// Local Food Champion // CWR ‘08 // 28 //
In the summer of 2007, Trevor Clatterbuck was one of five Case Western Reserve students whose project was selected for the inaugural Entrepreneurship Educational Consortium Immersion Week, a business competition among Northeast Ohio universities. The group’s idea—“an Amazon Marketplace for local foods,” as he explains it—took top honors.
With that prize, Fresh Fork Market was born.
Four of the teammates started the business, selling goods from 36 local farms to 57 area restaurants their first summer. After the first year, though, Clatterbuck was the only partner left in a venture that was losing money on practically every transaction. So that winter, he changed the focus from restaurants to consumers to make the company profitable.
Now in its fifth year, Fresh Fork Market counts 3,000 Cleveland-area residents as members. Customers visit one of 20 locations across the area to pick up a weekly grab bag of produce, meats and dairy products sourced from 108 farms within 75 miles of Cleveland. Plus, they can select and buy items beyond the standard package online—building on the original Amazon Marketplace idea.
Fresh Fork also offers workshops on everything from butchering to baby-food making.
“We want customers to better understand seasonality and where their food comes from,” Clatterbuck says. “The more educated our customers are, the more loyal they’ll be, the more they’ll buy and the more they’ll tell their friends.” —Emily Mayock