(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Hungry Harvest opened in Detroit this month, and CEO Evan Lutz said the Baltimore-based company that delivers “ugly” produce that would otherwise go to waste is planning more expansion in the near future.
“Our plan is to expand to 30 more cities over the next four years,” Lutz said on Monday. This comes after expansion into Delaware, New Jersey, Miami and the Research Triangle area. Opening in the Detroit area (including Ann Arbor) marks the first location off the East Coast. Lutz said the company has been seeing demand for its services in the area via its waitlist, and the area has a concentration of farmers.
Hello Detroit! Hungry Harvest has arrived in Michigan! We’re hard at work signing welcome cards, packing fruits and veggies and getting our first round of deliveries out of our doors and to your doorsteps. We’re super excited to kick off deliveries in the Detroit Metro area! pic.twitter.com/CziLZMgrBQ
— Hungry Harvest (@HungryHarvest) June 2, 2018
More expansion could be in the works, as the company is eying a number of other regions like the midwest, Texas and the Southeast.
Hungry Harvest gathers the castoff produce that is tabbed to be thrown away due to cosmetic or size issues that cause food businesses to deem it unsuitable for shelves. The company delivers boxes of that produce for its customers.
Along with rescuing produce, the company also has a mission to reduce hunger, and donates produce to local organizations. In Baltimore, it also has a program that runs in complement to the delivery service called Produce in a SNAP, which supports markets that sell low-cost produce in areas with high food insecurity. It’s currently at 25 local sites like schools and hospitals, and plans to expand to D.C. this month.
Lutz started the company while a student at the University of Maryland College Park in 2014, and later participated in Conscious Venture Lab while that program was based in Columbia. Some early national exposure came through Shark Tank, where Lutz agreed to a deal with investor Robert Herjavec in 2016. Earlier this year, the company raised $500,000 in fresh funding.
Lutz said the company now has 45 employees, the majority of which are in Maryland between its offices at City Garage and its warehouse in Jessup. With each new market, the company adds a pair of employees in operations and marketing.
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