Have you ever seen a carrot on a bicycle? We have. As proponents of healthy workplaces, The FruitGuys is thrilled to be working with FreeWheelin’ Farm in Santa Cruz, CA. They are a bike-powered farm operation that supplies delicious vegetables for our TakeHome case. FreeWheelin’ Farm is a Community Supported Agriculture farm, or CSA. CSAs invite local communities to buy shares or memberships in the farm and receive fresh-farm direct dividends in the form of produce.
Amy Courtney started the farm eight years ago with one other farmer on one little acre. They started delivering their veggies to members by bike because they didn’t have a car. They were already bike people so it was a natural choice to continue using pedal power even when they expanded their operation. Amy now works the farm with partners Darryl Wong and Kristin Yogg. The farm has expanded to nine acres and some 75 members and all three pedal produce-laden trailers to drop off sites in Santa Cruz where customers pick up the goodies. It is a 14-mile round trip back to the farm and, yes, they do get some flats. On Fridays they even make a zigzag tour through a few neighborhoods to make home deliveries. “When we do ride together we tend to ride single file… I personally find that I whistle best when on my bike, I think it has something to do with the additional wind,” says Amy. “Sometimes I sing. Most of the time I am grateful for a quiet moment with the wind and my breath, nothing to do but keep pedaling. It can be really relaxing in that way.”
Are they fit from all the biking and good organic food? “We’re no slouches.”
The freewheelers produce enough veggies for their members, a few restaurants, and, of course, The FruitGuys. Their land is in the cooler part of Santa Cruz where carrots, broccoli, chard, kale, and other greens thrive so to add to their offering veggies who prefer a warmer climate, such as cucumbers, eggplant, and peppers, they partnered with Yellow Wall Farm, located in Santa Cruz’s sun belt. Yellow Wall also helps out by delivering via car to the FruitGuys, but has also caught the bike bug and pedals their produce to local drop sites.
If you can’t bike for your work, you could still bike to your workplace. Biking to work is getting easier all the time. Every major city across the nation has bike coalitions, such as: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, with many offering workshops such as street riding with confidence, basic bike repair, and how to rally a BUG (Bike Users Group) at your workplace. Some companies provide bikes to get across expansive campuses or traverse warehouses. In New York City, 7th Commuter Challenge proved once again the bike beats car and subway. There are websites that rank the most bike-friendly workplaces in their cities and others that provide tips on how to make your office one of them. At The FruitGuys South Francisco warehouse, we have bike racks and several bike commuters.
Even if you don’t bike to work yet, sending back your cases for re-use is a good first step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. FruitGuys TakeHome cases are available nationwide, box return is available in some areas.
- Heidi Lewis