Lyndsay Mackay and Cole Finamore believe everyone deserves access to food that is both fresh and affordable.
So in the midst of a pandemic, the Wasaga Beach couple created Sprout & Bean Market Box to deliver fresh produce to your doorstep.
“We are very passionate about what we eat and where it comes from,” said Mackay. “We figured this would be a great addition to the community and add in some healthy variety.”
Finamore and Mackay are both plant-based, and prior to the pandemic they found themselves going to the grocery store twice a week to pick up fresh produce. During the lockdown last spring, they quickly realized this wasn’t safe or sustainable, and started limiting their trips to the local supermarket.
“When the first lockdown happened we were stocking up on canned foods and other unhealthy things,” said Mackay. “We knew we couldn't be the only ones feeling the effects on our diet, so we started this to add some healthy variety that can be delivered.”
Finamore and Mackay connected with local farmers and wholesale companies, and officially started Sprout & Bean in August. They offer delivery of produce boxes across South Georgian Bay.
“We wanted to work with local farms because we knew they were struggling through the lockdown and everything, not being able to do the farmers’ markets,” said Mackay.
Sprout & Bean has two different sized boxes to fit the needs of local families. The regular box, which is suitable for one to three people, is $30 and includes a selection of vegetables with two or three pieces of fruit. The extra-large box costs $45 and serves three to five people, and has a larger quantity of the same selection of produce.
They also have a dedicated fruit box that can be added on to either box for $38.
“We are working really hard on trying to find a good combination so that people are getting good value for their money but they are not wasting food,” said Mackay.
The couple has also started working with other local companies to help deliver their products to consumers as well. They have already partnered with Thornbury Bakery, Collingwood Kombucha and Good Grief Coffee and offer their products as add-ons to any sized box, and they hope to connect with more companies soon.
“When we are picking things for the box, we try to think about what people can make these items into. Making sure they all kind of work together,” said Finamore.
Every week, they post recipes to their social media channels based on items they included in the box. They also created a Spotify playlist that their customers can listen to while they cook.
“We want to know how people are experiencing our services and products,” said Finamore. “Creating a community.”
Customers can subscribe for weekly delivery, or order boxes by the week. Orders need to be placed by 6:00pm on Monday evening and the boxes will be delivered on Thursday.
While they are still learning and adapting, both Mackay and Finamore have enjoyed connecting with the community and learning more about local produce in the process.
“There have been a lot of new learning experiences. What goes on behind the scenes and working with farmers,” said Mackay.
“We have a whole new appreciation for fresh produce now,” added Finamore.
The couple saw an influx in orders as Ontario entered its second lockdown, and they were able to hire an additional delivery driver to help. While both Mackay and Finamore currently have full-time jobs as well, they dream of expanding Sprout & Bean, and hope to open a physical location one day.
“The whole experience has been great. It’s been very rewarding to be able to run your own business and watch it grow into what it’s becoming,” said Finamore. “And being able to interact with people and hear how beneficial our service is to them during COVID.”