Farmers gather for training

Local farmers gathered at Yorkholo Brewing Company in Mansfield for a voluntary training with Dave Nowacoski from Delivered Fresh and Penn State Extension.

MANSFIELD—Dave Nowacoski, owner of Windstone Landing Farms and Delivered Fresh, along with members of the Penn State Extension met with local farmers at Yorkholo Brewing Company, Monday, Jan. 13 for a food safety training.

“We want to do everything we can to make sure we stay ahead of the curve. None of what we are going through today is mandatory for farms our size, none of it. We want to be proactive. We want to make sure that if there is a regulation that the big box stores are abiding by, we want to be there just out of good faith,” said Nowacoski.

Preemptive steps like Monday’s training are part of what has Nowacoski’s business thriving. “I was thinking, what else can we do to promote our small farms? One of the things I want to tackle is education,” Nowacoski said. Nowacoski’s farm is bigger than some of the farms that sell products through delivered fresh. On his farm alone, he has a butcher shop and commercial kitchen that can make a wide range of foods.

“There are a lot of rules to comply with. We are USDA inspected, we are PDA inspected, but not everybody is at that level yet. We are trying to help with distribution and education so we are all able to grow our farms. That’s the goal with Delivered Fresh,” Nowacoski said.

In just two years, Delivered Fresh has grown from a two-farm online store that sold six products, to a burgeoning online market that now includes more than 450 products from 54 local farms. A major part of that growth, has been the increased presence of online shopping in today’s culture.

“Until we crossed that threshold where everyone is comfortable ordering online, this wasn’t possible. This is very possible now. Our home delivery we started 8-9 months ago and now it represents half of all our orders. They want it delivered right between their homes,” Nowacoski said.

But it is more than just the convenience of home delivery that has Delivered Fresh growing in leaps and bounds, it is what they are providing.

“Anything you need for groceries we have on there. We carry soaps, cleaning products, we carry produce bags. If it is made local then we will have it on our site. We do have a couple criteria. All our vegetables are chemical free and all our animals are pasture raised. Consumers have shown me, they want this type of product. They want transparent. They want to know where it’s coming from and they want to know it’s clean,” he said.

When customers go on the Delivered Fresh website, they see exactly where their products are coming from. Though it might cost them a little more than going to a larger retail store, customers have access to more information about where and how their food was grown.

“We are trying to help keep small farms alive,” Nowacoski said. “It’s been negative for our three counties for a long time now. But we are starting to see success stories.”