As a Pilates instructor, it's important I do my best to eat healthy, not only for my own body, but for my clients. I can't expect them to take care of their body if I don't practice what I preach.
It can be difficult to find inspiration in vegetables if you don't know what to buy, and are not exactly willing to experiment with foods you've never tried before. I know I have been known to shrug and bypass many weird looking things in the produce aisle because I have no clue what they are and how to prepare them.
I am a fan of salads. I love to keep a steady supply of random ingredients in my fridge and on my countertop, but you know as well as I do, it can be tough to keep up with the buying to make sure things are fresh. I can't tell you how many times I've popped open a bag of lettuce to find it slimy, after I just bought other things to go with it.
So when I moved into the new house, I vowed to be more prepared for this.
I decided to sample a couple of the local produce delivery services that Austin has to offer. I picked Greenling and Farmhouse Delivery. Luckily, they both had Groupon (or Livingsocial, I forget) deals, and I was able to set up my accounts for a great price.
My first delivery came from Farmhouse Delivery:
It was a lovely, full crate of produce.
A few days later, I received Greenling's delivery:
It wasn't as full, but equally as nice.
After a few months of deliveries, I was able to make a decent review for anyone unsure which service is right for them. I hope you will find it useful.
Before I dig into it though, you should know that a lot of local farms sell their produce to both companies. It could impact your decision on who to buy through, so I would advise that you explore those farms online if it matters to you. Both websites have information on who they use.
Now, on to the review!
You have to pay a $10 bin deposit when you first sign up. It's refundable, and as long as you don't start a collection of bins (I accidentally have 2 right now), they won't charge you an additional fee. There is a $25 minimum order, but you'll find that it is easy to fill your cart. You can add a tip for the driver when you check out, which I do. You can get deliveries up to twice a week, and you only have to have your order set by 10AM the previous day so you don't have to wait long.
The website is well-ordered. Pretty much everything has a photo. There are some freebies on the site, like local magazines, and they will periodically have sales on a few items. You'll find that they sell seconds, like bruised tomatoes or bananas. They are perfect if you plan on using them immediately. You have the option of buying preset local boxes, or creating your own, and you can even save your basket set-up for future deliveries. You can also edit local boxes.
Delivery day is always nice. You don't have to be home for a delivery, just remember to put your bin out and they will switch it out. They always keep a frozen bottle of water with anything that needs to stay cold. Last week, my eggs were in a Mylar bag right next to the bottle. If you are afraid it will be too hot and you will be gone, you can leave a iced cooler out and they will fit everything they can into it. Farmhouse Delivery will do the same. Just be kind and tip them more.
Upon opening the bin, I always know what I am getting since I picked it out. Everything is packaged well, and in most cases, things are labeled. In the event that something is out of stock, they will substitute with a like item. It can be a good or bad thing, depending on what you needed it for. I have also under/over-ordered an item because I was uncertain what a pound would end up being.
They love freebies. On my first order, I got a bumper sticker and a few pamphlets. On my second order, I got some reusable plastic produce bags. The third order was a reusable grocery sack.
Overall, I think Greenling is great for people who have set menus, and need things quickly.
There is a $20 non-refundable set-up fee and it is either $37 for a weekly delivery, or $39 for bi-weekly, which is what I did. While this is a "you get what's available" service, you do have the option to add items to your bin. You just have to make sure it is done the Friday before delivery, by noon. I was never able to take advantage of this because I would forget since my delivery was scheduled for Thursdays. I can't think that far ahead when it comes to food.
Their website is less sophisticated than Greenling's, but is still impressive in offerings. Not everything has pictures, but I like that everything is pretty much on one page. Again, I perused it, but never used it since 6 days in advance is beyond my mental capacity. There is no place for you to put a tip for the driver.
You don't have to be home for delivery, and the bin is stocked with a frozen water bottle to keep things cool. Stuff is rarely labeled, which can be trying if you have never seen a particular vegetable before. But, don't fret. The week of your delivery, you will receive an email with an inventory list and photo. It breaks it down into items that you will get, and a few items that will be either/or. The great thing about the email is that it offers recipes and ideas for the produce. It has come in handy. Both in recipe, and in identification of an alien vegetable.
When you open the bin, it's always a surprise. Yeah, you kinda know what you'll get, but the either/or items are what you're banking on. The bin is almost always filled to the brim. Everything is usually huge. The first day, I got a cauliflower the size of my head.
I usually spend a good 30 minutes to an hour washing, peeling, and chopping up things for storage. I always received some sort of greens for a salad, so I had to learn pretty quickly how to properly prepare and store them so they would last. FYI, even though I only got the bi-weekly bin, my produce would last until the next one, assuming we didn't eat it before then. Great longevity.
I will admit to having issues receiving the same thing over and over. Like carrots. The growers send what they have, and if you're not a fan of something, you can call and tell them to lay off the sweet potatoes. Of course, I never did. I forgot.
I do think that if you are someone looking to explore new veggies, you'll love Farmhouse Delivery. I never would have discovered kohlrabi, and my love for it without them.
If you're wondering which delivery service I ultimately opted for, it was Greenling. I deliberated for a month before realizing that even though I loved the discovery of Farmhouse Delivery, I wasn't using all the things that were showing up. I don't want to be wasteful, and it does cost money, so I decided that it would be best to cancel.
FYI, Farmhouse Delivery was amazing with cancelling. Since you can use it seasonally, they don't mind if you cancel. I wasn't guilted for it, I just called and told them my name and said they would pick up my bin on the next delivery day. I may consider using them again when I have more money to burn, as they are so friendly, and I do love surprises, even if it is food.
I hope you can make a nicely informed decision from my review. IF you have questions about my experience, you can always comment here, and I will answer it so everyone can see.
Enjoy your Thursday!