A fresh, green veggie affair

Farm produce

Every morning around 5 am, Purnima Rao and her team set out for the Gurgaon wholesale vegetable market, and sometimes the Azadpur mandi, to procure fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits for residents of the Millennium City. “These days, it is very difficult to park your car and buy fruits/vegetables from the roadside hawker in
Gurgaon. People have the right to eat reasonable priced healthy and fresh vegetables and fruits. We thought everyone wants to eat but nobody wants to grow, so let’s do things differently,” she says, explaining the idea behind her venture, fresh2all.

Started in July, the initiative was born after Rao was looking at returning to work after her younger daughter got admitted to play school. “I used to discuss about initiatives around starting a business of my own with my friends and family. After reading about some online businesses, one day I ordered vegetables from one such company and found that the quality of the products was not good at all. I also noticed that the local stores in the vicinity sell vegetables and fruits at very high rates,” she tells Metrolife.

It was then that Rao decided to help address the problems faced by farmers while also making fresh produce available for city dwellers. “Our family has a very strong emotional connect with our village, which is hardly an hour away from Gurgaon. We have some agricultural land in Haryana and Rajasthan, where we had been growing wheat and mustard as the main crop since years. I came to know that as land owners we hardly get Rs 1,000 per acre per month from the land, and the farmer also does not make enough money to even pay his monthly milk bill. Looking atthis, and after contemplating on many other businesses, I connected the dots and finally decided to start fresh2all,” she says.
Users can place orders through their website, WhatsApp, landline or the recently-launched app. Once placed, the packaging guy picks the products from their warehouse and packs them while ensuring personal preferences (if any). After each product is packed, it is handed over to the delivery boy who takes it to the customer.

“Currently, we are only taking cash on delivery. And if any customer has a comment, he can write it on the printed bill. Customer sometimes return a product if it’s not as per their expectations, or if they don’t have enough cash and wants us to collect money from them next time,” she says.

She adds that while they buy fresh products every morning, some (like apples, potatoes, onion, garlic) are bought every two to three days, as these have longer shelf life.

“The products that have a life of one to two days are kept in refrigerators, and in case they are left over, they are evaluated the following day and included in delivery only if found to be fresh. Fortunately, we have a warehouse and every evening we sell left over products (not fit for delivery), at discounted rates and sometimes even give them for free to some poor people,” she adds. With no minimum order limit, the venture delivers within two hours. While their delivery time is from 9 am to pm, orders received before 6.30 pm are delivered on the same day.

‘We started with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and recently added rice, pulses and spices. Pulses and spices that we have added are branded, zero pesticide products that we are sourcing from another company. We are currently delivering in new Gurgaon (sectors 24 to 71). Our focus is to reach 10,000 families within this area before we think of expanding,” she says.

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