Ripe Now ... Virtual Fruit Stand

June 15, 2009 8:21:25 PM PDT
Local farmers have found the internet can serve as a kind of new-age fruit stand. A Fresno business is now delivering freshly-picked fruit to local businesses and homes.                                     |   www.ripenowonline.com   |

Fresh organic peaches from the Olson Family Farm in Kingsburg are being sorted, packed and ready to be shipped around the country.

Some fruit will make its way into stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods but some peaches will be delivered directly to Valley homes and businesses.

Richard Olson is one of the local farmers who has signed on with "Ripe Now," a new company which promises next day delivery of locally-grown fruit.

Jeremy Lane said, "This fruit here that we're trying to use is fruit that's not meant to withstand the rigors of commercial distribution. This fruit can only be enjoyed here."

Customers who can't make it to a fruit stand or a Farmer's Market can go on-line to the Ripe Now website, see what's in season and put in an order. A typical box of fruit costs $29.95 to be delivered. Dick Peterson is another organic peach grower who sells some of his fruit on the website.

Dick Peterson said, "We're kind of semi-retired so marketing is whole another job."

Peterson grows 30 acres of peaches and pluots in Kingsburg. His fruit is shipped around the country but he likes the idea of his fruit being delivered directly to someone's doorstep by "Ripe Now."

"We didn't have to worry that our fruit was sitting in cold storage for 3-4 weeks before it's getting sold or maybe never sold because it would come in and in a few days would be going to the markets. It relieves a lot of stress," said Peterson.

Peterson doesn't have time for the internet but loves the fact people are buying local.

"Ripe Now is not taking ownership of this fruit per se. We want to expose where the fruit came from, who grew it, how they grew it. Give a brief bio on it," said Lane.

"Ripe Now" delivers peaches, plums, nectarines, pluots and apricots but plans to add fruits like grapes and oranges when they come into season.

Deliveries can only be made north to Madera and south to Kingsburg.

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