An apple a day...
New Produce Truck startup carts fresh fruits and veggies to Dallas neighborhoods
When three Dallas friends saw a need to get their families more fresh fruits and vegetables during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, they took matters into their own hands. A few months later, their efforts have culminated in The Produce Truck, a company that boxes fresh, restaurant-quality produce and sells it out of a truck.
Amy and Wade Havins and Jack Sheneman — whose day jobs are digital influencing, oil and gas, and software — are the innovators behind the startup. Despite not having backgrounds in food or farming, they share the passion to feed families high-quality, nourishing produce regardless of the circumstances.
"Our goal is simple, and that is to bring reasonable prices, convenience, and quality together in the produce grocery shopping space," Wade Havins says.
A standard $65 box contains a bounty of staples including apples, blueberries, lemons, limes, lettuce, onions, peppers, a dozen cage-free eggs, and more. Exciting extras have included rice, tortillas, and even sweet potatoes. Customers have the option to add a loaf of freshly baked bread from La Francaise Bakery for $7.50, or buy a berry box for $20. Each week's full lineup is posted here.
"We meet to find what we can offer that is both in season and popular with our customers," Sheneman says. "We also like to try new items to see if the response is there. Like most direct-to-consumer businesses, our number one priority is customer satisfaction."
Boxes can be purchased on-site at The Produce Truck's two current pop-up locations: at José on Lovers (4931 W. Lovers Ln.) and TCBY in Lakewood (6402 E Mockingbird Ln.) Customers simply pull up, place their order, and masked staff places the box in the car. Payment can be made without leaving the car.
Due to consumer demand, boxes now can be reserved through the company's website, as well.
It wasn't that long ago that Wade and Amy Havins were the ones sitting in their cars, waiting for a produce delivery. That is how the idea for The Produce Truck was born.
"The idea came to us when Amy and I sat in the [local wholesaler] Chef's Produce line at José during shelter in place," Wade Havins says. "We chatted with the owner, Richard Torres, and he gave us the green light to share our idea with Jack."
In fact, the Dallas restaurateur liked the idea so much, he jumped on board as a partner in the startup.
"The lack of attention to detail by third party delivery sites also was a huge catalyst in starting this company," Havins says. "We believe that every consumer deserves to receive the quality goods that they are paying for."
Chef's Produce — which has supplied the regional restaurant industry with produce for years — now supplies The Produce Truck with its fresh fruits and vegetables. Meaning customers get the same quality food that chefs use to craft their cuisine.
Always looking for ways to help the community, the team supported Austin Street Center when it launched this summer.
They hope customers will help guide The Produce Truck in directions where it can best meet community needs, as well.
"We expect to see a lot of growth through the fall as people come back to Dallas from vacations and try to get back in to a routine," Wade Havins says.
The Produce Truck's dates and times are subject to change based on consumer input. Their next pickups are August 29 and September 5 at TCBY; and August 31 at José on Lovers. Reserve boxes here or pick up on while supplies last, from 8:30 am-11:30 pm.
And the team welcomes feedback and suggestions from first-time or repeat customers.
"While we are currently focusing our efforts on our first two locations," Sheneman says, "we have every intention of expanding should we get feedback from our customers that this is something that they would be interested in."