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Oakes Farms launches seeds-to-table direct delivery initiative

By
Keith Loria

Oakes Farms is renowned as a farmer, packer and shipper of produce that also operates popular retail markets, works in the foodservice sector and distributes seafood.

Heading into the last stretch of 2021, the company is introducing an e-commerce operation that will deliver its fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other delicious products, to consumers throughout the nation. Oakes Farms’ Seeds to Table Direct Delivery service launched Nov. 8, and delivers fresh produce, guacamole, salsa, tomato sauces and more right the customers’ doors.

“We’re going to be shipping across the country, via Fed Ex second-day air shipment, products from our farms and from our grocery stores here,” said Steve Veneziano, vice president of the Immokalee, FL-based company.

He explained that the company has been working on this new endeavor for about a year.

“We added a whole new warehouse section with new freezers, and we made about a $4 million investment in our facilities to get this launched,” Veneziano said.

Oakes Farms is spreading the word of its Seeds to Table Direct Delivery service through social media platforms and various podcasts.

“People have been calling us over the last year, especially through COVID-19, looking for direct delivery of farm-fresh, high-quality products that can be delivered direct to their homes,” Veneziano said. “The demand for that seems to be ever-growing, so we made the decision that we’re going to move forward in that direction, and we’re very excited. The feedback we’re getting is that the demand is there. People are emailing us every day begging us to get this thing started.”

Consumers who make orders through the service can be certain they will get products that reflect Oakes Farms’ commitment to selling healthy and high-quality fresh produce.

“We’ve got our same quality-control guys from the farm doing quality control for everything we’re shipping,” Veneziano said. “Even the stuff we make — like our fresh guacamole and fresh salsas. So, we’re going to have good consistency and awesome quality, unlike other companies, because we’re farming it.”

As Florida is busy with its fall season, Oakes Farms is also doing something it hasn’t been done before by starting a watermelon program.

“In the spring, we did a real large planting of watermelons and we had such a strong demand for the variety that we were growing, so we decided to grow them in the fall as well this year,” Veneziano said, adding the fall watermelon crop looks promising.

While people in the Northeast often see watermelon as a summer fruit, Veneziano noted that there are places where it’s enjoyed year-round.

“We’re trying to put out this really great quality, high-sugar product and get it across the country,” he said. “A lot of them go to the southeast and the warmer states but we’re also shipping to New Jersey, Philadelphia, Connecticut, all those areas.”

By the end of November, the company expects to be in full swing with fall items like tomatoes and peppers, and Oakes Farms is expecting the demand for these items to stay at the high levels they’ve been at over the past year and a half.

“I think there’s a lot more focus on health through the COVID-19 era,” Veneziano said. “We’re seeing a lot of demand in specialty peppers increasing, it seems folks are getting more knowledgeable about the health benefits of specialty peppers and boosting their sales. Health has become a bigger focus in the past year than it ever has.”

That has Oakes Farms positioned for a successful fall season that should lead into the holidays and beyond.

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