6 Reasons to Stock Your Fridge Via a Produce Delivery Service
Chances are, you’ve gone to the grocery store after meal planning only to discover they’re out of some key item you need to make your lunches and dinners for the week. It’s frustrating and disappointing when you really want to try, say, cauliflower steaks, but the store only has frozen bags of florets.
Rather than going to another supermarket (and dealing with the hassle of masking up, waiting in line, social distancing, etc.), consider trying a produce delivery service. You pay a flat rate each week for a box full of fruits and vegetables that’s delivered right to your door. The food is sometimes local and usually seasonal, and some services share food that might otherwise end up in a landfill (only based on its looks).
They tell you what will be in your box each week so you can meal prep accordingly — and sometimes share recipes based on what’s in your stash.
Why Sign Up for a Produce Delivery Service?
1. Boost your creativity.
The “surprise” element of a weekly produce box may inspire you to try something new and get creative in the kitchen.
And that may help you try new recipes, since you need to figure out what to do with rutabagas, Swiss chard, or blood oranges.
2. Ensure you have plenty of produce on hand.
If you shop at the wrong time these days, you might find the produce aisle picked over. A weekly home delivery eliminates that risk.
Gans loves “that you are stocking up your home every week with fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s an assurance that you get them.”
3. Help farmers and offset food waste.
Plus, produce delivery services aren’t only good for you. Many support local farmers and help reduce food waste. That’s a win-win!
7 Produce Delivery Services to Try Right Now
Ready to order? Consider one of these services. (Note: Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, some companies are not taking new customers or have waiting lists, but this may change at any time.) Shipping rates and delivery areas are also subject to change.
Don’t be alarmed if you find twisted carrots, bent zucchini, and extra-large citrus in a box from Misfits Market. In an effort to reduce food waste, the company ships high-quality organic produce that otherwise would be thrown away because it doesn’t look “perfect.”
“Ugly vegetables are just as healthy and good for you as what we perceive as being ‘pretty’ veggies,” Gans explains.
And, in this instance, they cost 25% to 40% less than they would in grocery stores. Pick one of the two box sizes, then add items from the marketplace, such as organic grains, chocolate, coffee, fresh herbs, canned goods, and specialty produce like pineapple, avocados, and berries.
Availability: 23 states in the eastern part of the US, plus Washington, D.C.
Price: starts at $22
Farmbox Direct sources produce from farms in your area and emails your every week to share what’s available. Choose a small, medium, or large box that contains organic fruit, vegetables, or both fruit and veggies.
Or select one of the “juicing” boxes if you DIY a lot of juices. You can make up to five substitutions and also add artisanal items and other groceries.
Availability: large regions of the US (plug in your ZIP code to double-check)
Price: starts at $43.95
Hungry Harvest hooks you up with “consciously sourced” produce that grocery stores would reject based on looks (but that’s totally fine to eat). Tell them where you live, whether you want only organic produce, how often you cook, and for how many people, and they’ll suggest boxes of greens, fruit, and vegetables for you.
You can also opt for only vegetables or just fruit, remove any items you dislike, and add extras like yogurt, cheese, nuts, coffee beans, and Beyond Meat.
In addition to reducing food waste, Hungry Harvest aims to help end hunger. The company donates to local hunger-solving organizations, and a portion of every box supports Produce in a SNAP. This program hosts reduced-cost community markets in the Baltimore area that are open to everyone.
Availability: parts of the East Coast
Price: starts at $15
Shipping: free for orders over $29.99; otherwise $3.49
Say hello to convenient healthy cooking and goodbye to sad desk lunches! Fill out a food profile, and Hungryroot curates a box of goodies that are all free of partially hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives.
This can include prepped veggies (like “noodles,” greens, and pre-cut stir-fries), whole grains, meat, plant-based proteins, sauces, desserts, and snacks like oats, granola, and crackers.
These ingredients are easy and fun to combine into quick, tasty meals, such as the 10-minute recipes Hungryroot suggests. You can tell them if you have dietary needs (vegan, gluten-free, pescatarian, tree nut-free, and more). Also, you can tailor your box so it’s heavy on breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, or even healthy sweets.
Availability: the contiguous US
Price: starts around $60
Shipping: free for ground shipping; $10 for air shipping
These guys aren’t just about fruit. You can also buy boxes of fruit and vegetables. Whether you want organic or conventional, most everything comes from small, sustainable, independent, and family-run farms in your area.
The “staples” box has common items such as bananas, oranges, apples, and one seasonal fruit, while the “harvest” box is mostly seasonal items and bananas. FruitGuys donates excess fruit to organizations that fight hunger and provides grants to small farms.
Price: starts at $30
Similar to Misfits Market and Hungry Harvest, Imperfect Foods delivers “ugly” produce that looks funny but is still nutritious and healthy. Pick from organic or conventionally grown produce, and then add meat and/or fish, snacks, dairy, and grains to your box.
You can also remove any items you don’t want if, say, you don’t like radishes. Bonus: It all costs up to 30% less than it would in supermarkets.
Availability: about half of the US, aside from parts of the Southwest, Rocky Mountain states, and the Southeast
Price: starts at $16
7. Local providers and CSAs
If these options aren’t available where you live, search for produce delivery providers in your region. Or, ask vendors at your local farmers market if they have any recommendations. More small farms are offering these services, especially as people are trying to support local and avoid long lines (and empty shelves) at big grocery stores.
For example, Mother Earth Food services Asheville, North Carolina, and Greenville and Spartanburg in South Carolina. And, Green Bean Delivery is available in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Missouri. You might find that local farms offer weekly deliveries, including the more traditional CSA or community-supported agriculture.