July 24, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Go Green: Fresh Fork Market

By Kristen Nowak Winn

Accent Editor

Trevor Clatterbuck worked so hard to launch Fresh Fork Market that he missed his own graduation from Case Western Reserve University.

That was four months ago. The supply chain solution, which delivers local agricultural products directly from the farm to the restaurant, successfully launched June 10 and now works with about 35 restaurants in the Cleveland area. Soon, the company plans to reach the Medina area.

The project seems to be the perfect combination of environmental and economic principles.

“I know I’m helping people eat local products,” Clatterbuck said. “It also just made good business sense.”

The idea for Fresh Fork Market began in August 2007 at the Cleveland Entrepreneurship Immersion Week, Business Concept Competition. At this event, Clatterbuck, Matt Szugye, Kyle Napierkowski, Bob Gavlak and Aaron Shaffer developed a business model and won the competition. Ben Meck has since joined the team.

“We know we have to work hard, but we definitely enjoy being around each other,” Clatterbuck said of the group.

So how exactly does Fresh Fork Market work?

First, the farmer grows the food, sets his or her own price and then lists the products available on www.freshforkmarket.com. The restaurant owner or chef can then see that database, select the items he or she wants, and make a purchase from any number of farmers. Fresh Fork Market then delivers the local foods to the restaurant within 24 hours of harvest and never travels more than 75 miles. The company never keeps an inventory, so produce is always fresh.

It sounds simple enough, but getting people to adapt can be a challenge.

“No one says they don’t like the idea of going local,” Clatterbuck said. “The hardest part is getting people to change their behavior.”

Primarily, that means restaurants will need to remember that buying local foods is as simple as a few clicks online. But the other share of the responsibility falls on another party.

“I need the consumers to demand it,” Clatterbuck said.
So what are you waiting for?

Winn may be reached at 330-721-4053 or kwinn@ohio.net.