The Chef's Garden

thunder::tech helped an innovative specialty farming operation greatly expand its digital reach and e-commerce with a robust, new website


The Chef’s Garden is an artisanal farm in Northeast Ohio that grows a wide variety of unique microgreens, herbs, heirloom vegetables and edible flowers for the high-end professional restaurant and hospitality markets. Using traditional, sustainable farming methods combined with innovative technology, the farm delivers the freshest and highest-quality produce to tables across the globe.
It had utilized a very traditional go-to-market strategy for more than 30 years. However, stagnant sales and changing market conditions drove it to seek out new tactics—specifically a considerable expansion of its e-commerce capabilities. As it considered a new website, it knew it needed a site that not only properly reflected its brand but also made it as quick and easy as possible for customers to order and reorder.

Harvesting existing content for the new site

thunder::tech approached the project by recommending a robust content management system (CMS) that would give The Chef’s Garden the ability to easily create and publish new content in the form of blog posts, product updates and other communications to its customers. With the CMS chosen, thunder::tech then began the work of integrating it with The Chef’s Garden’s homegrown database. This legacy system presented numerous challenges, the most significant of which was how to approach the scrubbing and transformation of legacy data to fit the new category structure—all while maintaining 100% accuracy.
thunder::tech was able to tackle this challenge and configure the database and CMS so The Chef’s Garden could seamlessly pass information back and forth, assuring online customers have the latest and most up-to-date information on products. The Chef’s Garden’s customers have extremely high expectations of quality and service, and the online experience had to reflect that.
thunder::tech’s user experience (UX) designers developed a simple, intuitive interface and information hierarchy that made it fast and easy for users to navigate the site, find what they needed and complete a transaction. A new feature of the UX was the ability for home chefs to order from the site; previously, only professional chefs with credentials could order from The Chef’s Garden. Separate pathways were created for each: The home chef is able to purchase a small selection of all The Chef’s Garden products, while professional chef’s get the full run of the inventory, including limited quantity or rare products not available to the home chef.

A beautiful design and a surprise win

Visual design was developed that was clean, elegant and impactful, just like The Chef’s Garden brand itself. The design heavily leveraged the beautiful photography of the farm and available products, putting the spotlight directly on the delicious greens and vegetables that are the signature of The Chef’s Garden. 
Four months after the new website launched, thunder::tech entered The Chef’s Garden’s site into a regional marketing competition and walked away with the Best in Show award. For our Creative Director’s thoughts on why this recognition was both incredibly satisfying and unlikely, click the "Best in Show" graphic below to read his blog post from shortly after the win.

Want to learn more? thunder::tech can help you with strategy, website design  and more. Contact us today!

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