I used to be a produce farmer. In the spring I grew asparagus followed by organic raspberries in the summer. Both were available at local markets or on a winding country road using a cashbox and the honor system. Most customers liked picking up at the latter location. It felt different and better. They knew I had picked the asparagus or raspberries in the last couple hours. Customers became my friends, and would tell me they were headed home to prepare dinner using my fresh ingredients. It was a special experience to know the food I worked so hard to grow would help bring people together around a meal. I will never forget those years.
I passed the duties on to my younger brothers when I left for college. In the time since, my passion for food has grown and I now enjoy cooking and eating interesting food. I feel alive when I cook, especially when it involves gathering local ingredients, preparing them and sharing with friends and family. There is a problem though--cooking this way takes significant work. The tediousness of preparing a meal for special occasions is worth it because of the anticipation of the event, but what about weeknight dinners? Why can’t those be easy yet just as special and contain fresh, locally sourced ingredients? Ingredients with a story. Ingredients that matter. Ingredients that feed not only your family and friends, but “puts food on the table” of farmers in your area.
This fall, I set out to create a solution to this problem and I am incredibly proud of what the team at StayinPDX now has to offer. We created an easy solution to dinner that closes the gap between food producers and consumers, minimizes waste and makes cooking a fun and rewarding experience.
Our first priority when we created StayinPDX was to make meals easy and rewarding. Creating a thoughtful meal can take a couple of hours. Often, cooking only makes up just a fraction of the total time. Finding a recipe, driving to the grocery store, shopping at the grocery store, driving home, and organizing ingredients all takes time. We wanted to eliminate the pain points of the cooking experience. Food is amazing and has the ability to change lives. StayinPDX commissioned Chef Eric Johnson to create compelling, yet quick recipes. He is a gifted chef who has worked in very high culinary circles including serving 3 US Presidents. With StayinPDX, Eric has worked to bring complex flavors to everyday meals. The service we offer removes the hassle from dinner and allows food to do what it does best--bring families together, make bodies healthier and provide a great sensory experience.
We created awesome, easy recipes to eliminate the stress for dinner. If we had stopped there, Stayin would have a useful service. We wanted to do more. Our service is about more than recipes and dinner. It’s about bringing food consumers closer together. People are very removed from their food. So much of what we eat has been processed, modified or grown far from where we eat. Stayin operates on a very simple premise. Food put on the table for dinner should come from fresh, locally available ingredients. Raw ingredients should be combined to create a meal whenever possible. My experiences as a small farmer shaped the vision for how our food is sourced. We’ve worked with farmers and developed plans to maximize the use of seasonal produce. We’re working to partner on a field of produce as well as on poultry and meats this summer to provide hyper-local, hyper-fresh ingredients. The produce available in the Portland area is second to none. Ingredients used in our boxes will come from the best local producers. Your food will not travel across continents on trucks or airplanes. Because the ingredients we use come from the local area, we are also able to reduce waste in distribution--which is about 12% of annual production. Stayin’ local is the right thing to do for a variety of reasons. Our mission from the start has been to make it an easy choice.
The last main issue StayinPDX was designed to address waste. We wanted to eliminate waste in the following areas: shipping, packaging, delivery and consuming. We eliminate waste in shipping by sourcing locally. The majority of food we source comes from a few miles away. It is not shipped across the country on a truck spewing black smoke. The Portland area is lucky to have the food resources that it does. We do our best to use those resources whenever possible. StayinPDX packages food with as little packaging as safely possible. All of our boxes are biodegradable. We use thin, poly sealed bags to package the food that needs it. Last mile delivery has become a growing logistical issue today. It is very inefficient. We took a step away from the on demand and delivered to door solutions. We eliminated last mile delivery, which accounts for 30% of shipping costs, by delivering meals directly to employees at their offices before they leave. This also allows meals to be delivered in thin containers rather than bulky, climate controlled containers like other food services use. Finally, StayinPDX eliminates waste by providing only what is necessary for the meal. In the United States 28% of all produce grown goes to waste as a result of post-purchase losses. By providing a perfect serving size, we nearly eliminate the food that goes bad. This reduces the cost of recipes compared to shopping at a grocery store. We do our best to maximize the efficiency of StayinPDX because it’s good for business, customers and most importantly, the environment.
These are the things that matter to us. This is our story. This is how we came to be. We hope you’ll consider Stayin’ in.