Simon Huntley grew up on a farm in Greene County and later studied information science at Penn State University.
Four years ago, he combined his passion for agriculture and technology with Harvie, an online software program that connects consumers with local growers. With a few clicks of a mouse, folks can customize their farm box with a variety of produce, bread, meat, eggs and dairy products and have it delivered to their doorstep.
Since then, the Pittsburgh-based company has been running the platform across the U.S., Canada and Australia with more than 150 farms on board. Harvie, which is short for harvest, annually delivers about 500,000 farm boxes to 50,000 families. This spring, they’ll blossom in the ‘burgh.
Harvie Farms Pittsburgh is looking for 250 families to sign up for the service, which will include 26 deliveries between May 24 and Nov. 21.
“Lots of people believe it’s fresher, healthier and tastier to buy from local farms, but it’s not always convenient,” Huntley says. “We want to remove all barriers that prevent people from buying local. We want it to be as easy as ordering from Amazon.”
Customers throughout the city and nearby suburbs can choose the size of their farm box — small ($29), medium ($49) or large ($79) — set product preferences, swap out regular items to try something new and schedule a weekly, biweekly or monthly delivery to their house or office. (There’s a $6 home delivery fee but workplace drop-off is free). Deliveries are made each Tuesday afternoon. Going on vacation? You can pause your order or reschedule a delivery to fit your schedule.
In addition to fresh fruits, veggies and other goodies, Harvie Farms customers get recipes and cooking tips and can connect with farm share members all over the world.
The company is currently working with Western Pennsylvania farms including Who Cooks for You Farm, Clarion River Organics, Jubilee Hilltop Ranch, Brunton Dairy, Pasture Maid Creamery, Hidden Hills Dairy and Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy. More farmers will be joining throughout the season.
General Manager Neil Stauffer, a local farmer who spent a decade managing Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance, is overseeing the operation.
Over the next year, the staff at Harvie Farms Pittsburgh, which is based on the North Side and has a warehouse in Robinson, will work to improve their software, making it more user-friendly to help farmers retain customers and keep their growing operations viable.