Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Boston Organics

One of my non-financial goals for 2006 is to eat more fruits and vegetables. This was a lot easier for us to do when we split a share in a CSA farm for a few years, and I enjoyed contributing to something that was important to me all while eating yummy organic and bio-dynamic veggies.

So for the last two years or so our vegetable intake has been pathetic. We're talking spinach or lettuce based salads and green beans. My grandfather had a huge garden and grew tons of vegetables when I was little so I like my veggies and fruits to actually taste good so the usual supermarket offerings don't get me excited. And LaLa's not really a veggie fan (her lack of enthusiasm upon tasting a farm fresh Sun Gold cherry tomato in the early days of our relationship was nearly a dealbreaker...but that's another story) so what I really need is a manageable amount of vegetables (fruit would be bonus...I am so tired of apples) to just show up at my house.

So I was sitting in my home office before the holiday when I saw a vision in white drive by my house. A white van with a "Boston Organics" logo zipped by. "To the internet!" I said to my cat Boo (who is really more of a baked goods fan) and lo and behold I found Boston Organics online. And here is what is so exciting about them:

They bring organic vegetables and/or fruits....TO YOUR HOUSE!

Isn't that just genius?

You can choose the box size ($25 or $35) and the frequency (weekly or every other) as well as fruit, veg, or mix (50/50 or 2/3). AND you get to specify things you never want in your box (no bell peppers please! They HATE me!). Did I mention that they bring it right TO YOUR HOUSE? Oh, I did? Well...the owner is committed to supporting local agriculture so he mostly uses local farms when our (somewhat short) growing season is upon us and during the cold weather months he augments from organic farms in warmer climates.

So I had to have the fruit vs. veg talk with LaLa and I signed up right before we left. I chose to start out with a $25 veg box every other week. When we returned we had a spanky green box on our back porch filled with organic veggies ("Where's the fruit?" she asked. "Errrr....it's complicated". So of course she punished me by buying more apples). We had our artichokes tonight. Yum. I felt like I got a good value for my $25 too, which is most important. There was a fair amount in the box including: lettuce, arugula, cauliflower, 2 artichokes, avocado, onions, sweet potatoes and kale (and probably a thing or two more I can't remember right now)

So one week in and it's working so far...somehow I am clearly the vegetable wrangler, so I better get some fruit delivered ASAP so I can spread the load. Honestly I am hoping I can do $25 each week but alternate between vegetables and fruit. That would be $100 on produce (roughly) a month which I think will help us overall on our food budget. My fallback is to do $35 every other week with maybe a 50/50 split.

I plan to use this service and some other techniques to keep the food budget under control this year.

It seems similar services exist in other metro areas and if you are interested definitely start googling. You might also want to check out this thread on Treehugger. Not everyone there is a fan of Boston Organics because he is not 100% local but I think his business model is realistic and will appeal to more folks than those who solely want to each what is locally in season (my artichoke was goooooood). Anyway, several cities with similar businesses are mentioned there too. Have a peek OR I strongly suggest you check out CSA in your area too!

Happy Eating!


  1. Very interesting.... I think I may have to check them out. I also made a New Years resolution to eat more fresh fruit and veggies. I am also thinking of trying to grow some of my own this Spring/Summer. Cool find - thanks for posting about it!

  2. I did a similar service in Seattle called Pioneer Organics. I got a $25 vegetable box every two weeks. The veggies were great, but I eventually discontinued the service because I found that most of the veggies were best when used in the first 2-3 days. I'm curious to hear how this works out for you going forward.

  3. That is actually a concern of mine but at least with the first delivery there appears to be a mix of veggies that perish at different rates.

    I have been conscious of what order to eat them in too. Focusing on the lettuce and the avocado (the avocado was a disappointment...unripe on the day of delivery - expected - but nearly all "bad" by the 3rd day WTF?) first. Then moving on the the artichokes and arugula (which supposedly keeps for 10 days when stored properly). And I've saved onions, sweet potatoes, kale and cauliflower for this remaining week.

    When I did CSA I found that the veggies lasted a VERY long time (weeks!) since they were very fresh. I do hope that BO continues to provide extremely fresh mix of perishable rates or I do believe they'll lose customers (as PO lost you) I think that's an important thing to nail to ensure success in this business.

    I'll keep you all posted!

    Oh, and I did successfully add a $25 fruit box on alternating Tuesdays. Wheee!

  4. The avocado must be a tough one-- you know there is no way he is growing those anywhere near Boston! So that might be one better bought in a store...
    I am intrigued by these kinds of services, and I think they have them in Brooklyn too, but I think it would be hard for me to get my money's worth out of it, as just one person. Also, I am really picky about my fruits and veggies and am not sure I would trust anyone else's judgment. And it would be a pain in the ass to wait for the delivery-- leaving things on doorsteps isn't always the best idea here!

  5. I am hoping the avocado was an anomaly. It seemed unripe when it arrived and BO typically has posession for less than 48hrs. From their site:

    How fresh is your produce?
    In general the produce does not stay in our possession for more than 48 hours. Produce is often delivered fresh from our suppliers on the day of delivery. We order only what we need for each delivery day.

    Regarding the hassle for delivery, I did read on BO that they are bonded and insured for the purposes of accepting things like keys and gate codes and the like. I'm *sure* that has to be true of any NYC area company (but of course that may not feel comfortable regardless)

    If I was single, I'd probably do a $25 box every other week and split it between veg and fruit (2/3 veg maybe) and I think that would be a "one person" allocation...you never know until you poke around :)

    But I'm still experimenting...I do think this will help structure our food spending AND help me meet a goal of eating more fruits and veggies so I'm committed to making a go of it. I'm hoping LaLa will make the full committment once the fruit box shows up ;)

  6. I think anyone wanting to eat organic/healty food should start to look in your local grocery stores, where I live they are starting to sell organic foods at Safeway(they always sold but those brands were expense for the grocery budget) for really cheap, pasta cost just about $2.00 and spaghetti sauce is about $3.00, their also putting out milk which is quite expensve but cheaper than most brands here in Hawaii at $5.00.

  7. I wish I had the discipline to do one of these things. I think Savvy Saver also does this or thought about it.

    Unfortunately I already have a 50% mortality rate on fresh veggies in my house.I'm constantly checking for signs of green fuzz... not good.


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