Walk through the Greenmarket on any given Saturday and you’re guaranteed to glimpse young hopefuls in chefs’ whites pushing huge carts of produce from Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill among the shoppers, the gawkers and the glamorous Bill Cunningham set. But not every restaurant can keep a forager on payroll, and all too often the farmers are asked to make their own deliveries after a grueling 15-hour day.
Mark Jaffe, founder of The Fresh Connection, wants to fix that. His Brooklyn-based company picks ingredients up from farms and markets and delivers them to restaurants quickly and efficiently. He’s been working on improving logistics in local food distribution since 2012, and he is making great strides in filling this missing link in the local food system. The New York Times has taken note, and Jaffe won the popular Food + Enterprise pitch competition in 2014. “What we’re doing may not be sexy,” he admits, “but this is the vital behind-the-scenes work that needs to happen in order to support local farmers, food artisans, restaurants and grocery stores.”
Jaffe currently leases four trucks but is often unable to fill all of them to capacity. He’s left with the decision between turning down business and eating a loss. To that end, he’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to buy a fuel-efficient sprinter van. It’ll function as cushion to ensure his leased vehicles are at capacity and will improve logistical efficiency. His company is already serving over 30 farmers and food producers alongside more than 75 restaurants and retailers, proving that this service is in high demand in our region. Support his campaign, help farmers and chefs save time and money, and nab a Fresh Connection trucker hat. Maybe Bill Cunningham will find it portrait-worthy.