It’s a good thing for Jeff Moore and Emer Lloyd that more farms growing sustainably are popping up. It’s the basis for their new business, Rustic Roots, which delivers organic and sustainable fruit, vegetables, meat and cheese to households from Manhattan to Montauk.
The couple, who’ve been married three years, met while working in restaurants in Montauk. After a brief stint in the city, they decided it was time to get back to the East End and back to Moore’s original interest in natural resources, which he studied at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks. “We wanted to bring organic healthy products to people, to their home, and serve as a bridge between good farms and people with kids, who don’t have the time to go to a farm to food shop,” he says.
Luckily the couple has a friend in Connecticut who runs a similar service and was able to help them out with a business plan. Next, they visited farms in our area and about 50 upstate to find partners. Now they sell plums from Briermere Farm in Riverhead, peas from Golden Earthworm in Jamesport and microgreens from Good Water Farm in Amagansett. Rustic Roots puts in orders for 100 chickens at a time from Northwinds Farm in Tivoli, or Gray Horse Farm in Clinton Corners or Nagimor Farm in Warnerville; the farms process the birds, and Moore and Emer buy them frozen. All three farms are family-run and don’t use antibiotics. All the chickens Rustic Roots sells are USDA-certified organic, and all the beef is grassfed.
The business also sells handmade organic pasta, local organic cheese, farm eggs, local organic butter, local yogurts, local honey, local maple syrup, organic coffee and organic chocolate. A 10- or 20-week summer fruit and vegetable share is $55 per week. Over the winter, the couple introduced a juicing share, for the same price as the fruit and vegetable share, which provides in-season juicing produce, like kale, chard, spinach or beets, that’s clean and ready to go.
The couple has been in business since July 2011 and is eager to sign up more customers. Progress has been slow but steady. “We’re trying to grow organically,” says Moore.