Ever since last year, John and Judy Cari haven't sat still since we visited them at their downtown Manhattan facility. Even more so, ALLWELL greens has moved into a bigger facility in Queens which is at about 30% capacity. Once things have settled down, the co-founders are aiming to have the facility up to 100% capacity in the next 12 months. "We're increasing yields weekly as the demand is growing."
As their customer base is established in New York City, Queens was a rather logical decision for Allwell to move into the larger facility. Coming from 50m2 growing space to a 500m2 farm, Judy and John have big plans to fulfill yet. Strategically located next to the highway that leads anyone into the Big Apple, they're just 7 to 15 minutes away from delivery to retail customers.
John and Judy Cari in the new facility
Currently, Allwell supplies a range of Asian greens to its customers, such as Shanghai Bok Choi, White Bok Choi, Yu Choi, Gai Lan, Red Amaranth, Thai Basil, and Shiso. Judy has been planning this move into herbs for some time and says it's long overdue.
Organic storytelling leads to demand
Liza deGuia, a filmmaker, documentarian, and host of Food Curated, featured Allwell in Season 6 this year, showcasing their story to the world. Allwell aims to stand out as the best heritage Asian greens on the market, offering fresh, clean, and long-lasting products that satisfy consumers.
According to Judy, the company also receives a lot of organic storytelling from chefs and consumers, which is a pleasant way for them to bring their products to market. Not only do the adults post about their meals, but so do the teens! It's very rewarding to us to encourage the younger generation to eat more greens.
We see a lot of organic storytelling happening from chefs and consumers, and it's a very effective way for us to promote our products," Judy shares.
Direct to consumer?
Judy suggests that it is more logical to supply to retailers, wholesalers, and distributors instead of selling directly to consumers. Direct-to-consumer (D2C) is a different approach altogether. When selling to wholesalers, grocery stores, and online retailers, distribution, and logistics are already in place. Moreover, these buyers have their volume set for each season, which makes planning and growth much more manageable. In contrast, volumes in D2C are unstable, making it harder to predict the right demand. Given John and Judy's extensive background in wholesale, supplying to retailers felt like a natural option.
Judy explains that working with retailers willing to try new products is rather special. "It's fantastic to have retailers working with us, and that's how we leverage our relationships from our wholesale days."