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Are Organic Food Deliveries Worth It?

Recently, we started ordering organic vegetables from nearby Woodlands Farm. It seemed like such a great idea – having vegetables delivered, especially when we’re trying to lose some weight.

However, I’m starting to run into problems. We pay (well, as of next week when the new rate kicks in) £13 for a “Small Mixed Box”, which is a box with both fruit & veg. They have a section where you can state your dislikes (in my case, allergies), and if a dislike is on the list for that week, they will substitute with something else. Two weeks ago, both Leeks and Onions were on the list and as substitutes, we were given celeriac and cabbage. Neither of which I really have a use for, and so I’ve spent the week looking up ideas. I still haven’t found one for the celeriac.

We also received loads of potatoes, jerusalem artichokes, carrots, and parsnips. We use those veg all the time, but that week, not so much. Now that the second box has arrived (on Wed), I have even MORE carrots and parsnips than I know what to do with.

This week also brought a huge bunch (is it called a bunch?) of celary, bok choy (other than stir fry, no clue what to do with this, either), and TWO heads of broccoli (as subs for onions). Which is great, except that we had to throw out last week’s broccoli because we didn’t use it in time and it got fuzzy.

We do seem to go through the fruit in the boxes, though. And anything that’s made for going into a salad gets eaten.

So I’m at a conundrum. Do we…

– cancel the orders all together
– switch to a fruit box
– switch to a smaller mixed box
– switch to a “salad box”

The small fruit box costs £9. Next week’s box contains: mandarins, oranges, bananas, grapefruit, pears, apples, kiwi. With the exception of the grapefruit, all fruits I like, and fruits that would make my aunt’s fruit salad recipe.

The large salad box ( £13) will have: onions, apples, kiwi, celery, carrots, celeriac, lettuce, fennel, broccoli, and tomatoes.

The basic mix box (£9.95), which is smaller than the small mixed will have: potatoes, apples, pears, aubergine (eggplant), carrots, leeks, broccoli, onions, lettuce, bananas, and celeriac.

And I just can’t decide what to do. On one hand, the prices do seem a bit high. They claim to be competitive with getting organics at the grocery store, but if we’re getting veg at the grocery store, we don’t usually seek out the organics. On the other hand….we really want to support small local business!

If anyone has any suggestions on what we should do, I welcome the input.

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7 comments

7 Comments so far

  1. miss m March 20th, 2010 20:51

    Well, we’re not big veggie people so we’d really have no use for much of it. I eat carrots (raw) and cucumber but that’s about it. For us, the fruit box would be more practical because I greatly enjoy fruit but often forget to buy it for myself.

    I think you either need to switch up the type of box you get so it has more you will regularly use, OR, you’re just going to really have to start planning your weekly menus around the items you receive. If that’s not something you want to do – and I don’t blame you – maybe it’s not going to work for you.

    Are any of the items you get but don’t always use freezable and/or things you can can? Might provide you more time to work with the ingredients at a later date.

    I definitely understand wanting to support, local, organic growers and around here, one single organic apple can be $2, so the prices don’t seem out of line in general to me overall. Probably a hair more then the store but getting it delivered eats that margin most likely.

  2. Rebecca March 20th, 2010 21:35

    Hmm. I hadn’t thought about canning any of it. Tim doesn’t like pickle, so pickling anything is pretty much out unless I want to eat it…..I really don’t know if you can can stuff like broccoli without pickling it or not! Something to look up!

    The problem is, the boxes are delivered on a Wednesday, and usually our meal plan week starts on a Sunday or Monday, so whatever we got would have to straddle 2 weeks…and since they stick in substitutions for the onion family, there will still be some veggies that I just won’t know we’re getting until it shows up!

    I might switch us to the fruit box. I KNOW we’ll eat all the fruit and there isn’t much in the line of fruit that we don’t like…and if all else fails, there’s mixing it all together in a fruit salad!

  3. falnfenix March 20th, 2010 22:05

    can you go on a plan where you get stuff every other week?

  4. Sarah R March 21st, 2010 16:24

    Just a note about the bok choy – it’s great in a light, brothy soup! It’s always in won ton soup you get from a restaurant that puts a lot of veggies in their soup.

  5. Rebecca March 21st, 2010 17:14

    Hmmm. Wonder if I can find a recipe? I was going to add it to some cole slaw I plan on making tonight, since it’s a cabbage too, but soup…mmmmm.

  6. julie March 22nd, 2010 17:29

    Rebecca,
    I get a local CSA(community supported agriculture)bag a week and I also create recipes for a local organic farm that help people like you who receive their product and want to maximize the fruits and veggies. It does take a little planning, but when you do…the food goes along way, and is likely cheaper than the store?
    Canning is definitely a great option. If you email me what you are getting next week I will help you come up with a plan and give you some recipes and storing options.

  7. Rebecca March 22nd, 2010 22:09

    I’m less likely to buy everything organic at the grocery store, so we rarely would get to £13 just in vegetables. I think we’re skipping it for this week, but I’ll let you know what we get next week. The other problem for me is I’m allergic to onions (including leeks, shallots, and spring onions) and garlic, so if those should be in the box, I get a random substitute. My husband has decided he doesn’t like celeriac (one of the subs from last week) :(.

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