Founded in 2005, Hobo Ed‘s provides fresh coffee to all of our stores. “I set out to create a locally processed coffee, treated as an agricultural product, and delivered ‘produce-fresh’ in low impact packaging,” says Ed, shown below with our founder, Terry Brett. In the summer of 2020, Ed moved his coffee roasting operation to Snouts and Sprouts Farm, which is owned by his daughter, Mary. The coffee beans Ed uses are sustainably grown, ethically-sourced, and roasted in small artisan batches to create signature flavors our customers love.
“It’s been a family business since the beginning. All my kids participated in some way, and still do.” In 2005, Ed along with his son, purchased a food truck that they took to music festivals throughout the Mid-Atlantic region – serving up coffee and espresso drinks to festival goers. To supply his truck, Ed used the former Kimberton Whole Foods distribution center in Leola, PA as his commissary where he began his artisanal ventures. Ed’s locally roasted beans interested longtime Kimberton Cafe Manager, Dave Biddison, and KWF soon began serving and selling his organically grown coffee on our shelves. Ed eventually gave up the truck to focus on wholesale distribution to local grocers. Years later, Dave cannot say enough about his appreciation for Ed and his integrity as a local artisan:
“I feel a kinship with Ed. I love who he is in the world. He could do anything, but he chooses to do this. I can taste his care and passion in the coffee he roasts. He goes beyond making sure his coffee is organic and fair trade. He brings compassion for the whole world community into his choices. Ed has such a depth of knowledge around coffee, its origins, the people who grow it, it’s nuance of flavor and aroma. I trust that he’s doing all he can to make sure the coffee farmers and communities are treated well, getting paid fairly and the coffee is the best quality it can be. And then he roasts it with consciousness and expertise. Consistently delicious every time!”
When we asked Dave why he chooses to use Hobo Ed’s artisan roasts, he jokingly replied “Well he’s pushy and stubborn and a little bigger than I am. He wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. So eventually I had to acquiesce and serve his coffee. Plus, Ed definitely has the gift of gab. I finally met my match.”
Ed’s relationship with Kimberton Whole Foods started long before this, when he was the Maintenance Manager at the Kimberton Waldorf School. Across the street, KWF co-founders, Terry and Pat Brett, ran the farm store at Seven Stars Farm. Ed fondly remembers when he and Terry would “wave to each other while mowing lawns on opposite sides of Seven Stars Road”.
Buying globally and responsibly is important to Ed, who sources from organic, Fair Trade producers in Sumatra, Nicaragua and Ethiopia. “Buy globally, roast locally” is Ed’s true priority and practice. Because coffee is a tropical plant, he feels “to at least roast and distribute it locally is worth doing.” When working with artisanal coffee makers, consumers should “feel guaranteed you’re working with a community of producers that are honest and transparent.”
One of the things that make an artisan’s product so unique is that it genuinely reflects their personal style and preferences. Ed explains that roasting coffee means “operating out of my natural taste and temperament.” During the week, Ed and his son roast small 20 pound batches of his artisanal coffee to prepare for deliveries, samplings and the Sunday market.
Look for Hobo Ed’s bulk coffee in select Kimberton Whole Foods stores.