Small Business Spotlight: Headwater Food Hub

February 13, 2019 06:28 PM

ONTARIO, N.Y. (WHEC) -- Wouldn't it be great if you could get your fruits, vegetables, meats, and other groceries from a variety of local farms and have that food delivered directly to you?

That's what a Wayne County company is doing --  all while creating a sustainable food system in upstate New York.


That company is Headwater Food Hub

It's a Tuesday morning and crews at Headwater Food Hub are busy packing up crates of local produce for delivery.

They're headed to the hundreds of members who have signed on because they want locally sourced food.   

Headwater president Chris Hartman showed News10NBC around the warehouse.

"This is just some of the stuff we have here. This is from Sweetland Farms in Trumansburg, one of our great root growers. These are the rainbow carrots that we're well known for," said Hartman.

Hartman founded Headwater Food Hub almost 10 years ago. The mission is pretty simple: to get local food to local people in the best way possible.

"It's a way for families and local individuals to connect with a wonderful, fantastic food chain that is value-oriented and really thinking about sustainability," he said.

You might call them middle-men.

They prefer "food hub" because they serve as a hub for farmers and consumers. They partner with a network of 140 area farms and food producers.

"We're spending a whole lot of time right now sitting down with farmers, doing the crop planning over the season and really opening up their view into what is the marketplace, what are the opportunities, what are the necessary specifications that we need to hit," said Hartman.

The produce, eggs, cheeses, meats and other food products are delivered here to Headwater's warehouse in the Town of Ontario. The food is then prepared, sorted, and boxed up for delivery.

"I think people definitely care about knowing where their food comes from, what's in their food and how it got there. I do think they do also care about convenience," said Ryan Pierson, who oversees their direct to consumer program which they call 'The Good Food Collective."

It's a membership style program where you go on their website and sign up for weekly deliveries, called shares.

"This is one of our weekly shares. So this is our most popular share. It is a, we call it a weekly standard share, produce for a family of three to four from our network of farms. What's in the box changes on a weekly basis," said Pierson showing us one of their shares.

This share has sweet potatoes, lettuce, radishes, apples, and kidney beans...among other items.

The cost?

"So, the weekly standard share is $28 a week. We also offer a small share which is a little bigger than half for $18 a week," Pierson said.

Members can also customize their shares. Members can then pick them up at designated pop-up markets or have them delivered to their homes or workplace.

But Headwater also supplies participating farm-to-table style restaurants like Good Luck and Lento, as well as school districts and colleges -- like the University of Rochester.

"They're one of the biggest customers and they've really made an institutional priority around supporting the local economy, supporting local foods, and having fresh, sustainable options for their students and their community," Hartman said.  

The company has seen steady growth over the decade, with about 1,200 members during the busier summer months.

"I think our goal is really strengthening the local food economy and finding all the collaborative ways that we can do that," Pierson said.

If you're interested in learning more about Headwater Food Hub, click here.

If you know of a business you'd like us to spotlight, send us an email at


Brett Davidsen

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