Nashville farm-to-door app helps local vendors ride out pandemic

Posted at 10:29 PM, Nov 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 17:47:23-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Hot Poppy, a farm-to-door app, launched during the pandemic in Nashville to help more customers and vendors connect for food and home goods without going to farmers' markets.

"When the pandemic hit, we were kind of running around doing this for ourselves," explained Hot Poppy Co-Founder and Head of Growth Suart Landis. "We were trying to find places to get fresh produce, making the calls to Porter Road to get, you know, high-quality meat from the shop and stuff and we're just frustrated waiting around for Bezos of Amazon to deliver our goods."

Landis and others pitching the Hot Poppy app started asking Nashville farmers' market vendors if they would be interested in supplying produce, dairy, spices, meat and other food and home goods to them to sell and deliver to Nashvillians' doorsteps.

"Either they had the idea, but they just didn't have the bandwidth. Or they're like, ‘Oh, man, that's an incredible idea,’ explained Landis.

The 'Hot Poppy' app includes produce, dairy, eggs, meat, coffee, tea, juice, bakery items, desserts, pantry items, pasta, flour, spices, oils, cocktails, vegan choices, personal care items and home items.

The team assembled and the app launched in 2020. But since then, the need has grown especially during the height of the coronavirus pandemic when some were not comfortable attending farmers' markets in person. Starting Friday, Hot Poppy is expanding their delivery service to serve up to 50 miles outside downtown Nashville.

"We have 65 local vendors from the area. You know, that's dairy produce, beef, vegan options. The vegan selections are a really big part," Landis said.

"You could subscribe to like a produce bundle, some farm eggs, you know, different items that are more staples, and then you do your add-ons for that week," explained Landis. "But, you can pause, edit, cancel at any time. If you're going out of town for the holidays, you can pause that week's subscription if you're like, ‘I don't need more eggs this week.’ You can replace it with something else. It's really flexible. There's, you know, 40 plus items so you can subscribe to."

He said there are also local beer, wine and other alcohol options as well as sourdough coming soon, too.

The 'Hot Poppy' team formed during the pandemic when they realized they did not have easy access to the local products they wanted.

"I actually was raised on a beef farm in Montana. So, I grew up with you know, high-quality meat I took for granted. But, we're out visiting these farms. We're looking at what they're going to have seasonally, meeting with the vendors quite a bit but the vendors themselves have been really helpful," explained Landis.

One of the app's vendors, Cocorico Cuisine Owner Elodie Habert said her french bakery company was a "quick match" with Hot Poppy after she relocated from France to Nashville in 2016.

"A lot of people moved online and bought their stuff online during COVID. And so Hot Poppy, I think, came at the right time because they were able to offer this service to local customers, you know, around the Nashville area," she explained.

She also said sales through Hot Poppy have proved to be a significant portion of her business's revenue.

Elodie Habert moved to Nashville from France and opened her own French food business, Cocorico Cuisine, and said 'Hot Poppy' has become a large source of her company's revenue.

"Definitely counting on like weekly orders and also having partners you can talk to when you want to just launch a new product, you know, that can be like a test platform to to do that," said Habert. "It's been a great addition to our business model, I would say. Yeah, we would be sad to not have them in town, for sure."

Customers can find Habert's quiches, breads, soups and other baked items on the Hot Poppy app.

"It's a great opportunity to really meet clients we couldn’t meet any other way because not every Nashvillian is going to farmers' markets and this is kind of our main sales channel," explained Habert. "So having like the opportunity to also reach those people who want like farmer's market products but don't have the time or don't, you know, are not excited about going to markets is such a great opportunity for a company like ours."

'Hot Poppy' delivers to doorsteps up to 50 miles outside of downtown Nashville on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Landis said the goal is for the community to connect with local vendors and hopefully get to know them and where their food is coming from.

"One of our vendors, William, from Smokin' Oaks, he's comes from both the farm side and then he's worked on the supply chain for larger, you know, groceries and stuff," Landis explained. "We really are just connecting with people in the community that we know, know the producers, they know the people themselves and, you know, they're willing to back them."

For those wondering if they will have to pay top dollar for Hot Poppy's service, Landis said they purchase the goods at wholesale cost from the vendors so Hot Poppy customers pay the same price for the goods as they would at the market and "once you put together $25 order, the delivery is free. Now, there is driver tips that help, you know, our awesome drivers."

The 'Hot Poppy' app is free to download and once you spend $25, your delivery fee is waved.

"We view ourselves like, you know, just a middle spot in the river to connect you directly with those vendors," said Landis. "When you support our vendors, you're supporting that they have the ability to decide how they live their life, what they produce, and you as a consumer and you support local, you are putting your vote in for how you eat. Your ability to choose what you eat. As we get our sources from more and more of this same spot, you're eliminating the ability to choose on both sides. So, I think it's really about just, you know, individual creativity, individual business, people living their lives in their value how they choose."

To read more about Hot Poppy and to download their app, click here.

'Hot Poppy' farm-to-door app launched during the pandemic in Nashville to help more customers and vendors connect without going to farmers' markets.