Love fresh fruit and vegetables? Good cheese? Delicious baked goods? Not willing to brave the traffic on Route 27 for a bushel of tomatoes, a bunch of basil and a crusty baguette? Then have I got a service for YOU: Let the bruschetta begin!
Farm to Front Door, a Hamptons online market, is the brainchild of Cathy Badard and Lesa Tinker. Badard, who lives fulltime in Southampton “had a pipedream,” says Tinker. She wanted to share “all things green on the east end: painters, gardeners…[she has a] pure interest in healthy living, supporting the locals farmers, being eco-conscious. Our ultimate goal was to do more with the farmers, and now we have this: Farm to Front Door.”
The initial website, which still functions as an umbrella for Farm to Front Door, is ecoeastend.com, which lists events and vendors that promote ecologically sound living. “Cathy moved out when her kids were little and got to appreciate the way of life out here,” says Tinker. “You live and eat the natural life. This is her main passion.”
With a strong commitment to feeding their families in a wholesome and nutritious fashion they thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if more people could access this, especially those who are too busy to do it? Wouldn’t it be great if all your farm produce was sitting on your door step.”
Rather than wonder and dream, Badard and Tinker decided to make it happen. The two women do it all themselves, with the aid of two helpers. No strangers to the business world, they already had the know-how. Badard has worked in business and fashion and is currently a real estate broker with Corcoran in Southampton. Tinker, who left Australia on a 12-month vacation 25 years ago, managed the London offices of an Australian publishing company, and does extensive volunteer work for her children’s school.
In business already three years, they have had “a lot of trial runs and different names but we ironed out the kinks,” Tinker says. Thursdays through Saturdays are their busiest days. They try to make all deliveries on the day the order is placed and service the Hamptons from Montauk to Quogue. “We have certain farm stands that we especially like because their product is so good,” says Tinker. “The vendors are all easy to work with, accommodating and supportive. It broadens their outreach as well.”
Their stock includes fresh eggs, home-made ice cream from Bay Burger, Paul’s Caesar Dressing, Halsey Pickles, cheeses from Mecox Bay Dairy, and tea from Plain T, in addition to local corn, flowers, pies and accoutrements. “The apple cider donuts from Milk Pail are really good,” adds
The women have divided the labor. Tinker maintains the website, keeping it up-to-date. Badard meets with the vendors and handles social media. They both share the shopping and delivery chores. They have had a 50% increase from year to year. And are still growing.
“Expanding the business is the million dollar question…We have a vehicle that cruises around and the driver gets stopped and asked for information all the time. It would be great if the business doubled, but I am not sure I want to do that for the next ten years.” Tinker thinks about it and nods her head. “But it would be great if more people ate the fresh produce and they could appreciate what they have been missing out on. It would be fabulous.”
Tinker is quick to point out that Farm to Front Door is not a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Customers choose their items and order online. The company delivers for a small fee. They also send out a newsletter once a month with updates on new products and services. Although there has been much interest in having the service extend to New York City, they are not there yet. Tinker says there are a plethora of farmers markets already functioning, but doesn’t dismiss the idea entirely.
Right now their season parallels the Hamptons season, with their last delivery featuring Thanksgiving treats, including turkeys from North Sea Farms in Southampton and decorative gourds for the table. “Ultimately, we would like it to be all year, except for the fruit and vegetables.”