As leaves burst into color across New England this month, Somerville’s Kyle Waring is picking them up one by one and selling them.
Waring began hawking leaves on his website ShipFoliage.com Tuesday and already has more than 50 orders to fill.
“It’s been incredible,” said Waring.
The orders mean extra work for the 27-year-old full-time product manager at GSN Games in Boston.
“It’s more than just a couple of leaves that are found in your backyard,” said Waring about his Foliage-as-a-Service (FaaS) business. “They are high-quality leaves that I hand collect.”
Waring hikes every weekend with his wife and two Italian greyhounds. The hikes double as leaf-finding missions. The Warings hike in places in Hamilton and Manchester-by-the-Sea, and New Hampshire spots such as Lincoln, Tuckerman Ravine on Mt. Washington, and Lake Winnipesaukee.
Each order includes three “grade A” leaves (one red, one yellow, and one green or mixed leaf), preserved, and packed into an envelope. A “grade A” leaf is brilliantly colored and void of holes and discoloration, he said. Waring includes a hand written note on nice cardstock upon request. It all costs his customers $19.99.
Waring estimates he uses about 10 of every 100 leaves he collects. That’s because some wind up damaged during the preservation process, which involves adding a mixture of glycerin, ammonia, and water to the leaves and soaking them for three days. He learned the process through online research.
Where is he shipping the leaves? So far, to Florida and even New York.
“I’m not sure why,” said Waring about the New York destinations, where there is plenty of foliage to go around. “It’s partly because there’s a unique preservation process behind each of the products. People may not want to do that.”
Also, it’s New England foliage he’s selling.
“It’s really an emotional kind of season,” said Waring about fall in New England. “A lot of people here in New England feel very passionate about where they live. They want to share it with the world.”
The leaves arrive at their destination via USPS or Fedex within five to seven days after they are shipped.
Waring, you may remember, is the man behind the website ShipSnowYo.com this past winter, where he charged folks $89 for New England snow. He said he expects sales to be even higher for foliage because it’s more afforable.
Not only will he ship snow again this winter, but he even has “new snow products scheduled.” When asked to elaborate further, Waring laughed and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t want to blow the lid off it just yet.”
Where to go leaf peeping in New England: