Inside her business, located in a tiny addition on the side of her Washoe Valley home, Kerrie Laack is trying to spruce up the dinner menus for her dozens of customers - one basket at a time.
Laack owns Blue Basket Organics, which delivers locally and regionally grown, organic produce to her customers' doorsteps each week. She enters her walk-in refrigerator and retrieves one of the baskets filled with garlic, carrots, asparagus, pears and a collection of other seasonal produce.
"This is my part-time job," said Laack, an English teacher at Carson High School.
The venture started in September. Laack belonged to a "community-supported agriculture" group in Dayton, where a local farmer directly sold produce to customers. Her twist is to simply buy produce from local farmers wholesale and home-deliver the fruits and veggies to eager foodies in Carson City and Reno.
"Also my two grown daughters live in Portland, just seeing all the fresh fruit and berries I thought I need to bring these two concepts together for Nevada," Laack said. "So my idea is to use as local as possible."
Laack buys from three local farmers and others in California and Oregon who supply fruit - something that doesn't grow well in Western Nevada.
She packs the food in baskets, which come in pecks, half bushels and bushels, and her niece and nephew deliver them to customers weekly or every other week.
And because she tries to stay as local as possible it means buying produce that's in season.
"Of course it's been a lot of apples and pears over the winter," Laack said. "And then we always do a recipe, which people seem to really like."
One of her recent baskets included oyster mushrooms and a recipe for miso soup. She recently included chard, a green, leafy vegetable with an edible root, in her baskets. She said many of her customers had never used it before, but enjoyed it once they sauteed it in garlic.
"Everyone's like, 'I love the chard now,'" Laack said. "We're trying to have commonly used (produce), but then also try out some new stuff."
Using locally grown produce also has changed the way she eats.
"I find that we plan the meal around the vegetables," Laack said. "It's been fun, I'm enjoying it."
Right now she has a few dozen customers in Carson City and Reno. Her husband and four grown children are helping her out by picking up orders from farmers and designing weekly recipes.
"It's scary with the gas, but it's been really nice because its been all word of mouth," Laack said. "So we have nice pockets of neighborhoods, which help to make it energy efficient."
For now, Laack is sticking to Carson City and Reno. She also has plans to potentially grow her own produce after her husband built her a green house that's now growing spinach, strawberries and other veggies.
"That's the next step," she said. "We're learning."