News of produce oversupply were all over the news last March 2019, leaving crops wasted, sold way below cost, and our farmers in debt. Our hearts broke as Iloisa Romaraog, co-owner of Session Groceries, talked about how our starving farmers go through a vicious cycle of debt and loss of sales for decades and were barely keeping afloat almost all their lives. After taking a closer look, the Gawad Pilipinoy 2019 awardee and her team took a shot at helping our farmers through their online grocery store, Session Groceries.
Back then, Session Groceries only served clients within Baguio and was purely for profit. But seeing the dire need to address the crisis, they thought of directly helping the farmers by distributing their products to Metro Manila at the right price, while offering convenience to consumers through door-to-door deliveries.
We loved the idea of eliminating the role of some opportunistic middle men in the process of selling fruits and vegetables. This meant that the farmers can decide on the price of their produce, and consumers getting to help them while buying fresh and high quality fruits and vegetables. Upon Session Groceries’s announcement of the service, we didn’t hesitate to order. Besides, it was the strawberry season. It would be nice to eat them at their sweetest!
They started taking orders through Google Forms at first, scheduling deliveries every weekend and transporting the goods through buses bound to Cubao. From there, consumers can choose to either pick up their orders or have it delivered via Lalamove or Grab Express. Later, through partnerships, they were able to come up with the Session Groceries App and and in-house motorcycle delivery.
Price wise, vegetables and fruits are usually lower than (if not at par with) market and grocery price. I remember getting a few kilos of Strawberries when they were selling it at PhP 350.00 per kg. But then, we need to factor in the delivery fee. Right now, it plays around PhP 180.00 for the first 25 kg for our area. So we order in bulk to get the most out of it.
Session Groceries transport the orders from Baguio on Saturdays (midnight) to ensure freshness. So far, our hauls of lettuce, kale, spinach, and beets are good. The challenge is to keep them fresh in the fridge and consuming them as soon as possible. We researched ways to prolong the shelf life of the greens, and then cutting and freezing the others in portions that are meant for smoothies.
Although we have learned our lesson to not order vegetables that easily wilt such as pako, and to request for half of the strawberries unripe so they won’t all go bad too soon.
To order, all you have to do is to download the app! Best to go through the menu and place your order earlier in the week so your choices are reserved (we encountered some items running out of stock before). You may pay through bank transfer/deposit or COD.
Note: Delivery fee is paid on the day
There are assigned cities per day. Ours is only on Sundays, which is our only conflict since we all go to church and are out the whole day. But other than that, they are responsive and quick to help.
Most of all, our top strengths, belief, empathy, and connectedness are happy to be in some ways, part of Session Groceries and Iloisa’s vision to give the farmers the true dignity they all deserve for all the hard work and talent they put in to feed the country.
We also appreciate their commitment to supply much needed food at such a time as this of enhanced community quarantine. It’s great that we’re all stocking up on food that have longer shelf life, if you can, keep your fridge full of nutritious food because there’s really no replacement for it in taking care of our health.