there is a personal connection when the produce is picked up directly from the farm.
With the basic barriers to healthy foods being affordability, quality, and access, I decided that I would try out my idea of a mobile produce stand that sets up where people spend their time (ie. workplaces, community centers, fitness centers, etc). This point is important to me, setting up where people are because junk food is convenient. People want to make a healthy choice, so, If we can make healthy food more convenient then people will make healthier choices.
With all of this in mind, I approached the Jewish Community Center in North Wilmington to run a pilot and folks really enjoyed it. I choose to expand this year to 3 location so it would still be manageable.
What drove you to start sourcing locally?
Farmers do not get enough credit for what they do. We would not have food, drinks (including alcohol), clothing, and many more things that we take for granted without farmers. Also, local food TASTES BETTER! A tomato that has traveled from South America does not taste near as good as a tomato grown locally. “Know your farmer, know your food.”
What farms do you source from?
Currently, we are getting produce from the following farms (they can also be found on our website under the “This Week’s Produce” tab www.fresh2uwellness.com with short bios about their farms):
- A.T. Buzby Farm
- First Generation Farms
- Larchmont Farms
- Porch Farms
This will expand as the season move forward. We will get potatoes from 2 other farms.
How many locations do you serve?
There are currently 3 stand location and 1 online order drop-off location (https://www.fresh2uwellness.com/current-partners):
- The HAC – Thursdays 8:30 am – 1:00 pm
- The JCC – Thursdays 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
- Shellcrest Swim Club – Fridays 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
What is your vision Fresh 2 U?
Ultimately, I would like to have steady expansion around New Castle County to make stands easily accessible to much of the population centered around where people gather. I have some thoughts about delivery, but I am not sure how I would like to do that because I truly value to face-to-face interaction that takes place with people asking questions about farming practices and how to prepare a vegetable they may have never seen before.