Delivery competition rears up in the garden – Metro US

Delivery competition rears up in the garden

In between the microgreens and garlic scapes, a war is quietly brewing beneath the serene surface of the Union Square Greenmarket.

Two startups are duking it out over one eco-friendly, uber-trendy concept: Deliver shoppers’ farmstand produce home. By bike.

Ellie Kahn, 23, and Mosab Qashoo, 27, run From Earth to Kitchen, a fleet of three neon-green bikes.

Ashley Seiver and Michelle Dugan, both 21, are behind the rival Cycles Delivery, a one-bike operation.

Both delivery services launched this month. (From Earth to Kitchen had a soft launch in May.) So who had the idea first? Depends, of course, on whom you ask.

Seiver and Dugan entered their business proposal in NYU’s “Be a Changemaker” social entrepreneurship competition in September 2009. They won a $10,000 top prize for it this past April.

Kahn said she and Qashoo started talking to farmers about bike deliveries in January, but the idea’s been mulling for “quite some time.”

Either way, greenmarket shoppers now have a choice if they dread the thought of lugging live lobsters and watermelons home on a hot summer day.

“One of the deliveries we made the other day was a case of wine and a bunch of flowers,” said Dugan. “The guy told us he wouldn’t have been able to buy them otherwise.”