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Farm Fresh Delivery: Organic, locally grown foods delivered to my door

As I sat on the hotel bed in Michigan, it occurred to me that I should have warned my roommate that a crate full of vegetables would be arriving on our doorstep that day. I had recently signed up for Farm Fresh Delivery, and had been meaning to mention it to my roommate, but it kept slipping my mind. When I returned home, I was happy to see my crate in the front hallway, like a late Christmas gift waiting to be unpacked!

Farm Fresh Delivery crate

Farm Fresh Delivery is a service offered in Indianapolis and Cincinnati that delivers to your door, fresh, organic produce that has been grown locally. There are similar services offered across the country, so I’d recommend that you search Google to see if there is one in your area. This site, Greenling, seems to have a directory.

I have been thinking of signing up for Farm Fresh Delivery on and off for several years now, ever since a blog reader left me a comment mentioning it. Several times in the past few years I would go to their web site, browse around, think about ordering, and then drop the idea because I wasn’t sure if I could afford it or if I’d use all the produce before it rotted.

Farm Fresh Delivery crate contents: Cat not included.

This year I finally gave them my credit card information after I did some budget analysis. You have to place a minimum $35 order, and you have the option of receiving deliveries every other week. That means I’d be spending about $70 a month on produce. I’ve been tracking my expenses carefully lately, and when I looked at my grocery budget, I figured that I probably spend at least $70 a month on produce anyway, so why not get it delivered directly to my door? Organic foods are supposed to taste better anyway, and I’d be supporting local farmers, so I can feel good about it.

The real tipping point though was the home delivery. I’ve gotten sick of going to the grocery every 4 or 5 days just to buy fresh produce, so the idea of having the food arrive on my doorstep is really appealing. I’m also the kind of person who likes the idea of organic foods and supporting local farmers and eating “real” foods and not processed “fake” foods, but I don’t want to have to go out of my way to do it. I don’t want to visit a farmer’s market every weekend. So, this is a nice compromise. There is also the option to add other food items to your cart, such as coffee, honey, milk, baked goods and more, which I might take advantage of later.

Vegetables and fruits! Cat not included.

Opening my crate was so much fun! It was like someone had sent me presents: green, leafy, organic, edible presents. I enjoyed peeking into the brown bags to discover what was in the crate this week, and then trying to match the items to the list on the invoice. It took me awhile to identify the beets, which I initially mistook for turnips. The food items change weekly depending on what is in season, so hopefully I’ll get better at playing Name That Vegetable.

I also hope receiving this crate of veggies will encourage me to make new dishes, and to eat more vegetables. I’m good about eating fruits, since they are sugary and delicious, but veggies have never had much appeal to me. Hopefully I will keep up with the deliveries and eat everything before it goes bad. I’ll let you guys know how it goes!

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37 Comments

Adam @ Turnupmyworkout.com • January 4, 2010 at 9:23 am

Wow this is very cool. They had a similar service to this when I lived in Vermont, but I have yet to find anything like it here in CT. I wish I could because it was the best.

Does it ever freak you out that you can go to the grocery store and get certain fruits and vegetables year round even though you know they are not in season? Where do they come from? Clearly not organic.

Great post and your veggies looks so tasty!!

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Sacha • January 4, 2010 at 9:56 am

We did this for several months a few years ago. Some friends at work were doing it and then a bunch more of us got started. The whole point was for our family to eat more fresh fruits and veggies and it worked…for a while…until we weren’t good about using up the produce and started wasting more than we ate. Ugh.

BUT! My husband has mentioned wanting to do this again, saying that we don’t eat as much fresh vegetables as we should, and I did indeed enjoy the aspect of having the stuff arrive at the door. The convenience factor was what convinced me the first time.

You do know that you can customize the bin, right? You don’t mention that in this post but FFD certainly allows that. As a matter of fact, that’s why we chose it over a CSA — we didn’t want to be limited to what was grown locally seasonally.

Good luck!

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Sheryl • January 4, 2010 at 10:19 am

– I will get my first delivery from a similar place, http://orv.naturesgardendelivered.com/index.php on Wed.!

It works just about the same way. I have the same ideas in mind, too — less trips to the store, and some motivation to try new things. This one, they tell you a few days ahead what you’ll be getting, and you can make up to 3 “swaps” for free — I swapped 2 oranges for a box of mushrooms!

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Gara • January 4, 2010 at 10:37 am

I just ordered this too! (Mine is Fresh Picks in Chicago). My first shipment arrives at work on Wednesday!

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Danielle • January 4, 2010 at 10:51 am

You know what’s really cool? You get your vegetables without going to the grocery store, which can be a minefield of temptation – bakery, treats at the cash, etc. etc.

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Lyn • January 4, 2010 at 11:02 am

Beets are super delicious. Don’t peel them, just put them whole into boiling water until you can poke them with a fork and they are tender. THEN peel them, the skins slip right off. But your fingers will be red. And your pee might be red too, so don’t go rushing to the ER about it.

