A new affordable, locally-sourced grocery store is coming soon to Avondale! Red Bird Produce will begin offering high-quality produce from local farmers out of the Beloved Community Corner on 41st Street in Avondale.
Bham Now met with owner Casey Hobbs to learn more.
Meet owner Casey Hobbs
Red Bird Produce was founded by Casey Hobbs, a Birmingham transplant who now lives in Crestwood. Originally from the West Coast, Casey attended grad school in Birmingham before moving out to Seattle with his family.
“I had a opportunity to work for some really great restaurants with incredible chefs. I even got to study under Tamra Murphy, one of the first chefs to really do farm-to-table dishes.”Casey Hobbs, Owner, Red Bird Produce
After living in Seattle for eight years, Casey and his family moved back to Birmingham for the birth of their second child. In Birmingham, Casey used the skills he learned in the restaurant business—and front volunteering in food pantries—to run the food pantry program at Urban Ministry.
Recently, he had the idea for a locally-sourced grocery store in Birmingham inspired by his time in Seattle.
“When we lived in Seattle, there was a Ukrainian grocer near us called Lenny’s Produce that sold produce that was, to me, very exotic and interesting. He had seven or eight different kinds of mushrooms, taro root, star fruit, dragon fruit and all sorts of products I’d never seen before. When we moved to Crestwood, I thought the area could really benefit from a small grocer—just like Lenny’s—that would carry local produce and inspire others.”Casey Hobbs, Owner, Red Bird Produce
Although the idea for Red Bird Produce was promising, Casey needed a space big enough to house the produce he had in mind in a location accessible to everyone. The Beloved Community Corner space along 41st Street in Avondale quickly caught his eye—it was perfect.
“A friend connected me with Jennifer Sanders, the pastor at Beloved Community Church, and we figured out a way for me to rent the corner building from them. Jennifer shared their ethos about inclusion and welcoming diversity, and that they require anyone who rents the space to also be welcoming to anyone who comes in. That’s a huge value of mine, coming from my faith background and my experience in the world, so to me its the perfect fit.”Casey Hobbs, Owner, Red Bird Produce
What you’ll find at Red Bird Produce
Casey is currently identifying and finalizing partnerships with Alabama farmers to help fill up the Red Bird Produce space with healthy, locally-produced goods.
“I’ll have space for about 40 and 50 different varieties of produce at any given time, depending on what’s in season. We’ll have a mix of conventional products—apples, oranges, potatoes, etc—as well as some unique products that can be grown around Alabama. I’m excited to show off the greens and good stuff that Alabama has to offer!”Casey Hobbs, Owner, Red Bird Produce
In addition to fresh produce, Casey is working with REV Birmingham to identify local artisans to help fill up his shelf of dry goods produced in Alabama. Plus, he’s working with a vegan friend to see what kind of products would appeal to vegans in Birmingham.
“Farmer’s markets are a fantastic resource for people looking for local produce, but most local farmer’s markets only happen on the weekends. With Red Bird Produce, I want to offer a consistent option for people to get quality, local produce at a price they can afford. SNAP eligibility is a really big priority, and I plan to sell the produce as affordably as I can and still stay in business.”Casey Hobbs, Owner, Red Bird Produce
Red Bird Produce opening in Fall 2023
Interested in selling your products at Red Bird Produce? Reach out to Casey Hobbs to start the conversation!