Since 2008, St. Louis Produce has been supplying restaurants in St. Louis with the freshest produce possible. But when many restaurants chose to close their doors temporarily due to COVID-19, things came to an abrupt halt.
“My restaurant business is hardly nothing right now,” owner Josh Blassingame says. “It’s about 20 percent of what it normally is.”
But thanks to a produce box Blassingame introduced in 2015, St. Louis Produce is still finding a way to get its fruits, vegetables and other items to local diners.
“We started doing them in 2015, but my grandfather was never keen on the boxes or home delivery because it seemed like it was too small of a quantity to be out there delivering in the area,” Blassingame says. “We would get a few boxes here or there, but it was probably more costly than anything.”
Now, though, Blassingame says the service has saved the family business.
“We are selling an average of about 150 boxes a day, so it’s really gotten out there,” he says. “Not only did it save my company, but I’ve employed 11 people that were all laid off from their jobs that were waiting tables to help us keep up with the volume. So it’s actually done really good, and it’s helping a lot of other people in the community, too.”
St. Louis Produce receives produce from all over the world – from Peru to Mexico and Arizona and California.
“Wherever it’s being gown this time of year,” Blassingame says. “Everything comes in fresh, farmer-picked, straight to us. We get shipments in twice a week, so we keep everything as fresh as we can.”
Seven produce boxes are currently available on the company’s website for $30 each: a fruit box that contains an array of different apple varietals, kiwi, grapes, strawberries and bananas; a classic veggie box that has cauliflower, broccoli, celery, peppers and potatoes; and the best-seller, a mixed box of fruit and vegetables. The remaining four boxes are themed – think salad, soup and smoothie boxes.
“People can even make changes in their box,” Blassingame says. “There is a comment section when you are checking out. In that comment section you can say, ‘I’d like to substitute x, y and z with something else.’ As long as the price is comparable, we figure it out.”
St. Louis Produce offers produce delivery five days a week – Monday through Wednesday, as well as Friday and Saturday – between 7am and 2pm.
“Thursday and Sunday is, on the wholesale side, dead days, but now we are using those days to clean and disinfect our building from head to toe,” Blassingame says.
Orders can be made online at stlouisproducedelivery.com for next-day delivery, assuming they aren’t already at order capacity. Deliveries are dropped right on the porch.
“We are learning as we go,” Blassingame says. “It has been an adventure.”
St. Louis Produce, stlouisproducedelivery.com