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Lisa • January 4, 2010 at 12:02 pm

That’s pretty cool, but oranges growing locally to Indianapolis? Really?

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Tiffany S. • January 4, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I love this post because I’ve been kicking around this idea for months. We have great CSA’s out here but haven’t done the analysis yet. We just got IWork this weekend and it has a money program in it so once we figure out spending then I can see if it’s worth it. I think you have to pick up the best ones here – but some do deliver. Unfortunately, there isn’t ONE that everyone loves. Can’t wait to hear what you create!

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Kelly • January 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm

This post reminded me of something I’ve been meaning to mention to you for a couple of weeks: I found a new produce for you to lick. Buddha’s Hands!

I will have to check out that directory site. The idea of having produce delivered directly to my door is quite appealing.

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PastaQueen • January 4, 2010 at 12:22 pm

@Lisa – The word “locally” is taken more in a global sense. The pears I got were from Wisconsin. I’m not sure where the oranges are from, but it’s probably Florida, as apposed to Chile.

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auntjone • January 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

What a fabulous service! I’ve kicked around the idea of a half-share at a local CSA The plus is I get to pick and choose what I want from the vendors at a farmer’s marker so I wouldn’t get stuck with a bunch of stuff I don’t like or cant’ use. The downside is the drive. It is only 20 minutes but I’d have to make a weekly trip and if I didn’t have anything else to do in that town it would seem like a waste of time and resources and defeat the purpose of buying organic/local/sustainable. If I’m burning fuel to get it and not making the most of my trip is it really worth it?

And, what do you do with the crate? Do you keep it until your next delivery and they take it back? I love the idea, just wondering about the logistics.

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PastaQueen • January 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

@auntjone – Yeah, you’re supposed to leave the crate on your front porch on the day of your next delivery.

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Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • January 4, 2010 at 2:02 pm

LOVE IT!!! I am so googling it now…. btw – you had me at “home delivery”!

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Jen • January 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm

What a great service! We did a CSA one summer but found that variety was sometimes an issue. One week we’d get bags and bags of collard greens, the next nothing but tomatoes. This looks like a great option. Enjoy!

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anonymous fat girl • January 4, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I had no idea they did this. Way cool. Only problem is I live in the frozen tundra of Northern Michigan. So I doubt they deliver to us losers up here. LOL Still a great idea though!

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Quix • January 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

That’s such a great idea – if I could find one that you can pick and choose your delivery items with what’s in season, that would rock. I like most veggie and fruits well enough, but my hubby is very picky, and I’d be afraid of it going to waste (which seems like it totally goes against the whole concept).

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Ashley • January 4, 2010 at 3:55 pm

If the beets came with their greens still attached, don’t throw them away. Stir fried beet greens are awesome. I will even go to the farmers market and ask at stands that have beets if they have any extra beet greens that other customers didn’t want.

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G.G. • January 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I can’t get home delivery in my area, and it’s been hard to find a CSA that will accept either new members or someone who can’t contribute labor, but hopefully services like that will become more common. I’ve been able to find a terrific local Natural Foods Co-op, though, which is the best I can do (for now).

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The Running Phoodie • January 4, 2010 at 8:38 pm

That’s so fun! I always feel bad when buying produce that I know was grown across the country, or even in another country. So not green! I will have to look into this. Hope you find something tasty to do with those beets!

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Rahim • January 4, 2010 at 8:38 pm

That sounds like an excellent service. It reminds me of the defunct Web Van service that was out in the late 90′s. I’ll definitely be looking for a service like this in Atlanta.

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Leigh Ann • January 4, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Oh, that’s so cool. I don’t think we have anything like that where I live (which is not the middle of nowhere, but certainly the edge of it). I wish we did. I’ll be interested to see how it works for you.

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becky • January 4, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Such a great idea! I want to open up a box full of fruits and veggies!

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Trishie • January 5, 2010 at 1:11 am

Mmmmm. Beets.

I like beets on my salads. Greek especially. Add some chicken and some homemade viniger and oil, and it is fab. I think I eat the pickled beets, but I’m not sure. I eat mine out of the jar.

Let us know if you find something really yummy to do with them! I would love to have a new recipe to add to my now no carb diet!

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PurpleGirl • January 5, 2010 at 2:23 am

That’s so awesome! There’s one in my area, too. If I ever get back on my feet ……

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Danielle • January 5, 2010 at 10:20 am

In no way am I knocking the idea of supporting local, small-scale farmers. I think what they’re doing is great (Has anybody seen Food Inc.?)

But here’s an alternative view of the 100-mile diet. Interesting, and he has a point. (He’s talking about Toronto, ON, but I’m sure this argument is relevant for any location that currently has snow on the ground)

http://www.torontolife.com/features/25-ideas-are-changing-world/?pageno=22

Food for thought.

