Most people venture into businesses that they can relate with. The ideas may be borne out of a niche in their social environment that needs to be filled; existing lacklustre ventures that need dire in improvement; perhaps even hobbies. For one Jesse Muchai Kinuthia (@iKinuthia_), what began as a routine habit slowly morphed into an online grocery delivery venture. “I’d drive down to the farm with my sister to see my folks on Saturdays. On our way back, we’d bring back lots of fresh produce. You know how mothers can’t let you leave home without food? That sort of thing”
Portrait of Mr. Kinuthia at the farm
“I started bringing extra stuff for the people around me who’d request for some. All they needed to do was reimburse the cost of the produce and since I was using the car either way, I’d deliver the items to them. As the demand increased, I figured; why not turn this into an actual gig?” He adds.
That’s how @iKinuthia_ started using his twitter account as a tool to reach and engage with his clients. The process is quite simple. A tweet with a price list of available groceries is sent out at the beginning of the week. This list keeps changing owing to the dynamic nature of market produce. Interested clients have until Friday at noon to place orders via Direct Message. Deliveries are done mainly on Saturday (and Sunday if there are pending orders). The customers pay on delivery either through cash or MPESA.
A screen grab of some of the grocery list posted each week
I was quite intrigued with the whole idea; so I requested @iKinuthia_ if I could accompany him on his Saturday morning run to the farm ; just so I could get a feel of the whole process. On regular days, he leaves Nairobi at around 5:30am so as to be able to get to the farm early enough to pick the produce and be on his way back for deliveries in good time.
Our journey from Nairobi began around 6:40am and what would otherwise have been a 40/50 minute drive ended up being longer owing to the constant stops just to take in the scenery and snap some shots.
The general climate of the area as you head down to the farm, located in Kambaa – Githunguri, is majorly cool and wet; as such coffee and tea are the predominant cash crops. The lush green tea plantations are a sight to behold!
View of the Tea farms in Githunguri
@ikinuthia_ sources most of the produce he supplies from his family’s farm and the rest from the neighbouring farmers. The produce is usually picked a day before or the morning of delivery just so it gets to the customers still crisp and fresh. I was able to witness and participate in the harvesting of the broccoli heads and zucchinis.
Picking Zucchini from the farm. Below, the Broccoli farm
I also got Farming 101 tips on how broccoli is grown from seedling stage to harvest.
Broccoli plants at nursery seedling stage. Below, ready to be transplanted.
Jesse notes that despite the amount of physical labour involved in the whole process, he does not mind it at all. “I grew up in a farm and as young as age 8, I would help my father to take of our cows. So this is not new at all to me. It’s a welcome break from my usual routine”. The most difficult part, he notes, is doing the actual deliveries because of traffic and what not.
Avocados, tree tomato and the potato crops at the farm
Milk and eggs are obtained from the cows and chicken reared on the farm and is supplemented by the other dairy farmers when demand is high.
By noon, all the produce had been collected and loaded ready for delivery.
I’m super grateful to the Muchai family for facilitating my trip to their farm.
Contacts/How to Order
If you’d like to order produce from Jesse, he can be reached through his twitter handle @iKinuthia_.