Friends & Farms

Philip Gottwals and Tim Hosking, Co-Founders

Philip Gottwals: I am Phil Gottwals, one of the co-founders of Friends & Farms, and I come to the business through an agricultural consulting background.

Tim Hosking: Hi, I am Tim Hosking. I am one of the co-founders of Friends & Farms. Prior to this, I was doing finance and strategy for Foods & Farms in Upstate New York.

Philip Gottwals: We met on a project in New York State, Upstate New York, working specifically with startup businesses in the farm and food sectors. So, it was largely focused around the farm to table concept. My background in food for the few years leading up to coming down here to start this business was New York City, which has terrific farmers markets, absolutely great, and a number of the farms that serve those markets I have actively consulted to. So, I know their business model, I know what they are doing. And, I also know that they are just frightfully expensive. And, so, for people that have a lot of money, the options for them to eat well are pretty wide and broad in New York City. You have to go to the farmers market to get it. It works out pretty well. But, for people that do not have that level of income, the opportunity is not there. And, I think our view was it can be done efficiently by choosing good producers and having a model that’s based on efficient logistics. And, that is essentially what the model was designed to do, and we have been able to do it. I think the strength in the partnership with us is really the fact that we do come from very different backgrounds, and our skills are complementary, but we share the same vision, and we have the some moral and ethical fabric.

Tim Hosking: That is right.

Philip Gottwals: And, that makes a huge difference. We have a core group of five to seven farms that we work with just about every week year round. And, they are the basis of our operation. Our primary goal is to change the food system and to shorten the time from the farm to the consumer having it in their hands. We do not use a distribution center. Whatever our customers are going to get comes, you know, week of; by the end of the week, all of our inventory is gone, it is out to our customers. We aggregate from local and regional farms, and we put together every week for our customers essentially their weekly groceries. We do a blue bag, which has proteins and dairies, and we do two green bags, which has eight or nine produce items. It is easiest to understand what we do if you look at our dairy and if you look at our protein. So, on the dairy side, we work with one creamery up in, it is Trickling Springs up in Chambersburg, and we buy all our dairy from them. They make two deliveries a week. Great producer, superb quality milk. It is not ultra pasteurized, so it tastes terrific. We get all of our beef and pork from one processor in Pennsylvania. Again, we know how they raise the animals, we know how they are processed. He processes all of them. And, it is disruptive in the sense that it is not factory farming, it is not massive scale processing of animals, and all of those things result in a better product for our customers. We thought there was demand for it that just was not being met. People really wanted to eat better, they wanted fresher options, and, for much of the population, they could not afford what was out there that met that need. And, we knew we could do it. We knew we had the supply chain to fulfill it. It was really a matter of being able to develop the package, develop the product, and get a few early adopters who were willing to spread the word. And, we can do all of that at a price point that traditional food retailers simply cannot match. We are efficient, fresh, just in time product that is of a quality that you rarely find available in a grocery store.

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