In 2013, Atlanta native Hadi Irvani combined his business background in e-commerce with his love for cooking and sharing a good meal with family and friends to start PeachDish – a meal-kit subscription service. In 2014, Judith Winfrey joined Irvani as a business partner and helped to shape the direction of the product, focusing on delivering food fresh from farms – Georgia- and Southern-grown ingredients – to customers along with recipes for meals they can prepare themselves. Customers receive a different meal kit each week with recipes, cooking instructions and the ingredients to prepare each meal. One of the first people she called to help her steer the business was Chef Seth Freedman.
“We believe there’s nothing more satisfying than a home-cooked meal, prepared with love and shared among family and friends. And while going out to eat for something different is easy and exciting, there is something important and uniquely satisfying about a home-cooked meal,” PeachDish President Judith Winfrey says. “PeachDish allows the best of both worlds. We make it easy to cook a delicious, chef-inspired dinner at home.”
Winfrey says the focus of PeachDish is on farm-to-table and providing its customers with the highest quality food directly from farms and producers all over the South, the majority of which are from Georgia. The company contracts with about 75 vendors on a regular basis but has sourced ingredients from hundreds of other Georgia Grown farmers and food producers, including Aluma Farm on Atlanta’s Beltline, Beautiful Briny Sea, Mayflor Farms, Preserving Place and White Oak Pastures, the largest certified organic farm in the state.
“We are fortunate to work with so many amazing suppliers. We love knowing that PeachDish’s nationwide delivery allows farmers and purveyors to get their ingredients into the hands of customers around the country for the first time,” Winfrey says. “Because many of the suppliers we work with are small-scale, they often don’t have distribution beyond their immediate region. We want to help build the market for our suppliers and to be valued as a builder of transparent, innovative and wholesome food systems.”
PeachDish Culinary Director and Georgia Grown Executive Chef Seth Freedman agrees.
“We have to make farming a viable career choice, and what we can do at PeachDish to help with that is to be the kind of customer to farmers that help support them having viability and long-term sustainability from a financial and business standpoint,” Freedman says. “We do that by communicating our needs well in advance and in some cases contracting directly with farmers to supply us so they know before the seed goes in the dirt that they have a buyer for that product.”
Food for Thought
Freedman, who is a Georgia Grown chef, heads the company’s weekly recipe development team – including a registered dietician – which creates and tests between five and eight different recipes each week. Freedman also collaborates with noted chefs and cookbook authors, such as Virginia Willis, Stephen Satterfield, Jeff Stevenson and Todd Richards, to develop recipes through the company’s Guest Chef Program.
“I’ve been passionate about improving the quality of the way people in our community and our country eat and to try and move people away from packaged and convenience processed foods and toward fresh, healthy foods,” Freedman says. “I look at my own skill set and ability and understand the best way I can contribute to this goal is to help people learn how to cook because you can’t enjoy fresh, healthy produce unless you know what to do with it.”
“Our recipes are meant to be fun and educational, yet easy enough for a weeknight dinner that’s on the table quickly. It’s important that our customers prepare their own meals because the experience of cooking is fun. It’s also important from a freshness and nutrition standpoint,” Winfrey adds.
Freedman, whose resume includes a stint as director of a farm-to-school program in Atlanta as well as market chef for the Community Farmers Market, says his work with PeachDish also allows him to educate customers about where their food comes from.
“Every week when our boxes go out, we include a letter from our president that highlights all the farmers and local food businesses that our subscribers’ purchases supported that week. We’ve recently upgraded that letter to include references to the products purchased specifically for that week. It includes the name of the farm and what was bought that week,” he says. “Transparency, integrity and authenticity are some of our most core values.”