Modern Milkman (with a Side of Fruits and Veggies)

Modern Milkman (with a Side of Fruits and Veggies)
While the days of the milkman are long gone, one local entrepreneur updates that old trend by delivering fresh, local and chemical-free food to the doorsteps of hundreds of Tri-Staters.

When Isaac Foust moved from the Denver Rockies to the Cincinnati "seven hills" three and a half years ago, his dream was to build bridges — bridges connecting the "American Gothic" to the American consumer, doorstep delivery to digital technology and Cincinnati — perpetually 20 years behind the times as only Mark Twain could quip — to one of the hottest trends in farming and food taking root in urban cityscapes all over the country.


Foust erected those bridges through Nature's Garden Delivered, an online farmers' market that's been bringing fresh and local organic fare to the homes of hundreds of customers all over the Tri-State area.


Similar organic delivery services have been providing locavoracious foodies and chemical-conscious parents their groceries for years in cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and Denver, Foust says. He was surprised that Cincinnati — located in the heart of the fertile Ohio River Valley where local, farm-fresh produce so naturally abounds — lacked such a business. Cincinnati, as Foust so fittingly puts it, "is completely ripe for this sort of thing."


 Foust and his wife, Annalise Apple, started the business in May 2009 with cold calls to local farmers and boxes in their garage. Specializing in all organic and mostly local produce and gourmet 061410VALLEYVIEW.GIFgoodies, they run the business full-time out of a virtually waste-free warehouse in Liberty Township, Ohio.


"Really it was the interest in building bridges — connecting the past or what used to be with local farmers and now today with people and their busy lives and not being able to get to it," Foust says. "Everyone settles for Kroger's even though they'd rather buy from local people."


From Louisville to Columbus, they make hundreds of pounds-worth of deliveries, crossing literal bridges, on a weekly basis to about 500 homes between midnight and sunrise four nights a week. That includes 140 ears of corn, 300 cabbages, 900 spicy peppers, 100 watermelons and 1,500 tomatoes, packaged and packed in their biodiesel-fueled vehicles as part of their effort to be as "green" as possible.


"We realize that's only going to make us more sustainable as a delivery service in the long run," says Foust, who's currently exploring straight vegetable oil as a fuel source.


NGD customers place their orders for fruit, vegetable or mixed produce packages at the Web site. After signing up for a weekly or biweekly delivery, they can customize their orders over the weekend, substituting, say, peaches for pluots or adding any number of all-natural meats; free-range eggs; fair trade coffee; and, locally-supplied homemade breads, cheeses and sauces that NGD also carries (often exclusively).



The produce items change weekly, according to the season and the farmers' bounty. Foust says his prices, which range from $22 to $55, depending on the size and contents of the box, are comparable to store-bought organic produce.


"You would find that it was sometimes within a few dollars cheaper, sometimes within a few dollars more expensive," Foust says. "I can guarantee if you order one of my large boxes, you'll get way more than you would ever get at Whole Foods for that price. It's $55 and the box weighs almost 40 pounds."


Don't be surprised if you find a wiggly intruder in your box, though, Foust warns. Pesticide-free food naturally equals some pests. It also means his fruits and veggies will look more vine-ripened and soil-grown and less picture-perfect, "magazine quality," he says. But that's a good sign.


"If you get an organic apple that maybe is a little smaller or kind of gnarly shaped, and you eat it, the flavor is potent," Foust says. "It's there. It's ripe. It hasn't been picked green and ripened with a gas. It's been ripened on a tree and tastes like it."


To sign-up for NGD's services or to learn more about the company, visit


Photographer: Brenna Sullivan
Models: Annalise Apple, Isaac Foust
Location: Nature's Garden Delivered

Deanna Pan -

Deanna Pan is Cincy Chic’s multimedia editorial intern. Send her an email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .Read More >>

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