The farm-to-table movement has come a long way in the past decade. Sometime in 2013, a chef told me guests would order the grass-fed beef burger “without the grass.”
With that behind us, chefs have long sought local farmers and producers. One-stop shopping was nonexistent, though, and allocating all the produce was time-consuming.
Jeff and Lee Bednar, owners of Profound Foods, recognized this quagmire and addressed it. In 2018, they created a streamlined online ordering system that acted as an aggregator of local foods.
By the end of 2019, Profound Foods was delivering local products to more than 130 local restaurants. But after the rug was pulled out from the restaurant business because of COVID-19, Jeff had to quickly rework their business model.
“It was not so much of a ‘hold my beer and watch this,’ it was more like ‘Hey, we are going to put all our goals from before last week on hold and launch a new business to a brand new market,'” Bendar explained in a Facebook post.
Explaining things is a big thing to Bednar. He’ll explain it all. He’s an open book. He goes deep into business plans, their next steps and so on through detailed posts and videos. That's because his ultimate goal is to create a sustainable food hub and share what's he's learned with others, not figure it out and keep it a secret. There's no growth in that.
His next step after his clients shuttered was finding a new home for all the produce, meat and other products that he had been delivering to restaurants.
So, they opened their online ordering for everyone, switching to a retail outlet of sorts. Anyone can shop on his site, and the goods will either be delivered to your address (if within range) or available for curbside pick up at Community Beer Co. on designated days.
“One of the things that is really amazing is the number of people that have registered and signed up to get an account to buy from us,” Bednar says. They’ve had more than 400 customers so far, and more than 80% have been repeat customers.
Noting the recent rise in popularity of meal kits, Bednar has added another facet to his operation, Profound Kitchen. Last week he welcomed chef Nick Walker to his team, who previously worked at Virgin Hotels and the Joule Hotel. They will essentially use the seasonal foods the farmers need to move and create a meal kit, along with instructions on how to pull it all together, courtesy of Walker. Those should kick in in a couple of weeks.
Ordering online is easy. Just create an account, then shop. There’s Dude, Sweet Chocolate, dairy products from Mill-King Market and Creamery, cheese from Lost Ruby Ranch, duck eggs from ETX Aquaponics, edible flowers, greens, microgreens, honey and highly addictive, chewy, ginger-rosemary cookies from Frankly Good.
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All the beef is grass-finished and supplied by Texas Craft Wagyu and A Bar N Ranch. There's also pork and, depending on the day, you can find freshly baked, local bread.
There's a $35 minimum order and an $8 “service fee” attached to the pick-up at Community Beer. But, hold my beer, you get a free six-pack of beer! This is sort of a thank-you-you're-welcome arrangement with Community for sharing their parking lot.
Bednar says restaurants are slowly starting to come back to life and his orders are picking up there again, but he's sticking to the retail component. It's allowed him to bring more producers into the realm of things.
To find out more about pickup dates and delivery, visit their website.