SILO wants to make local and natural foods as convenient as possible
Getting healthy, locally grown foods into households is about to become much more convenient for Lady’s Island residents. In operation since 2011, Sea Islands Local Outlet (SILO) is Beaufort’s only source for all local and naturally produced foods, and convenient access to their edible wares has recently become available on Lady’s Island.
SILO’s unique business concept incorporates a website platform that connects consumers directly to growers and producers. Similar to a farmers market, vendors post their weekly offerings and set their own prices, and consumers can place orders for these products each week while the website market is open. The growers and producers receive their orders, harvest or produce what is needed and then deliver the orders to SILO. Customers pick up their orders packaged in insulated bags each week at a designated location and time.
For the last two years, SILO customers have picked up their orders every Friday from the shop front in the Habersham Marketplace. In early 2013, SILO began offering a pick up location in Palmetto Bluff while supplying the community’s executive chef and restaurants with fresh, locally grown food. Palmetto Bluff has served as the pilot program for SILO to test the efficiencies of a remote pick up location. “It’s similar to the UPS commercials you see on TV talking about how its all about logistics. Transporting frozen goods, refrigerated goods, cooled goods and dry goods all at once can be tricky and we wanted to make sure we figured out the best way to do it,” says one of SILO’s owners, Patrick Kelly. Patrick owns SILO along with his wife, Lauren, and another couple, Garrett and Katie Budds.
With Palmetto Bluff under their belt and running smoothly, the owners are excited to start offering a pick up location on Lady’s Island given the increasing demand for SILO products from island residents. “After we looked at our ordering history, Lady’s Island was a natural place for us to provide an additional location for customers to pick up their orders. We want to make local food as convenient as possible for both growers and customers, and that means bringing the food to the people. We are extremely excited to be working with Rick Stone at his newly opened Beaufort Bread Company to make this happen.” Beaufort Bread Company has been selling their artisan breads, scones and baguettes through SILO and the Port Royal Farmers Market for over a year, and now with its new location open, the bakery will serve as a Tuesday pick up location option for SILO customers.
Each Tuesday, from 5 until 6:30 p.m., SILO customers stop by the bakery on Sea Island Parkway to gather their milk, meats, produce, baked goods, eggs, rice and more that they purchased through the website over the weekend. Rick Stone usually has some tasty treats out for SILO customers to enjoy as well. For the Tuesday bakery pick up, online market (shopping) hours are from 8 a.m. on Friday until 6 p.m. on Sunday, with customers simply selecting their pick up location before logging in. Placing an order anytime during that window is just as easy as ordering from any other online retailer. Shoppers can browse from 16 different food categories, see who the grower is and read about the farm, view pictures of products and see how many are left of each item.
“It’s funny, we’ll see a flurry of activity each week when the market opens as people log on early to try to order some popular items before they sell out. Just like at a physical farmers market,” Kelly says. The flurry is so dramatic that the SILO owners have considered allowing an early shopping opportunity as a reward for its most loyal customers. For now, though, there is plenty of other work to be done as the SILO Team is aggressively seeking out other strategic pick up locations around Beaufort County to make purchasing local foods as convenient as possible for Beaufort-area residents.
SILO is also inviting a select number of chefs to begin sourcing local foods through the new wholesale portion of the website. Kelly wants to be careful with chefs, though. “The supply can be limited at times and we want to be careful not to have too many chefs buying everything and not have anything left for individual customers. Therefore, we are partnering with chefs who genuinely have an interest in our local food system. Brandon Carter at Palmetto Bluff is amazing in this regard and we are excited to begin working with other chefs who have similar values. One of our main goals is to broaden the market as much as we can for our local growers and food purveyors while maintaining their story, product quality and variety.”
To learn more about SILO or to sign up for online ordering, visit their webpage at www.silo-beaufort.com or stop by their shop front in Habersham at 7A Market, Beaufort, SC 29906. The SILO Team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 843-321-8990.