For the last two weeks I have been super excited to meet my Local Pride delivery man with my paper bag of baby green, arugula, cucumbers, cilantro, and orange juice. All excellent products.
I called Ashley Krosendijk for a chat about his business.
The farm, on 500 square meters in San Barbola, will be relocated to Boroncana, soon, he says. Water is not an issue at the moment because the partners built a super-efficient system that uses about Awg 400 of water a month to grow 11.000 plants. Which is impressive.
Ashley started out as a chef, but found out he wasn’t crazy about the kitchen. He spent some time as a small scale livestock farmer, raising pigs, goats, sheep and cows, then venture into the public sector, working at Santa Rosa.
It seems to me that as far as his professional development he followed an intuitive, but very helpful path, having mastered planning at Santa Rosa, he learned a lot about sales and the hotels, working for Total Services. He then studied the behavior of our visitors as a temporary taxi driver. All this brought him back full circle to farming, first growing finicky mircogreens and later graduating to baby greens, yes, lettuce! Why? Because he originally wanted to open a salad bar, and needed a reliable source of produce, in order to serve his clients.
Today, Local Pride markets to a network of clients in Noord, Santa Cruz, San Nicolas and Oranjestad with home deliveries going out every day.
The product as I mentioned is 100% delicious.
Alas, the local lending institutions did not want to get involved with the project at the start and it took an off-shore loan to get the business off the ground.
How about taking the business to the next level? Additional investment is required and Krosendijk is looking for investors with a strong belief in the local economy.
A number of other local farms contribute to the home deliveries: Goshen, Cunucu Fresh, and Happyponics. Local Pride regularly gets products from other growers to round up his home deliveries.
What did we learn from CoVid19, I asked?
In the past, Krosendijk explains, the local market shied away from his products, they didn’t buy directly, and were not accustomed to home deliveries, so his best produce went to the hotels. Fresh quality greens were served to visitors, and locals opted to buy tired, refrigerated, container-stored produce, slightly cheaper but definitely inferior.
Now, with our new thinking about cracking down on import, saving our dollars, and feeding our immune system with better ingredients, Local Pride is enjoying a wide following in the local market. The locals saw the light, he reports, buying a good product at a fair price, from the farmer.