Harvie Takes Farm-Shares to the Next Level, By Bringing Local Produce and Products Directly to Your Doorstep
by Michael Machosky
April 21, 2022
Harvie. Sounds like a dependable dude, who can open a pickle jar and point you to where the best place to find ramps or morels in the forest.
It’s not that, though…not quite. Harvie is a striking new concept in grocery shopping, where you can order fresh food from local farms and purveyors and have it delivered in a bright green, recyclable cardboard box to your doorstep.
“Harvie is a grocery membership that supports Pittsburgh-area farms and producers,” says Simon Huntley, founder and CEO of Harvie. We make it easy to discover new businesses, shop sustainably, and connect with your community.”
The concept is simple, and both make grocery shopping easier and more sustainable — a way to “Invest in Our Planet” by shopping as close to home as possible.
“We’re not a CSA and we’re not a big-box supermarket: we’re a convenient, Pittsburgh-focused delivery service that makes it easy to support your local food economy,” says Huntley. “We sell everything from produce to dry goods to spices to frozen prepared foods. We specialize in finding the best version of everything you need from the grocery store.”
Huntley came up with the idea as a way to help the farmers he knows personally.
“I grew up on a farm in Greene County, about 70 miles south of Pittsburgh, but I was always more interested in computers and technology than farming,” he says.
“It has always been my dream to connect small producers and consumers because it is very difficult for smaller producers to find a market. In college, I became more interested in agriculture and the good that it can do for our environment and our communities. So, for the last 15 years, I've worked at the intersection of food, agriculture, and technology to try to figure out how to increase the amount of food that people eat from small and local producers.”
It’s not about trucking in massive quantities of fruit from California or Chile as fast as possible. Rather, it’s about making connections locally.
“We purchase as close to home as possible,” says Huntley. “Whether it’s sourcing the best Pennsylvania cheese and finding top-quality, heritage, pasture-raised meats, to working with large co-ops like Equal Exchange to find the best avocados from fair-trade farms in Mexico, we’re sure to find the most delicious, sustainable, and best-quality ingredients available.”
Some of its biggest fans seem to be local food producers, who love to have a new, convenient way for their food to reach customers.
“Harvie does the coolest thing ever,” says Anthony Ambeliotis from Mediterra Bakehouse. “I’m so proud to be a part of Harvie because I think our values align very tightly. Every week, people post on Instagram, like ‘I made this toast or this sandwich from the bread from Mediterra from Harvie.’ That’s fulfilling.”
They offer 400+ products, with a focus on quality instead of volume, delivered with waste-free packaging. (They’ll even pick up their own boxes on their next delivery to reuse them). You only order what you need — so you won’t be stuck figuring out what to do with an unexpected box full of bok choy (unless that’s what you ordered).
Local favorites include renowned chef Justin Severino’s charcuterie Salty Pork Bits in Lawrenceville, and greenery from Fifth Season’s robot-assisted indoor greenhouse in Braddock.
The fast-growing Harvie is based in Lawrenceville and currently employs 45 people.
“Harvie has played a huge role in Ocho Salsa being able to move forward and grow our business,” says Heather Knepper of Ocho Salsa. “It’s also a fantastic way to support other local farmers and producers which is a win/ win for all of us and the surrounding Pittsburgh community.”
“For now, we want to be the best way to buy groceries in Pittsburgh, and we want to be changing the local food economy here for the better,” says Huntley. “That means more farms like Mighty Small Farm building their businesses with our members, and more people seeing local producers as the default option instead of as a special treat. Five years from now we hope to be expanding past Pittsburgh to help build more resilient and sustainable local food economies nearby.”