10 years ago today, on June 25, 2011, Acme Farms + Kitchen got its start, packing orders of local food in custom handmade wooden boxes in a church in the small town of Acme, WA. Although Acme has grown over 10 years, we remain a small, woman-owned, and mission-focused driver for change in our local communities and food economies.
Pictured: Acme Founder and co-CEO Joy Rubey with her family.
There are countless stories we’ve collected in our 10 years: stories of growth, stories of failure, stories of triumph. Through it all, we could not be more proud of the impact of impact. To celebrate the big 1-0, we wanted to share some of our favorite memories, stories, and lessons we’ve learned through the journey to double digits.
- If ever your dreams seem too big, just remember—880 pounds of beef can fit into a Volkswagen Jetta. If a Jetta can do big things, so can you (although we don’t recommend transporting so much meat in a Jetta, and please know this is not standard Acme practice.)
- Back when we were still using wooden boxes, we worked with a family of woodworkers in Idaho to craft our Acme boxes. On one drive to pick up 500 wooden boxes from the producer, we underestimated the space needed for our delivery truck door to close. Being ever so committed, our driver packed the boxes that wouldn’t fit into the passenger cabin and drove all the way back to Acme, WA with one box on his lap that he couldn’t fit anywhere else.
- After some favorable press in the early days of Acme, we had an exceptionally high volume of orders during a week in which a lot of our staff happened to be sick and unable to work. We packed $46,000 worth of orders this week with only four staff. It ended up being four 18 hour days for the staff—if that isn’t dedication to local food, what is?
- Part of committing to support small, local producers is embracing the inherent unpredictability of producing good, local food. One week, a producer notified us that all their acorn squash had frozen overnight. Having to improvise, we ended up purchasing all the organic squash we could find in Whatcom County—about 50 lbs or 5 grocery carts filled to the max—to fulfill all the week’s orders. Perseverance is key!
- Another story from back in the early wooden box days: one day, our founder was delivering boxes (yes, we used to be that small) and heard a rumbling from the back of her car. Shortly following the rumbling came a growling. She pulled over and discovered a raccoon had found its way into a box! Who can blame a raccoon for wanting to upgrade from munching on garbage to quality local food? Still, we typically don’t serve raccoons (for obvious reasons), and don’t worry, the intended customer’s order was promptly replaced.
- One of our recent proudest moments? In March of 2021, we held our first ever All-Staff meeting on Zoom. It was humbling to see how in almost 10 years we went from Joy’s two-year-old weighing half pounds of dry beans and packing potatoes into boxes to a dedicated team of over 40 employees each bringing their own unique flavor to our team and each with a deep passion for local food and creating impact in our communities!
All jokes and fun aside, the past 10 years haven’t always been easy. Countless hours and so much sweat and tears have gone into growing the Acme dream of building a better food system. There are times when the challenges we faced seemed too big—but our vision and commitment to supporting the local farmers, bakers, and makers that make up our suppliers kept us going, and we always found our way through!
If we say it a lot, please know it is because we mean it each and every time—thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for supporting us and our mission. Thank you for helping your local producers make it through the pandemic. Thank you for believing a better food system is possible.
Thank you for choosing Acme. Cheers to 10 more years.
-Your Acme Team