Starvation Alley is the name of a uniquely NW produce business, deriving their corporate moniker from the nickname given to a road running the narrow spit of land in the Long Beach Peninsula of costal Washington. While the term Starvation Alley has been used since the Great Depression, the current usage is both an ode to hard times past and the perils of modern agriculture.
Fortunately, Starvation Alley has strong, thoughtful leaders. The farm was founded by Jared Oakes and Jessika Tantisook, who decided that their original 10 acres would under go the three year process to become certified as organic. In itself a commitment, but with fewer than 300 of the 40,000 acres dedicated to growing cranberries use organic methods, they would on the edge of a learning curve on how to grow their product without inputs. Along with organic, the team went with bottling 100% cranberry product and if that weren’t enough, Starvation Alley recently became one of 1,000 business internationally to earn the B Corporation status.
B Corp status as it is sometimes called, is a voluntary, third-party certification that assess social sustainability and transparent business practices. For businesses that go through the rigorous process of certification, B Corp isn’t so much a recognition as a worldview. Claudia Knotek of New Seasons Market – the first grocer in the world to be recognized as a B Corp, is enthusiastic about more companies joining this exclusive club, “It’s good to know there is a new and a growing body of entrepreneurs who are equally excited about building a better product, a healthier environment and stronger communities. It’s an exciting way to do business and think about the world.”
Along with choosing to organize as B Corp, forge their way as organic growers and engaging customers directly by selling and directly marketing to customers at Portland Farmers Market, Starvation Alley is always searching for a new way to rethink business and that includes crowdsourcing. Their ongoing drive to upgrade equipment seeks partnerships, not traditional financing. You can learn more about their efforts by making this jump.
Like all small businesses, the single best way to support them is by buying their products. While some of Starvation Alley’s new ideas on how businesses should operate are intriguing enough to get you to try their products, it’s the taste that’ll have you coming back. Thinking about tasting their cranberries in the traditional cranberry season of autumn…there’s actually no better time for cold, cool, tart and sweet cranberry juice (straight up or in cocktail form) then after a day in the garden.