From Farms to Urban Markets
The routes that Myers Produce's trucks take from Vermont and Western Massachusetts to New York City and Boston are direct, but Annie Myer's path to creating her own company was less so. After graduating high school in 2004, Myers took a gap year and worked on a farm in Umbria, Italy for three months. She set out with the intention to continue mastering the Italian language she had learned while living in Viterbo with SYA. Myers sees her time at SYA as the source of both her interests and instincts. Once living on the farm, she found the family she lived with politically engaged and hard-working, presenting her with a lifestyle of self-sufficiency she yearned to emulate.
Myers spent the rest of her gap year working in New York and teaching English in El Salvador. Her time in El Salvador coincided with the passing of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. There she learned about the growing national concern over the new U.S. trade policy and how it could affect the country's local farmers and their ability to make a living while farming.
With the growing interest in the Eating Local Movement in the U.S., Myers grew more interested in farmers in the Northeast. While in school at NYU, Myers worked with several businesses and organizations that sought to make locally-produced food more accessible to the urban population of New York City. And in her studies, Myers focused on the concepts of food security, strong local economies and the evolution of food distribution.
When she graduated, Myers worked as the "forager" at New York City restaurants The Spotted Pig and The Breslin, finding and purchasing the ingredients that the chefs needed from local farms. The work was "gratifying, but also difficult and inefficient." Following this role, Myers left New York to work for one of the farmers in Pennsylvania who regularly supplied these restaurants, before moving north to work fulltime at a farm in Craftsbury, Vermont.
While there Myers became part of a community abundant with small vegetable farms yet lacking a substantial enough population to purchase much of the food produced. Frustrated by the disconnect between supply and demand, she launched Myers Produce in 2013, buying vegetables from small, mostly organic farms in Vermont and Western Massachusetts and selling to wholesale customers in two urban markets, New York City and Boston. Myers Produce solves the problem of slow sales and growth for small farms by picking up directly from farms and delivering to these two cities twice a week, year-round. Since 2013, the company has grown to a team of five.
It was that first fateful stay on a farm in Umbria, hoping to gain a deeper mastery of the Italian language and way of life that she had experienced while at SYA that kick-started her interest in food. One of Myers' favorite memories of SYA was "the time spent with my host family picnicking after harvesting chestnuts in the fall," and she often finds herself reflecting fondly on her time in Italy, reliving the joy and beauty of the food and farming cultures she is now so deeply rooted in.
Learn more about Myers Produce at myersproduce.com.