By now, many Edmontonians have heard of The Organic Box. Essentially it started out as a produce delivery company that would deliver fresh organic produce to your home every week. Now it has grown to allow for lots of room to customize the box you receive, you can choose the size of your box and the frequency of delivery, and they sell way more than just produce. Some people may think it’s just a convenient service to avoid going to the grocery store. And that it must cost a ton of money to use the service. I have been a member since they first started back in 2010 and am still a happily satisfied member. To be honest, I have used a few different grocery delivery services over the years. In fact, a friend of mine recently showed me this Misfits Market review. Misfits Market offers weekly and bi-weekly (once every two weeks) deliveries of misfit, discarded, and overstock produce. This means that any misshapen or ugly produce that fails to hit specific cosmetic guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can be sold on at a great price to consumers. Needless to say, I will definitely be checking them out at some point in the future.
Anyway, I was pregnant when I first heard about The Organic Box and my first reaction was: 1. This will be so convenient and I won’t need to grocery shop as much with the baby, and 2. This will be awesome for making baby’s first foods. So I signed up – at that time there were about 30 or so families signed up, and there was one old delivery van. At that time the box was a set list of items that they were able to get from local or close-by farmers. I was always impressed with the quality of the produce – if you wonder whether organic really makes a difference in taste and quality – it does. As The Organic Box grew to more and more members – from 30-something members to thousands – their ability to offer more variety and choices also grew. (They have several delivery vans now, decked out with reefer refrigeration units to keep your boxes in tip-top condition while they’re delivering, not unlike the refrigeration rentals you might find here – https://polarleasing.com/refrigerated-reefer-trailer-rentals). Now you can fully customize what items you want in your box to meet the standard price, and you can also do any add-ons you want. The add-ons offered allow you to save on going to the grocery store. Cereals, grains, baking supplies, bread, rice, milk and dairy products, chocolate, beverages, sauces, condiments, sweeteners, and now even organic meat and household cleaning products – these are just some of the offerings they have available. So should you sign up or shouldn’t you?
Things I love about The Organic Box:
1. It’s local – we are supporting our local economy, local farmers and producers. Not only that, but we are supporting them to be organic, healthy, and good to our environment.
2. It bridges the gap between consumer and producer. We’re used to shopping in grocery stores where produce magically appears, shiny and perfect-looking, and we have no idea where it came from unless it says on the sticker on the fruit. Danny and Miranda, the founders of The Organic Box, make sure that you know the people who are growing your food, where they are from, and what their philosophies are. Danny and Miranda have also recently acquired their own organic farm, Just-A-Mere Organic Farm in Creston, BC, and Danny drives produce back to Edmonton himself.
3. It is green in every way. Not only is everything they offer organic, but they practice what they preach in all aspects of their business. Their warehouse is run on 100% green electricity and green natural gas. They have a huge recycling bin outside the warehouse – recycling much more than they put in the landfill. They track the carbon emissions from their delivery vans and purchase carbon offsets. Their newsletter is available online so less paper is wasted.
4. It is a family-run business which means amazing customer service. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so if you get something a little dodgy in your box, all you have to do is use their Rate Your Box form online to let them know. They give a credit for a replacement item in your next delivery. I have always received a response to any inquiry.
Things you need to consider before signing up:
1. Organic produce (as it isn’t full of chemicals to make it look pretty in a supermarket for weeks on end) doesn’t last as long. You need to consider how much produce your family consumes in 1 or 2 weeks. My family of 3 (myself, my husband, and my toddler) get the standard box every 2 weeks. On the second week we do need to get a bit more at the grocery store, but we find that the biweekly delivery works well for us.
2. How much do you eat at home? Is it enough to actually use the produce you get? I made a commitment to make more meals at home. I joined a meal-planning website, The Fresh 20, that provides weekly meal plans and shopping lists to go with them. When I joined for 1 year, I also got access to their archives, so I have been browsing through different weekly menus and picking and choosing what I want to make. This way, when it’s time to complete the Choose Your Box on The Organic Box website, I have 2 weeks of menus flagged, and their shopping lists to help me pick what produce I need. The Fresh 20 offers a classic menu, a gluten-free menu, and a vegetarian menu.
3. Sometimes you won’t always get what you want. Because The Organic Box is working with real people to get real food – things like hailstorms or other climate effects can impact the produce you get. If you go the The Organic Box facebook page, they will often post updates on the status of items – whether they are too damaged, or whether they might be substituted for something else. So there are times that you may not get everything you wanted in your box (they will put it in your next box or credit you back for what was missing). But that’s life, isn’t it? We should be okay with that. We’re just so used to being an instant gratification society that we forget that people actually have to work and the weather has to cooperate for good food to be grown and harvested.
Perhaps I am a little over-gushy about The Organic Box – but I have been a member since 2010, and have been thoroughly impressed by what I get, as well as the business practices. As they have increased their offerings, I’ve been able to reduce the time I spend in a grocery store. I frequently get dried fruit in my box because they have it in bulk, so it is less than you would pay for in a package at an organic store.
So is signing up for The Organic Box worth it? You need to decide for yourself, but for me – the answer is a resounding “yes”.
Would you sign up for a grocery delivery service?
(Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post, the opinions expressed are purely my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase products via these links, a small percentage of the sale will be given to me at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting juicygreenmom.ca!)