Home COVID-19 Harvest Drop: Farm-Fresh Food Delivered to Your Door

Harvest Drop: Farm-Fresh Food Delivered to Your Door

by Evelyn Ibarra
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Small businesses across America have been forced to shut down and re-adjust their business models to adapt to the unexpected disruptions of everyday operations due to the current pandemic. Many businesses have jumped to action and come up with new ways to thrive and provide services during this challenging time. Harvest Drop is one such business. Harvest Drop is a farm-fresh food distributor that made quick changes to its operations to bring new customers fresh food from local farms, even during a global pandemic. Keep reading to find out how this small business changed the game to bring farm-fresh food right to your table. 

The Story Behind Harvest Drop

Harvest Drop was founded by owner Oliver Gubenko in 2015. Oliver had previously worked in the corporate finance world, but always had dreams of owning his own business. Five years ago, he took a leap of faith, quit his job, and started Harvest Drop. 

Oliver started by going door to door to restaurants to meet chefs and see what their needs were for fresh produce for their restaurants. He began placing orders from the local farms in New Jersey and delivering straight to the restaurants {primarily in Jersey City, Hoboken, and Montclair}. Oliver told Hoboken Girl, “It was a one-man show; I was doing everything, I would place the orders, pick them up from the farms, and drop them off to customers. I was an outsider, but I took a chance on my dream.” 

When Harvest Drop first launched, it offered 14 different items to chefs, including tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, kale, and other local greens and hand-picked vegetables. The first items came from three local farms in New Jersey, and the customer base started with approximately 20 restaurants in New Jersey. Some of Harvest Drop’s first customers included Sam AM Café in Jersey City and The Madison in Hoboken.

Read more: Urban Quack: The Story Behind Jersey City Heights’ Farm

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 The Early Years

As Harvest Drop continued to grow, the business expanded its selection to include items such as eggs, microgreens, and a hand-picked variety of mushrooms. As the business grew, Oliver expanded to providing other items such as fresh poultry, meats, jams, tomato sauce, and hot sauce. When the company first started in 2015, Oliver was delivering his produce from his car, and eventually started renting vans as his company grew. About a year later in 2016, Oliver bought his first van and in August of 2016, he hired his first Harvest Drop employee. “Food is what we sell, but our business is all about the people, our team, our customers, doing something special, and harvesting the relationships we develop with our vendors and chefs. It’s really not so much about food, it’s more about the people and relationships we build,” Oliver shared. Harvest drop opened up its office in 2017 in Hightstown, New Jersey.

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What You Can Order

Harvest Drop has built and expanded its business model without ever putting any of its products on a shelf or warehouse. Along with its assortment of delicious fresh fruits and vegetables such as beets, fennel, squash blossoms, edible flowers, strawberries, blueberries and herbs, HarvestDrop has expanded its selection over the years to include Dutch country chicken, pasture-raised lamb, milk-fed veal, charcuterie, a fine cheese assortment, porchetta, beef, pork, and farm fresh items such as tomato sauce, fresh milk, bee and maple products, local coffee, hot sauce, and much more. 

What sets Harvest Drop apart is the quality and freshness of their products. “By not putting food on a shelf, so much magical stuff starts to happen,”Oliver shared.

Harvest drop has expanded its current selection to approximately 1,200 items that are sold throughout the year, all harvested and picked fresh to order and delivered within 24 hours of harvest.  Harvest Drop works with about 95 farms across NJ, NY, and PA, and 200 restaurants in New Jersey. Its farm-fresh products come from local farms like Rolling Hills, Blue Moon Acres, Valley Shepherd Creamery, and Bierig Brothers. A few local restaurants Harvest Drop works with in Jersey City include Sam AM Cafe, Latham House, Cellar 335, Van Hooked Cheese, Corto, Bread and Salt Bakery, Third and Vine, Franklin Social, Archer Bar, and Pinwheel Garden. The business also provides farm-fresh items to restaurants in Hoboken including The Madison, Alfalfa, Halifax, and Dozzino to name a few. The business has grown rapidly since opening in 2015 and now operates four delivery trucks and has eight employees on the Harvest Drop Team. 

See More: Where to Go Berry Picking Near Hudson County

Adapting to the Pandemic 

When the pandemic hit in March, Harvest Drop’s team knew it needed to adapt, adjust, and take action.  

“We wanted to give people something they needed during a difficult time and it became very important to have access to restaurant-quality produce to cook at home,” Oliver told Hoboken Girl. Harvest Drop completely changed its business structure in about a week’s time and went from wholesale to retail and started home delivery across New Jersey. 

The home delivery took off with customers crashing the site on launch day to order local and fresh products to their homes. Customers can order on Sundays by 6:00PM for Tuesday delivery, or on Wednesdays by 6:00PM for Friday delivery. This means that each order is custom, and produce is picked up the day before delivery {this includes all meat butchered to order} and delivered straight to your door without ever being stored in a warehouse or on a shelf. Harvest Drop’s business model allows for the freshest, most delicious and long-lasting items brought straight from the farm to your table. 

Earlier this month, Harvest Drop also launched the Harvest DropBox, which is a monthly subscription that brings the best items from each season right into your kitchen once a month. Each box includes local greens, fresh fruits, hand-harvested vegetables, pastured meats, cave-aged cheeses, local jams, honey, and other specialty items that are currently in season.

Have you tried Harvest Drop? Let us know in the comments below!


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