FruitShare Offers Fresh Organic Food Year Round

"Sometimes all people should get is a big bunch of blueberries," Everett Myers tells me. "Sometimes the blueberries are so good that everyone should just get those. Twelve pints at a time." I laugh a little bit, letting on that I might not be all that thrilled with such a shipment. "With recipes and information about how to use them, how to store them, things like that," Everett continues. His point is that when blueberries are at their peak, when they exhibit their most complete blueberry-ness, they should be consumed like crazy. Get your fill of blueberries when they're good! What are you waiting for?

As organic food pioneers go, Everett Myers, founder of FruitShare, is the real deal. He studied ecology in college, and spent two years in the Peace Corps in Ecuador, fighting the perils of pesticides. In 1993, Everett joined friends and neighbors to start Red Cardinal Farm, one of the first CSAs in Minnesota. Everett has spent his adult life connecting fresh, organic, sustainable, and local foods with the people who want them. So why is he now focused on shipping organic fruit to midwesterners year round?

The answer is less complicated than you might think. "When people have access to great, fresh fruit, they don't have to think about whether it's going to be good," Everett tells me. "When it tastes good, you're not as likely to grab a can of soda when you're hungry - you'll grab a piece of fruit."

We're on the phone, but I'm nodding my head vigorously. My family recently received an incredibly generous gift - a fruit basket from Harry and David, filled with beautiful pears and apples. But my kids noticed the difference right away. "These don't taste as good as the [organic] fruit we usually get," they said. Is it possible my kids know a local or organic apple when they eat one? Yes, of course it is.

A father himself, Everett is concerned that kids grow up eating healthy food. He understands that conventional fruit shipped across the country out of season lacks flavor, and that it's tough to get kids to eat healthy food if it doesn't taste great.

Over time, Everett has come to know many terrific organic farmers, and he knows how to make sure fruit tastes its best ("sometimes a little bit of storage sweetens the fruit). But what about the ecological implications of shipping fruit across the country?

Everett MyersEverett MyersAccording to Everett, FruitShare takes advantage of trucks that are already going where the fruit is, like California, and then transporting it to places like Minnesota, where the trucks are headed anyway. It's a line I've heard many times before ("empty trucks traveling across the country don't do us any good, it's good to fill them"), but somehow Everett is utterly convincing.

"We had a farm and purchased all the trucks and tractors and infrastructure," Everett tells me. "We used it for twenty weeks out of the year, and it sat idle the rest of the time. It's an extremely inefficient way of farming. We work closely with farmers we know to fill their trucks."

I come around to the point of view that eating only local food year-round is not always very practical. If my kids want to eat oranges in Minnesota, I will encourage them. Making sure the oranges are organic, sustainable, and shipped using the best, most eco-friendly infrastructure sounds like a great idea.

FruitShare provides fruit shares for several CSAs in the Twin Cities area, including Rock Spring Farm. You can also get their fruit directly at