Fruition Orchards and its non-profit sister, the Hub on the Hill, operate a farm and food hub in Essex, NY. Operations include a certified commercial kitchen available to local producers; an onsite market; storage space—both cold and dry—for area farmers to rent; and a distribution service which delivers farm fresh and locally-produced food to customers from the Canadian border to New York City.
Jori Welkin and her team at the Hub wanted to introduce an online ordering platform and needed the resources to research and implement the best system for their needs.
The company entered the competition for FuzeHub’s New York State Innovation Incentive Prize Program for Food, Beverage & Agriculture Technologies and received a $10,000 award. It used the funds to research different online ordering platforms and implement a platform for beta testing. This was a huge task because the start of the pandemic — just as the company was launching its beta site — changed both the size and the nature of the demand for locally grown and produced foods and required modifications to the online ordering platform.
“With its online ordering platform in place, the Hub is now a full-service marketplace able to meet the needs of a stay-at-home customer base. It has hired six people since March of 2020, including a distribution coordination manager, a marketing person and drivers who travel a combined 2,000 miles every week.
The platform also added to the assets of Fruition Orchards, which owns the infrastructure from which the Hub operates.”