Tampa Bay’s Naked Farmer adjusted to the coronavirus and changed its DNA forever

Jordan Johnson set up a ‘farm-to-door’ direct supply chain between farmers and consumers.

click to enlarge NAKED FARMER
Naked Farmer

The novel coronavirus created a lot of changes within the Tampa Bay restaurant community , but it caused one to switch up its entire look.

Naked Farmer founder-owner Jordan Johnson’s initial idea was to open a brick-and-mortar. Those plans came to a halt when recently he pivoted to a digital farmer’s market to combat the effects of the pandemic . He says healthy, fresh foods should be accessible at affordable prices, no matter the circumstances. 

“Working in the food industry, I realized how broken the food system is. I think Naked Farmer is the answer to fixing it,” he explains. 

When food is scarce at some grocery stores, Johnson wants to provide real food with nutritional value to those having issues finding it. He says Naked Farmer sets up a direct supply chain between farmers and consumers while building a better food system one meal at a time. This gives farmers the opportunity to share their harvests outside of canceled markets.

“Our community has access to real food and our farmers don’t have to go out of business. We are providing them with a demand for their harvests at a time when revenue dropped to almost zero,” he says. 

The veggie-forward concept sources food from vendors within a 500-mile radius. Customers can choose from grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and salmon or select from a list of healthier vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free alternatives. Until the 1600-square-foot space opens in downtown St. Petersburg, boxes containing meal ingredients and cooking instructions are on sale at the digital farmer’s market, starting at $18 for a vegetable-only box. Johnson says the demand for the boxes is high, so they’ll remain an option once he opens the brick-and-mortar. 

“The boxes are part of the company’s DNA now. With all this down time, people are enjoying becoming home cooks and we love being part of that story,” he says. 

Customers can order the boxes online through Naked Farmer’s website, which says harvests vary on a weekly basis. When placing orders, guests can opt for pickup in person or delivery within a five-mile radius. 

“Some people even pre-order and reserve their boxes for pickup or delivery at a later date,” says Johnson.

Naked Farmer has two pickup locations: its upcoming restaurant location at 200 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg and Holy Hog BBQ’s Downtown Tampa location at 302 E. Kennedy Blvd. UberEats is another option for delivery as well, although Johnson recommends ordering directly from the website. Both locations offer daily pickup and delivery from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Johnson plans on officially opening the St. Pete Naked Farmer location mid-April. Due to the pandemic, a grand opening celebration is on hold for now. An announcement about the Tampa location is to be determined. In addition to the healthy foods, wine and local beers are on Johnson’s “fine-fast” lunch-and-dinner-only menu. 

“It’s fine-dining quality food, but served with hustle. The emphasis is around locally-sourced foods from farmers we know,” Johnson explains.

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