With the future of home delivery apparently including Amazon drones flying packages to your driveway, it was only a matter of time before the grocery store got a serious upgrade. Farm to table? Try farm to fridge.
Good Eggs, the San Francisco - based local grocery aggregator and delivery service, last year opened its online shop in Brooklyn, New Orleans and Los Angeles. And on Monday, April 7, it's officially opening the L.A. Foodhub, having turned the old Hostess factory in Elysian Valley near Glendale into a delivery station.
Good Eggs launched in 2011 as a San Francisco start-up, aiming to reconfigure how we get our food - and how farmers and local producers get their products to the public. It works as an online storefront, in which vendors have pages on the website and shoppers can browse among the various virtual stands.
If you live here, you can shop from your laptop or phone (Good Eggs has an app), in which you can put in your basket Albion strawberries from Jimenez Family Farm, kouign-amann from Bread Lounge, coffee from Handsome Coffee and preserves from Sqirl, check out and arrange home delivery - which, depending on where you live and how much you buy, might even be free.
Unlike the traditional grocery story or supermarket, Good Eggs - whose co-founders, Rob Spiro and Alon Salant, both came from tech backgrounds - doesn't warehouse vast quantities of food but acts as a conduit, a Foodhub that coordinates a sophisticated distribution system. In Los Angeles, this literal hub is a 9,000-square-foot space that was once a Hostess factory and now resembles a mash-up of a giant garage and a college dorm.
On a recent morning, the vast space was only partially filled with shelves of artisan-produced jams and recently roasted coffee, overstuffed couches (which the 20 or so employees were too busy to use) and low tables, both for conferencing and for the communal lunches that make the small company feel very much like a neighborhood co-op.
The aim of Good Eggs is to change not only the way people shop but also how farmers and small producers can get their boxes of vegetables and bags of flour and jars of jam to consumers. In a city as huge as Los Angeles, where farmers can drive many hours to get to the many farmers markets they attend, or for very small producers who don't have a staff, Good Eggs offers a system for marketing and distribution. For a small price, that in turn frees up the bakers and jam makers and radish growers to focus on their farms and kitchens instead of spending time emailing or dealing with PayPal.
From the consumer's standpoint, you get a very quick turnaround and you're able to shop from many venues at once without having to leave your house. Kind of like Alice Waters' version of Pink Dot.
Good Eggs has a pretty stellar lineup so far, including Bread Lounge, Handsome Coffee, Sqirl, Mud Creek Ranch, Grist & Toll, Community Seafood, Little Flower Candy Co., Bling Bling Dumpling, Cafecito Orgánico, Mother Moo, Burkart Organics, South Central Farmers Cooperative, Straus Family Creamery, Cook Pigs Ranch, Eos Chocolates, Homeboy Industries, Mama's Hot Tamales, Maggie's Farm, Meiji Tofu, Red Bread, Weiser Family Farms and Röckenwagner. There are more, and more coming.
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Good Eggs delivers to all L.A. neighborhoods four days a week, and has four free pick-up locations throughout the city, including at Good Eggs headquarters, where you can check out the former Hostess factory (when Good Eggs moved in, a 30-foot vat of chocolate syrup had been left by the previous occupants).
If you want to check out HQ anyway, Good Eggs is throwing an opening party on Saturday, April 12, from 2-6 p.m., with food, drinks, music, a mini farm and face painting. Among the local producers on hand for the party will be Handsome Coffee, Sqirl, Mama's Hot Tamales, Bread Lounge and Homeboy Bakery.