We demand a lot of our food these days. It needs to be convenient (thank you, whoever first started e-grocery stores). It needs to taste good (duh). We appreciate knowing the food source, thanks to the wellness movement. If it’s organic, all the better. The concepts of farm to table, and supporting local, have become the new buzzwords.
So when Sproutfore, Singapore’s first online farmers market, offered to send me a week’s worth of treats, I was stoked. Organic food magically appearing (well, more like the magic of a lovely delivery man) at my door? It sounded like a pretty sweet deal.
My first Sproutfore delivery - look at all those greens!
And while I do frequent supermarkets and make the occasional meal prep, I admit that I primarily buy groceries based on price, rather than whether they’re organic. The reason, which I’m sure others will agree with me on, is that organic food tends to be pricey. And I’m not convinced that I would be able to taste the difference.
This is where I literally eat my words, because you can definitely taste the difference. Case in point: the humble apple. Sproutfore sent over a bag of Envy Apples that were so sweet and crunchy that my father scoffed the rest before I could get a good photo. My mother, unconvinced, went to the supermarket to buy what she thought would be the same apples, and having tasted them, I can vouch that they are definitely not. Call me a newly converted apple connoisseur.
Fresh pesto made a world of difference, as did the cherry tomatoes.
There were cherry tomatoes, which I have never been a fan of, that were firm and juicy. Fresh pesto (so fresh there are no preservatives), produced right here in Singapore and packed in an unpretentiously simple plastic tub. And then there were the snacks – shiitake mushroom chips that lasted me just one day in the office, and delicious tasting Asmara drinks.
I swopped out my usual Lay’s fix for these shiitake mushrooms chips.
The man behind my week of #eatingclean is Kenneth Tan, who spent four years in F&B before realising that the cage-free, hormone-free Australian eggs were superior to what we get back home. Within six months, he started Sproutfore in January 2017. Since then, he has amassed 52 merchants on the platform, all of which are local suppliers who deliver organic, chemical-free produce. And it’s not just the usual fruit, meat and veg on offer. There’s a health and beauty section, and baked goods like organic focaccia, gluten-free muffins and fresh multi-grain loaves.
My post-workout dinner included beans and potatoes from my Sproutfore haul.
It hits the buzzer on all three points: “One, Singaporeans are increasingly cautious about where their food is coming from, two, physical farmers’ markets are few and far between here,” explains Kenneth. “And I also believe local merchants are given less credit than they (very much) deserve – I want to provide them with a space for Singaporeans to know the good work they’re doing.”
Can’t decide what to choose? Sproutfore has predetermined fruit and veg bundles.
If you’re wondering how legit the goods are, Kenneth does the legwork to affirm that the word ‘natural’ isn’t just bandied about. “We personally visit farms and factories, check licenses and certifications to ensure that the products are healthy and all-round good,” he says. Transparency is a big deal: each merchant has their own profile page on the website to share information about their products. Sproutfore also conducts farm tours for corporate events, and is in talks with merchants to have expand their tours and classes.
My two cents is that Sproutfore may not replace my regular supermarket excursions. But it’s a great add-on to my grocery lists, especially when I want the assurance of all-natural fresh fruit and veg.
BRB, ordering more apples.