Milk, cheese, eggs are staples on any family’s grocery list — and thanks to federal grant funding, one of Long Island’s only dairy farms will soon offer convenient home delivery of these farm fresh necessities.
Goodale Farms in Aquebogue has received $80,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Value-Added Producer Grant program, the agency announced Monday.
The program is designed to help growers expand their businesses by adding value to their crops to expand the use of their products. The farm was one of about 247 to receive funding — and the only North Fork business chosen this year. North Fork Potato Chips received the same grant in 2012.
Farmer Hal Goodale said he plans to use the money to try out a new business model, offering weekly grocery delivery to families across Long Island.
Similar to the community supported agriculture share-style model, Mr. Goodale said the design will allow families to pay by the month to receive weekly deliveries of his fresh farm products.
“I truly believe people deserve to have products that are good for them,” he said. “We figured there’s got to be, on this island, 200 or 300 families that want what we have. They can lean on us for what they are looking for.”
With weekly orders, he said the farm can get to know its customers. Over time he hopes to cater to them, even offering Thanksgiving specials where families can buy their turkeys and tell the farm how they want it fed and raised.
The grant money will allow Mr. Goodale to hire delivery drivers and additional workers for processing, so that he “can do everything in-house,” he said.
It will also enable the farm to expand packaging options so it can improve the shelf life of products. Using vacuum-sealed packaging for cheeses, for example, can expand shelf life from about two weeks to a month or more.
“We will also use it for glass bottles for milk and the frozen delivery containers the orders can come in,” he said.
To make the model manageable, he will improve his website so families can sign in, specify dairy products for their weekly order and make special requests.
Mr. Goodale said the grant came at the perfect time. Relying on retail sales has been difficult, he said.
“We’ve been going about it by selling at 14 or 16 farmers markets that aren’t consistent as far as revenue stream,” Mr. Goodale said. “Farmers markets are a lot of work. It is chaos around here getting ready for them.”
The hope is that busy families can eat healthier with the convenience of delivery.
“If we’re bringing it to your house, maybe on that late night you’re not whipping out that box of macaroni and cheese,” he said. “You’ll have what you need to prepare a healthy meal you can enjoy.”
The weekly delivery will cost $75 per week, and will include two to three pounds of the farm’s pastured beef or pork; a choice of three dairy items, such as a half-gallon of milk, a dozen eggs and a pint of yogurt; and a selection of fruits and vegetables. For more information on the program, contact Mr. Goodale by email at [email protected].