Linking Farmers With Consumers

Da Food Chain offers the ease of online shopping and convenience of home delivery. Each week, founder Carolyn Ornellas collects products from local farmers and food artisans and delivers them to residential homes.

Ornellas has a strong affection for farmers and wanted to make their produce more accessible. Da Food Chain, established this May, is an inventive way to provide food transparency while solving several key issues.

“When you walk through the farmers market, the energy is exciting. People knock down the nonexistent doors of farmers and fawn over their produce,” explains Ornellas. “Afterward, you see the carnage. It’s heartbreaking to see wilted, dying plants and tired farmers. The produce usually goes to feed animals or gets wasted, and the farmer’s hard work also is wasted.”

Ornellas also noticed that, when one farmer was successful with a produce item, other farmers would follow suit and soon the market would be flooded. Additionally, farmers are typically busy growing food and don’t have time for marketing and promotions.

Now, customers can shop online and just-harvested produce, as well as locally made food and beverages, are delivered to their door.

Produce availability is based on the seasons, and a newsletter, which is emailed each Tuesday, explains what’s available for the next delivery.

BENEFITS

Food transparency: “Many vendors sell produce that was not grown at their farm or even on this island,” says Ornellas. “I’ve been going to the Kapaa farmers market for six years. I know the farmers who grow food, and those are the farmers we source from.”

Farmers and artisans: Profiles, which list growing practices and cooking methods, are on the website. Participants include Kauai Glory Farms, Rainy Day Farms, Alohalani Farm, Rainbow Garden, Wootens Produce of Kauai, Lotus Fudge and Kauai Kombucha.

How it works: Shop for items online, place and pay for your order. Repeat every week or when you want a delivery of local goodies. Rates and terms of service are listed on the website.

Product selection: Choose from vegetables, herbs, seasonal fruit, sprouts, honey, raw fudge and locally made beverages.

Delivery: Deliveries are made each Friday to Kapaa and Lihue private households only. If you won’t be home, the website provides specific instructions to keep your order fresh.

Contact: For more information, visit DaFoodChain.com. You have to sign up for the weekly newsletter. Facebook posts include the newsletter, recipes and more.

Marta Lane is a Kauai-based food writer. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.

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