Food for Thought

One entrepreneur gets a fresh start with a bright (and healthy) idea.
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This story appears in the October 2003 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

What: Healthy meal delivery business
Who: Susan Rivas of Farmbytes
Where: Portland, Oregon
When: Started in 2000

When newly divorced Susan Rivas decided to move away from Miami Beach, Florida, to get a fresh start, she had only one criterion. "I picked a spot that fit my lifestyle," she says. "[Portland's] general social consciousness fits with me." An entrepreneur since her youth, Rivas found Oregon to be the perfect backdrop for her latest entrepreneurial venture, a healthy meal delivery service called Farmbytes.

Rivas had no clear direction in terms of what kind of business she wanted to start. When a neighbor suggested she open a chicken-wing delivery service, the idea got Rivas thinking about the area's lack of variety in delivery meals. As a food lover and vegetarian, Rivas says, "I could do [food delivery] myself and put
my own personal integrity into the business."

Using mostly organic ingredients, Rivas infuses Farmbytes' menu with environmental and social consciousness. Although packed with vegan and vegetarian options, the menu includes something for everyone: Meat eaters can savor tantalizing spicy jerk chicken and ginger beef soup, while vegans get to munch on Mediterranean quinoa and herb and garlic pasta salad-in unbleached, biodegradable paper lunchboxes, of course.

Delivering to downtown Portland and adjacent areas, Farmbytes' fit fare has been well-received by everyone from architectural firms to the Multnomah County Health Department, which, in addition to being a regular customer, has awarded Farmbytes a perfect score in its last three inspections. Now, with eight employees and 2003 sales of $350,000, Rivas, 37, may soon offer Farmbytes meals in supermarkets and expand into catering. Healthy eating has never looked so good.

Edition: September 2017

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