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Delivery service helps organic co-ops stay afloat

PHOENIX — The demand for organically grown food products is at an all-time high.

Benjamin Rummel with Nature’s Garden Delivered Arizona, believes smaller outfits can go toe to toe with the big names, but it will take a little old-school creativity and something that the bigger guys will never offer.

“We decided to get into the delivery service and drop off boxes of organic foods at the customers’ homes, even in the middle of the night, like the milkman,” he said. “We beat the desert heat and it’s very convenient for the customers.”

The co-op office is at 31st and Lewis avenues.

Rummel ships out strictly organic goods, mostly from dozens of Arizona farms.

“To compete with Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, we have to supply what the customer demands,” he said. “And that’s what we’re trying to do here. I don’t think the big names will ever put food co-ops completely out of business but I think you will see roadside farm stands start to disappear because people can’t get a living wage out of that anymore.”

Rummel said Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and even Walmart are putting the squeeze on the smaller stores trying to sell organic foods.

“There’s no way that we can ever compete with stores like that because $50,000 billboards are not in our budget,” he said. “They have very large buying power because they have many stores and a small farmer can’t meet that type of demand.”

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