This past week I tried out a couple different produce services to compare prices and quantity. We try to eat almost all organic produce and need to find the most budget friendly ways to do so. Below are two options that offer organic produce boxes. I’ve broken down how much each service costs, how you have to pick it up and then what each box included. I based the servings of each item on what they would be for our family and then calculated the cost per serving.
Based on what we got in each box, the cost, reliability and ease of pick up I prefer the Full Circle Farm option. This option also allows you to omit items that you never want (say you don’t like them or you have an allergy) and they will substitute more of another item for you if it was scheduled to be in the box for that week. They also offer the option of adding on additional items at a reasonable cost. You can also log in and see what is planned for the upcoming box about 5-6 days before your scheduled pick up day—this is great if you do menu planning. We’ve signed up for the every other week option at this time. We are upgrading from the standard box to a family size on our next order. I think we should be able to get by with the family size box and then just having to supplement some produce standards like bananas, apples, salad mix as needed from the store. I plan on recalculating the cost per serving on the next order and adding in supplemental produce we pick up in between orders to see what our average weekly produce cost is running. I’m shooting to keep it around $30-$35. (Currently if we buy all items at the store on our weekly shopping trip it is running more around $40 or so).
Now the Bountiful Baskets options was only about $.12 more per serving than Full Circle Farm. While this is a difference in cost, it was not the main reason I chose Full Circle Farm over Bountiful Baskets. Bountiful Baskets is a food co-op, run by volunteers. This is a marvelous idea and an excellent way to save on fresh produce. They offer conventional and organic produce boxes. The conventional box is available every week in our area and is a steal at $16.50 (I’ve never broken it out per serving but the quantity of produce is amazing). Plus sometimes you have the option to add on additional items. If you don’t mind conventional produce this is the way to go for budget-minded households (we used to order it almost every week before we switched to organic). The organic option is rather random so this would be very unreliable for us to count on each week or even every other week. For example, the last time I remember an organic box before the one we just got was last November. The other factors that make Full Circle Farm more appealing are that with Bountiful Baskets: you will never know what you are getting in your box until you pick it up and the closest pick up site for me is about 15 minutes from my house at 7am on Saturday. That’s pretty early to have to be up an ready on a weekend and get back before my husband leaves for work so we don’t have to drag the little one out that early.
I know there is an additional company in our area that offers produce boxes: Fresh Abundance. I’m going to stick with Full Circle Farm for several orders and see how things go before testing about Fresh Abundance and comparing their service, price and produce to Full Circle Farm. I’ll post an update on that in a couple months.
Have any good produce shopping or saving tips? Do you know where to find the best looking organic produce? Do you shop all organic or a mix of conventional and organic? click here for a list of the best and worst conventional produce items. I’d love to hear your tips, thoughts and comments. Leave a post.
Cost: $33, we used a Groupon that cost $16 for this order
Type: 100% Organic
Pick Up Type: Pick up Thursdays downtown Spokane, between 3-7p
1.5lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes (should equal about 4 servings)
2 Red Onions (should be good for 3-4 meals as they are very large)
3 Cameo Apples (3 servings)
3 D’anjou Pears (3 servings)
1 bunch Broccoli (should be enough to have in 1 meal, about 3 servings)
1 Mango (1 serving)
4 Minneola Tangelos (4 servings)
1 bunch Radishes (2 servings)
1 Tomato (2 servings)
1 bunch Rainbow Chard (2 servings)
1 head Red Leaf Lettuce (4 salads/servings)
1 bunch Spinach (3 salads/servings)
Total Fruit Servings: 11
Total Veggie Servings: 24
Total Servings: 35
Average Cost per Serving: $.94 w/o Groupon, $.46 w/Groupon
1 bunch Baby Bok Choy (2 servings)
2 Texas Honeygold Grapefruit (2 servings)
Add On total $5.78
Total Fruit servings with Add On: 13
Total Veggie servings with Add On: 26
Total Servings with Add On: 39
Average Cost per Serving with Add On: $.99 w/o Groupon, $.56 w/Groupon
Note: Box Prices will be going up $2 next order. I’m also upsizing to the Family Size box so our box cost will be $44. I will do a break-down next order to see how we fair per serving cost with the upgrade and increase.
Bountiful Baskets Box
Size: Only One Size Available
Type: 100% Organic
Pick Up Type: Pick up Saturdays in Liberty Lake at 7am.
1lb. Strawberries (4 servings)
4 Bananas (4 servings)
1 Pineapple (4 servings)
2 Mangos (2 servings)
4 Apples (4 servings)
1 head Green Leaf Lettuce (4 salads/servings)
1 bunch Red Chard (2 servings)
1 pack white button mushrooms (2 servings)
Total Fruit Servings: 18
Total Veggie Servings: 8
Total Servings: 26
Average Cost per Serving: $1.06