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thin100 • January 5, 2010 at 11:38 am

Love your blog! I love the idea of fresh local produce delivered to your door. What a great idea! I have a hard time getting the veggies in to. Fruit is easy.

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Hot Mother • January 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Oh, fudge (no, I didn’t really say ‘fudge’, but I’m on good behavior here). Greenling does not deliver here in Tennessee. But – a ray of hope! – there’s another service that does. But – hope dashed! – they’re apparently out of business.

I guess I’ll have to keep on trekking to the grocery store. :-(

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Must Be Motherhood • January 5, 2010 at 1:29 pm

We’ve been getting Farm Fresh for over a year now and love it. Love the customization factor AND the fact that you can throw in some Trader’s Creamery stuff or home made lasagna noodles or organic raisins, etc.

Also, these guys are great because, unlike the delivery I got in Boston, they never yell at you or FINE you for forgetting to put out last week’s bin. I’ve accidentally horded 3 at a time without negative comment!

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anji • January 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm

love the entry :)

If you’re up to trying something new, I’d suggest looking into a dehyrdator. We just got one, haven’t tried it yet but – it might extend the life of some of your foods. You’d want to maybe look into what would be good and not so good to try.

Also, if you’re getting to the end of their shelf-life, don’t forget you can just make a big ol’ soup and freeze them into individual servings…. you can probably put them into ziplock bags if you don’t have the room for the stackable ziplock/tupperware containers. You can also give some away to people too, if you find you’re stockpiling too much. Any older people in your area? you could always give them some of your extra left-overs. You’d make an old-persons day and how wonderful it’d be for them to have something home-made that they can take out of the freezer when needed. Also is good for the karma-o’metre :)

… or, share with the roommate??

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Mymsie • January 6, 2010 at 12:13 pm

A friend and I signed up for this and shared deliveries for a few months. I liked some things about it but we ended up canceling. For one thing, the produce is not all local, which I was bummed to learn. Also a lot that we got was just before going off. Finally, no matter how hard I tried, I never could eat all of the produce and we were sharing the smallest delivery possible. Bummer. :(

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auntjone • January 6, 2010 at 12:47 pm

@PastaQueen – Neat! Wish more companies would do that.

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Karen • January 8, 2010 at 9:46 am

I love how the cat’s all, “food? Foodfoodfood? Foodformefoodfood?”

Pity we can’t see the “*meh* – it’s only veggies. Never mind” reaction shots once kitty discovers there’s no meat or fish in that big green box.

X D

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Mason Arnold • January 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Thanks for the plug on our directory. If anyone knows of delivery services that we missed, please go to http://www.greenling.com/about/contact_us with the website and we’ll get it on the directory.

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Jess • January 14, 2010 at 4:37 pm

How is it that I live in Cincinnati and have not heard of this service? I need to get out more. Thanks for the info!

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Johanna • January 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I do this in Stockholm, Sweden. You can buy six different kinds of crates and all kinds of extras, such as bread, pasta, fish, shell fish, lasagne, juice and olive oil. It makes shopping so much easier, especially on my arms and back, when you don’t need to carry loads of heavy food items on public transport!

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sundari • March 15, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Okay, great recipes for these:

Fast, Tasty, Healthy Chard & Pasta
Serves 2

- 1 bunch chard (any kind)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 3 fresh roma tomatoes, peeled & diced OR 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/4-1/2 cup water
- dry chili flakes, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- olive oil
- penne pasta (whole wheat is fine)
- pecorino romano, to garnish

Get water boiling, and put in 2 servings worth of pasta.

Meanwhile, remove the long stems from end of the chard and discard (or if you like them, you can use them, too). Stack and roughly chop the leaves. They should be in big chunks.

In a hot pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Add the garlic and fry it for a minute or two, to release the garlicky goodness into the oil. Add the dry chili flakes and tomatoes. Stir fry for another couple of minutes. Now add the chard, folding it into the ingredients slowly. Add 1/4 cup of water, you can add up to 1/2 cup if you want it more saucy. Cover and steam the chard down until it’s cooked. When it’s cooked, remove the lid and boil off the excess liquid.

Meanwhile, drain the pasta and put it into a large bowl. It should still be hot when you add the chard mixture. Toss together. Taste and add salt if needed, OR add some pecorino romano to garnish. This is a salty sheepsmilk hard cheese; a little goes a long way. You don’t want to use salt AND this cheese together.

For the dill, you can chop it up and serve it in salads, you can use it to perfume fish (use it and a few slices of lemon and even orange with salmon or any other kind of fish), you can use it in borscht (there’s a great recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant Broccoli Forest cookbook)… the possibilities are endless.

Good luck!

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Indianapolis Cake Bakery • July 14, 2010 at 7:42 pm

We actually had something very similar to this when we lived in Chicago. It’s such a great service and for the money you can’t beat it.

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