Courtney Tellefsen was a stay-at-home mom from Raleigh who desired to have the convenience of local, fresh produce in a more accessible fashion. As raising children is a full-time job in and of itself, traveling to and from the farmer’s markets or even the actual farms is a hefty task for anyone. Courtney decided to ask around to see if any of her friends or neighbors would be interested in a fresh produce delivery concept. She launched The Produce Box over 8 years ago, and through grassroots efforts the concept has spread from the Triangle to all over the state.
Kristin Harper and Sarah Hollis were extremely hospitable in walking me through “The Hub” AKA where all the produce and artisan products are delivered to in order to be sorted and delivered to The Produce Box members. Kristin serves as The Produce Box’s Marketing Director. She initially started as a member herself before deciding to join The Produce Box team and share the passion for local produce and giving back to the community. Kristin says, “The Produce Box partners with many local charities and donates any leftover items to churches, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Backpack Buddies. We never turn down anyone who is in need of food.”
Sarah is the Products Manager with The Produce Box and gave me an extensive look into the artisan products they offer in conjuncture with the boxes. Sarah says they “try to work with small businesses to give them exposure to a large audience of consumers. We work with these companies to give feedback with pricing, packaging and to help them get their feet on the ground to be successful in a larger market. We’re committed to helping our community thrive so they can continue to provide these quality products to us.”
The Produce Box is a delivery service that is exactly what it sounds like. Members can pick from a list of pre-chosen produce boxes or create their own from seasonal produce and artisan products. The boxes are great as they can be flexible to accommodate for a small family of 2 to a family of 4 or even certified organic and/or chemical/pesticide-free items, too. The Sprout Box is $24.00+, Harvest Box $27.00+, O’Natural Box $27.00+, Bounty Box $27.00+, Fruit Box $25+ and the Market Box price varies depending on selections made with $29.00 minimum.
From late April through November, only NC produce is included in the boxes from farmers across the state. In its inception year, 1 farmer was used. The Produce Box currently utilizes over 40 farmers and 60 artisan food businesses across North Carolina. Regional produce items are delivered November through March, which includes farmers from Florida that have been visited personally by The Produce Box leadership team to meet the same standards they have in place for their NC farmers.
Weekly menus of the produce that will be in each type of box are sent out to members on Friday morning. Members have until Sunday to select which type of box they want. Farmers pick the produce on Monday and Tuesday then ship it to The Produce Box’s hub in Raleigh where employees sort through and carefully pack the boxes. The Produce Box employs many moms and dads who serve as “Neighborhood Coordinators.” This is literally someone who lives in your neighborhood and works for The Produce Box. The Neighborhood coordinator receives the boxes and then drops them off on your designated delivery day (Wednesday, Thursday or Friday) every week that you order. The Produce Box lives by their motto of produce being “dirt to doorstep” in 72 hours.
The Produce Box is a great concept because it truly supports local farmers and businesses in an accessible, convenient format for North Carolina residents. They’ve also been generous enough to provide a one-time $5 off when you use the code “TRIFOODIES” if you place your order before May 31, 2016. With luscious spring and early summer produce coming, don’t miss out!
Note: From time to time we’re invited out to try a restaurant or to try certain products. This meal or items are usually comped, as these was. We’re under no obligation to write a positive review or any review at all when we’re invited out to try a place. Every review you see on our site will be an honest review of the place whether or not the restaurant provided us with the meal at their cost.
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke and works as a consultant in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @