This story was created in partnership with Green Bean Delivery.
Not every set of college sweethearts is destined to become a power couple. And even fewer go on to create businesses that transform a food landscape, improve families’ meal times, and donate millions of pounds of food to those in need. Beth Blessing and Matt Ewer of Green Bean Delivery have done just that and more, with an eye toward improving the food supply chain, environment, and how people experience food.
Twenty years ago, two broke college kids spent their dates going on bike rides, taking their dogs out to Lake Monroe, and catching concerts during their free time at Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington. While this may sound like any other collegiate romance, Beth and Matt’s relationship birthed a dream, now known as Green Bean Delivery. But the home delivery service thousands of families rely on for organic produce and locally-sourced meat and home products is more than a means to get dinner on the table. Their parent company, BEAN, LLC, has its sights set on transforming the way every household sources their nutrition, prepares healthy foods, and sits down together for a meal. Before their business generated millions of dollars for local farms across the Midwest, it all started with a dream.
After graduating from IU, Beth and Matt headed west to Washington, with sights set on building careers in food and farming. Their unique combination of talents, interests, and opportunity—thanks in part to the early adoption of organic and natural food in the late 90s and newly available technology—sparked an idea for the young couple.
“I think our first jobs post-college helped us grow into socially conscious individuals and create a business that fits into that model. Matt was working at Full Circle Farm outside of Seattle, and I was working for the Washington State University King County Extension Food $ense Program. In different forms, we were helping our community to eat better by improving access to healthy food and educating our community on the benefits of eating a diet abundant in fruits and vegetables. Our lives were completely encircled with helping our community. It was our livelihood, and it just continued into the creation of Green Bean,” Beth explains.
Today, Green Bean’s goals have been coming to fruition, working to mend broken components of the nation’s food system. With a focus on addressing food insecurity issues through the intersection of technology, relationships, distribution, education, and organic farming, the Bean Team has achieved a litany of success in their 15 years of existence, and their sights are set on transforming both the health of families and the environment.
And while all of these larger ideals may seem lofty, Beth explains that the central goal of the business is actually pretty straightforward: “We have always wanted to keep Green Bean Delivery very approachable and realistic. Our goal has been to make healthy eating while supporting your local farmer and artisan as convenient as possible. Our members are busy people, and if our service is complicated or doesn’t help them save time in the kitchen, then they are likely to stop using our service,” she says.
Their hard work is paying off, and their sales and social media following only continues to grow. The social media clout the company has garnered is partially thanks to Beth’s curation of simple and approachable recipes. Filled with mouth-watering meals, artisan profiles, and support for busy families, their over 66,000 total social followers know that they can count on Green Bean when it comes to mealtime. “My goal is to help families prepare meals that they will enjoy together as a unit. Sitting down and eating a meal together is crucial to the health of a family and it helps create a positive relationship with food,” Beth explains.
But it’s not all about social media and delicious dinners. Green Bean also gives members the opportunity to experience the joy of discovery by sampling the offerings of incredible small producers that they’d otherwise never know about. What’s more, their unique sourcing model requires that all items in their online store meet their “clean eating promise.”
As far as the day-to-day of running the business goes, Beth explains that flexibility is a key component to her success: “My role at Green Bean has been very flexible, which has allowed me to raise our kids while also working. I work from home when my kids are at home, and I’m at the office when they are in school. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”
The duo have three kids at home (aged 11, 9, and 4), and they make it a priority to share regular mealtime together. “We sit down almost every night as a family, and I somehow manage to get a homemade meal on the table. Even though we are the owners of Green Bean, we are also members, and the service itself is crucial to us achieving this goal,” Beth says.
And as the business grows, there are new opportunities ahead. The pandemic has motivated some to adopt new, healthier habits, giving an opening for Green Bean to connect people with easily accessible, clean food. Education, economics, and access are all areas the company is focusing on, and they hope to add EBT access to the site soon.
“At the end of the day, we’re just trying to celebrate food and community. If we can stay true to this mantra and continue to evolve the business, we will serve our purpose of supporting sustainable agriculture, food artisans, and families that want to eat and be healthy,” Beth and Matt agree. “We’ve recently come up with the slogan ‘Groceries for Good.’ Sometimes it’s hard to make things simple, but at the end of the day, that slogan says it all. That’s all we’re trying to do, just make ‘Groceries for Good.’”
Natalie Derrickson is a communications professional, strategist, and writer who’s down for anything that can make the dinnertime with little kids a treat instead of a terror. You can connect with her on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on her website.
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