ST. LOUIS — Energy drinks promise to help workers beat the afternoon slump, but for workers in the St. Louis metro area, another option is emerging.
FruitMyCube delivers fresh fruit and vegetables to more than 400 workplaces in and around the city, giving officer workers and factory employees a nutritious alternative to caffeine and chemical-laden products, according to Rick Delashmit, co-founder and general manager.
“We started FruitMyCube last year just here in the Belleville (Ill.) area when I delivered 23 cubes out of the back of my SUV to small offices around town,” Delashmit said. “As word grew, we started getting calls from offices in St. Louis, and within months we were literally blanketing the entire St. Louis Metro area.”
The produce for the operation comes from the Belleville Farmers Market, which has been selling produce for more than 30 years from its Illinois location just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Dan Schwendeman, owner of the market, co-founded FruitMyCube with Delashmit.
In their first year they have shipped more than 100,000 cardboard boxes of produce. Among the 18,000 unique buyers are staff in the St. Louis mayor’s office, teachers in area school districts, workers at the local Kraft Foods operation, the St. Louis Cardinals offices, Boeing and Wells Fargo Advisors.
Area growers such as Flamm Orchard are the primary suppliers, but during off seasons Delashmit and Schwendeman rely on suppliers to make sure the cubes have a variety of fresh produce. The cubes cost $10.25, and buyers order online at www.fruitmycube.com.
For the week of Aug. 1, the fresh vegetable cube featured six ears of bicolor sweet corn from Meyer Farm; one zucchini and one yellow squash from Flamm Orchard; and five tomatoes from growers in southern Illinois.
Delashmit and Schwendeman are working to secure business from the next generation with the FruitMyCube “Taste Buds” program. A portion of the money from every cube purchased goes to the program, which introduces area school children to the tasty and beneficial attributes of fresh produce.
The cube operation has been featured on Oprah Winfrey’s TV show and recently received a grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project. In addition to delivering fresh produce to workplaces, FruitMyCube also provides pickup and recycling of the cube boxes.