For the past month, I subscribed to a home-delivery veggie box, or a seasonal bin, by New Roots Organics (NRO). New Roots delivers organic fruits and vegetables in the Puget Sound region. I signed up for bimonthly deliveries of their Standard Bin. They have small and standards sizes of fruit bins, vegetable bins, or a mix of the two in a Standard Bin.
This is how the Standard seasonal bin is delivered:
This is what is in the Standard seasonal bin:
New Roots is similar to a community-supported agriculture (CSA) share, but instead of procuring all of the produce from a single farm, they deliver and distribute organically grown produce from Washington, Oregon, California, and sometimes Mexico. They are basically a wholesaler of organic produce; they work with both small and large farms, and organic distributors to move organic produce to customers. For the most part, I've been pretty happy with the amount of produce in the Standard Bin. I signed up at the end of March, and have had three deliveries so far.
When I started this post, I wanted to write about meal planning using my new veggie box, but it somehow morphed into an unofficial review. Below, I've reviewed for diversity, quality, price or cost, and convenience.
Diversity. The Standard Bin is made up of about one-fourth fruit, and three-quarters vegetables. On average, my deliveries have contained 3 types of fruits, and about 9-10 types of vegetables. So far this spring, I've gotten cara cara oranges, navel oranges, cameo apples, cantaloupe, and lots of delicious strawberries. Of the ten types of veggies, there are usually 1-2 types of edible raw greens like lettuce or arugula, 1-2 types of cooking greens like kale, spinach, and collards, and a garden variety mix of about 5 other types of veggies which include: radishes, cucumbers, bell peppers, potatoes, leeks, red cabbage, spring onions, beets, carrots, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus. 5 out of 5 stars.
Quality. When compared to a farm share CSA the produce in the bins does not last as long, and does not appear to be as fresh as what one can purchase by supporting a CSA. Each delivery something has gone bad. The first delivery the yukon potatoes starting molding on day 3 and each of the oranges were dry and mealy inside. The second week, the arugula was yellow and wilted after day 5. In comparison, my previous CSA bagged fresh, young arugula, and it lasted at minimum 1 week in the fridge, and up to 2 weeks before it really started turning yellow and wilting. The third delivery, the cantaloupe began molding after a week. When I compare this to produce bought at the grocery store, the shelf life of both are about the same. A major selling point for me with the CSA is the freshness. While only a few items have gone bad, I am aware that the items were not all harvested that day or even close to the same schedule. I am keeping an open mind. I have not complained about these items, but I do feel that if there was a problem they would work to resolve it. 3 out of 5 stars.
Price. At $40.00 for a Standard Bin, the bins are priced competitively. For a household with two hungry adults, that cook most meals from scratch at home about 4-5 days per week, I find the cost both justifiable and reasonable. The Standard Bin lasts me two weeks. I have not calculated portion size per cost (new challenge with next delivery?), but if comparing purchasing the same amount of organic produce at a grocery store, I think New Roots beats the price. The first week I got my Standard Bin, I visited two nearby grocery store chains to price compare. I compared the costs of items delivered in the bin, to organic produce at the grocery store. In my very unscientific findings, I estimated that I think the cost of purchasing through NRO is much cheaper than purchasing the same through a grocery store. However, my Standard Bin does not include all the produce that I purchase. I still shop at both farmers' markets and grocery stores to purchase additional goods. If you cook a lot, are not afraid of vegetables, and believe in the costs and benefits of organic produce then New Roots is probably good for you. If you don't eat a lot of vegetables, don't have time to cook or prepare items, and buy the cheapest goods at the store, then NRO is probably not the best thing to invest in. Although, I would still think that it could be one of those life-changing moments for a lot of people. It feels like Christmas morning every time I get my bin. 5 out of 5 stars.
Convenience. NRO delivers the bins to your doorstep on a weekly or bimonthly rotation. Signing up is easy, and is done through their website or through calling them. Once signed up, you can change your orders, or add to it through their website. Any changes, delays, or cancellations should be made 1 day before the scheduled delivery day (the changes have to be received before 7 am on the delivery day). I recently had to put a delivery on hold, and I called, got through to a friendly customer service rep, and they put my delivery on hold. For me, the other part of convenience is having lots of veggies around. This makes meal planning a lot easier, and it also makes throwing meals together a lot of easier. 5 out of 5 stars.
Overall: New Roots Organics gets 4.5 out of 5 stars. I'm going to stick with them for a few more months.
My star rating is 1 star (hated it) to 5 stars (loved it).