Vegetable Delivery: Week 1

Vegetable Delivery: Week 1


As much as I like veggies, I have a hard time picking them out in my local markets. Sometimes the selection is slim, the food is bruised, or I just don’t know what it is. I’ve found myself eating not nearly as many fruits/vegetables as I’d like to so I looked around for a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

The general concept is in-season fruits/veggies from local farms are selected and picked-up or delivered weekly to members. This forces you to learn how to prepare unfamiliar foods and provides a well-rounded selection of healthy items.

CSA Costs

I was recommended Urban Organics from a friend and recently signed up. It’s more of a vegetable delivery service than a local CSA but it brings vegetables to my door and that is what I wanted.

There is a one-time member fee of $24.99. They offer several different veggie boxes varying by size. The “original box” is $34.99 but I opted for the “little box” at $24.99. Plus, they stick on a delivery fee of $3.99 (for my borough at least).

That’s $29/week for a box of organic vegetables & fruits.

Considering I spend barely $100/mo on groceries to begin with, I can’t justify spending $120/mo just on vegetables alone. However, they do let you sign up for bi-weekly delivery, which is a much better alternative.

Even with doubts, I decided to sign-up anyway to try it out. While I cannot get the member-fee back, your credit card is charged only when your box is delivered so I can cancel at any time. At the very least, I can learn about new vegetables and continue to eat/cook with them if I do cancel the delivery.

Week 1 Box of Vegetable Delivery

In my first haul from Urban Organics I received the following (pictured above):

  • Kale
  • 2 apples
  • Red Chard
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 mangoes
  • 1 grapefruit
  • Green lettuce
  • Bag of carrots
  • Bag of string beans
  • 4 small russet potatoes

Total cost: $24.99/box plus $3.99 delivery fee.

Although this still seems a bit expensive, I will continue it for now and make a better judgement after a few more deliveries. My sense of food prices is quite skewed now so I have little sense of how much these would individually cost in a local market.

Due to costs, I have been against grocery delivery services like Fresh Direct although I do see the convenience of it. I am curious what others’ experiences of grocery delivery, csa’s, etc are? Did you find the extra costs worth it?


17 Replies to “Vegetable Delivery: Week 1”

  1. Quickly estimating, I think the haul above would run me about $20 from my local grocery store (non-organics). The mangoes are what really bump the price up as I saw those at my store a few days ago for $1.99 each.

    I need to start ordering my CSA box again.

      1. I can order different sized boxes (bags, actually) plus a bunch of stuff that they offer separately. Here are the prices of the basic bags:

        Mini Bag (6 items) ($23.00 + 3% Tax)
        Small Bag (7 items) ($26.00 + 3% Tax)
        Regular Bag (9 items) ($33.00 + 3% Tax)
        Large Bag (12 items) ($43.00 + 3% Tax)

        They also sell raw milk, organic coffee, pecans, and olive oil, plus often bulk fruit in season. Right now the special fruit offer is 30# of organic blueberries!

  2. So… I’d say Urban Organics is more of a grocery delivery program than a CSA. Especially at this time of year, most of their produce is likely coming from a distributor (and has been shipped from California or Mexico or where ever mangoes are grown, I don’t even know). A real winter CSA would have some greens, lots of root crops, apples, winter squash, dried beans, maybe wheat berries.

    Which is not to say there’s anything wrong with the Urban Organics model — I am definitely in favor of eating more veggies, however you get them. But you’re really paying a premium for the fact that the produce is delivered and not picked over by other customers. I guess it’s a question of what that’s worth to you. It might be worth looking into a real CSA for the summer months — they’re usually a great value, although you will probably have to pick it up somewhere which makes it less convenient.

    1. That is true, it is not exactly a CSA (work shifts are not required, etc). On their website they say: “We bulk-buy our produce, groceries and dairy goods from organic farmers’ cooperatives, distributors and individual farmers. We try to give our local farmers as much of our business as possible.”

      There was a label for Bryson Farms, located in Quebec, on the red chard & kale I received. Honestly, I don’t care about local & organic sources. I just want vegetables.

  3. Vegetables and fruits are really hit-or-miss in the grocery stores here. The one next to us has vegetables that look like they were recently liberated from a concentration camp; the one a few blocks down has vegetables that look like they were the ones doing the liberating.

    But about a 10 minute walk away, there’s a store that has a good selection of good looking and good tasting food. That’s been the case in nearly every neighborhood I’ve lived in here. (And for what it’s worth, the 10 minute store’s vegetables and fruits look even better than the delivery.)

    I don’t think I’d do a veg/fruit delivery simply because it looks like it might be too much – if I don’t eat them in time and they spoil, that’s food and money wasted.

    1. Worrying about the fresh food going bad was my main reason for choosing bi-weekly delivery. I hope that I’ll finish everything before that happens but if it does seem like too much, I’ll just cancel the service.

  4. we tried a similar service here in Chicago for a little while, our biggest issue was getting too much of some products we didn’t want like beet and not enough of others that we loved like fruits. We ended up with a lot of waste. There are only so many ways to eat beets in a two week period, and just went back to buying at the grocery store. That said I’m always tempted by the convenience of Peapod (just a general grocery service) and when they offer a free shipping I do it.

    1. I have looked into Peapod since in general it’s prices are lower than Fresh Direct. Glad to hear you have had a good experience with it. The service I’m using lets you exclude up to three items so you don’t get food you don’t like. So I can continue not eating oranges.

  5. I’ve always been intimidated by CSAs: I don’t really know how to cook the fruits and vegetables that I do know about, so getting nifty new produce seems overwhelming!

    However, I have a ton of experience with grocery delivery.
    In Seattle, I used Amazon Local. This had a high value: while there weren’t steep discounts, I thought the prices were reasonable and there weren’t delivery fees. It was also a good online interface and shopping was easy enough.

    In Chicago, I used Peapod. They charged a delivery fee, marked up their groceries, and fairly large tips were expected. Plus, the website is pretty terrible. They did have some fun specialty foods from local companies. However — if you are carless in the city, in winter especially — delivered groceries can be a huge convenience. I also tried a service called Meez Meals, which was amazing. They would plan menus for the week and deliver all of the ingredients you needed, along with recipe books. It was invaluable and also helped me learn more about cooking and get more comfortable in the kitchen.

    Now, I live in the Bay area and use Walmart Delivery. They by far have the best website, customer experience, and overall value of the services I’ve tried. I wish there was something comprobable to Meez Meals out here, but I haven’t found anything yet.

    I have also tried national food delivery services; of those, BistroMD did the best job — but all of of the national food delivery services that I’m aware of are very expensive.

    I hope your CSA turns out to be a great experience!

    1. I liked this service because you could easily tell them to skip a week if you were going on vacation. They only charged you for each delivery.

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