Walking down the aisles of the local groceries, Sarah Scaruto could see that industry was working the appetite for quick edibles.
Given the debatable quality of frozen dinners in Aisle 6, she figured she might tap some of that appetite by preparing flavorful, local, plant-based, veggie-forward meals.
Wow, that’s a mouthful. Which is the idea, right?
Scaruto, a veteran of years in corporate human relations, is charting a new path with her nascent business, Wy’Eats. It’s modeled on the consumer support agriculture concept — a box of veggies grown locally, prepared by the farmer and delivered to a central pickup location.
In the case of Wy’Eats, Scaruto prepares and delivers full meals to an insulated box outside the front entrance to the Hood River News. Food comes in reusable Tupperware containers, with ice packs to keep it from spoiling. Subscribers get a one-hour window to grab their grub and go.
If they can’t do the pickup, they can pay an extra $5 to have Scaruto deliver.
“This is for people who want to support the local food system but don’t have the time or desire to prepare their own meals,” Scaruto says. “It’s designed to support health and convenience.”
Her meals go light on animal proteins, not because she is pushing a vegan agenda, but just to keep costs under control. That said, meals include eggs from pasture-raised chickens, nuts and seeds as protein sources.
She prepares her menu on Monday night, currently using the commercial kitchen at River of Life Assembly on the Heights. Buyers can subscribe for one or two meals per week, at $35 for two servings per meal, or $60 for four.
Scaruto and her husband moved to the Gorge in April from Vermont. As she builds her business, she enhances her longtime love of food and cooking with studies in holistic nutrition at The Wellspring School for Healing Arts in Portland.
“I’ve been wanting to try something different,” she says. “This idea has been in my head for a long time.”
It’s working. In the first four weeks of business, she lined up 50 subscribers.