CTFFE Celebrates Fourth Anniversary
If fireworks were a fruit, they’d be a tomato. There is nothing better than one sun ripened and just picked from the vine. Still warm in your mouth, it bursts with flavor. Certainly root vegetables take center stage when the weather gets cold, but leafy greens like kale have become the little darlings of the Farm-to-Table movement because it’s such a powerhouse of nutrients.
What if you could get that kale delivered right to your door? CT Farm Fresh Express, or CTFFE, has been doing just that for the last four years. This past Saturday was their fourth anniversary.
CTFFE’s founder, Deb Marsden, originally launched her business from her home in 2008. Since then, she has grown it to include her property’s barn in East Haddam. Thanks to a grant from the Department of Agriculture, it comes equipped with a full 12-foot by 14-foot walk-in cooler to keep veggies fresh and a modern office space.
Her delivery drivers collect produce and freshly made products from all over the state. Got a hankering for pea shoots and Mesclun? No problem! They can get it from Two Guys From Woodbridge. Have a yen for artisanal cheese? No worries. They deliver award-winning cheeses from Cato Corner Farm in Colchester and Beltane Farm in Lebanon. If it’s made in Connecticut, they can get it.
But while CTFFE is the first business of its kind in the state, it’s not the only one and Marsden acknowledges that. “There’s a lot more competition now – which is great for the local food movement,” she said, “but CTFFE still provides a unique benefit: we offer products from a wider variety of suppliers, and we deliver right to your home or business.”
Marsden points out, however, there has been a noticeable change in the quality of the food. Customers are becoming more educated about the food they eat and subsequently more selective about what they will buy. Farmers know this and try to comply. So CTFFE drivers don’t accept a product just because it came from a local farm. It has to be in top quality condition to deliver. They won’t hesitate to reject items that don’t meet their standards.
But more than that, they say it’s the relationships they form with their repeat customers. When you deliver food every week, you get to know those clients very well. What they like; what they don’t like. Even how they use the products and what recipes they’ve tried.
“I have loved being so integral to bringing good local food to appreciative and enthusiastic customers. Everyone at CTFFE is passionate about the food, the process and satisfying our customers,” said Sarah Bollman, a Fairfield resident who has been driving for CTFFE for over two years. "I really love what I do.”
For many people, joining a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, provides that fresh food. But some feel like it’s just too much all at once. Or, they get a load of veggies their family doesn’t like and won’t eat. Why pay for food that ends up going bad?
So why not order the foods in the quantities you know your family will crave? CTFFE delivers on Thursdays and takes orders up until 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. They support over 50 state farms and operate all year round. They also provide locally raised meats and poultry for the holiday seasons.
For more information or to sign up for your delivery, visit their web site at www.ctffe.com.