Country Organics Bringing Organic to Your Front Door
By Sandie Tillery
Country OrganicsMarch 2007
By Sandie Tillery
Bob and Mandy Edmondson started their young family on a journey in June 2006 that has become the adventure of their lives. Two and a half years before, another young couple, Jim and Rachel Brown, had started a new venture to help support their interest in eating organic produce. They had worked for a farming family who ran a similar business in a different community, so when they moved to Shasta County they started their own home-delivery business taking organic produce right to their customers’ front doors.The Edmondsons were customers who learned that the Browns would be leaving the area and promptly purchased the business.
Leaving behind a teaching career, Bob decided with Mandy to make the business—Country Organics—a family affair involving their three young children. Rylie,Will and Ella help with bagging and boxing, and ride along with Bob on deliveries occasionally. As homeschoolers, this gives the children unique opportunities with Dad and Mom, learning life skills along with their academics. The Edmondsons will add baby No. 4 to their busy household in June.
Natural and organic foods crept into the family kitchen when Mandy began to search for healthy ways to feed her children. She attended nutrition talks presented by her chiropractor, Todd Royse, validating her own instincts that good food makes a difference in our health. A gradual change took place in her purchasing and cooking for six or seven years in which the family began to experience such health benefits as a decrease in allergy symptoms. Still,Mandy struggled with some personal health problems. It wasn’t until she gave up refined sugars that she began to experience a true sense of how what she ate affected her body. Now she considers herself “hardcore” about healthy eating.
The Edmondsons immediately put their own creative stamp on the business, adding Mandy’s informative “The Green Sheet” to every box. The newsletter includes descriptions and suggestions for using some of the items in that week’s box, recipes, nutrition tips and information, and announcements of upcoming events in the community that encourage healthy lifestyles. On the back, customers find the menu for the week as well as the next week’s tentative menu.
They have expanded their list of suppliers, and now include such specialty items as nuts, honey, breads and coffee. Ever on the lookout for local organic items to add to their menu, the Edmondsons make every effort to partner with local farmers and vendors, then look
further south to the Central Valley farms, and elsewhere only for tropical produce that cannot be obtained closer to home or when local produce is not in season. According to Bob, more than 50 percent of their inventory comes from local growers most of the year.
With the initial new business struggles in their past, Bob and Mandy are seeing a steady increase in their customer list. They now deliver to Redding, Red Bluff, Cottonwood, Anderson, Palo Cedro, Burney and surrounding areas. They have a waiting list of customers in Mt. Shasta, and are looking at Chico in the future.Most new customers come from referrals and from the exposure they receive at local health-related events.The Edmondsons offer incentives to their current customers: $5 credit for each new referred customer and entry into a quarterly drawing for a bed and breakfast getaway.
The majority of Country Organics customers have a weekly subscription; however, the Edmondsons enjoy working with their customers to accommodate their needs. They are improving their website, and hope to add a shopping cart feature that will allow customizing of boxes. They have six different predesigned boxes to choose from with custom options available.
Mandy continues her adventure in learning and passes on tasty morsels not only to her family, but also to her customers. She says, “I am teaching my kids that healthy eating is fun and it is important.” She says the organic difference really is in the taste.
Bob says of their journey thus far, “We are blessed with the opportunity to improve the lives of our customers by delivering fresh, flavorful and healthy organic produce to their families.”