Locavorious grows business with blueberry pilot at U-M

Locavorious has been all about the fruits and veggies since its inception eight years ago. The Ann Arbor-based company made its name by providing frozen produce subscriptions much like CSA subscriptions. Now its growth is coming from a slightly different space, blueberries.

Locavorious recently wrapped up a pilot program with the University of Michigan Dinning where it supplied 7,000 pounds of locally sourced blueberries to the university. The program kept eight U-M cafeterias in fresh blueberries for weeks.

"It went great," says Rena Basch, owner & operator of Locavorious. "We're going to expand that this coming semester. The blueberries were a natural starting point."

Locavorious, which calls the Washtenaw Food Hub home, freezes produce harvested from local farms and then sells them on a subscription basis so customers can capture local food at its peak freshness. The idea is to minimize carbon footprints by keeping produce shipping from across the company to a minimum, all while keeping more money in the local economy.

Locavorious has sold about 15,000 pounds of food last year. It expect that number to go up as it aims to broaden its sales to large institutions like U-M. Basch expects to hit 10,000 pounds of blueberry sales this year. The company’s team of six people have been making this work, sometimes with the help of a group of disabled adults that helps the firm get through the busy times.

"It has been really great," Basch says. "They do things like label bags or wash dishes."

Source: Rena Basch, owner & operator of Locavorious
Writer: Jon Zemke

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