The biggest of these is trying to eat more local, organic produce. I wrote a few months ago about trying out Rawfully Organic, a local co-op. Last week I used a Groupon to test out Greenling, a Texas-based company delivering organic (and often local) foods. These two companies are both great options if you are moving toward more local and organic foods. I thought I'd do a little comparison that might help you figure out which is best for you.
Price: $48/half-share, $88/full share, various prices on other produce
Where: Tuesday pick-up at the Houston Arboretum (4501 Woodway), Thursday pick-up at Nottingham Forest Club (325 Kickerillo)
What Makes It Unique: Fully non-profit, this co-op was founded by Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, a graduate of Rice University, and is run by volunteers. The Rawfully Organic site has lots of great recipes and ideas for raw eating, something founder Kristina is passionate about.
My Experience: I loved this. It really is a big change to get a big box of pre-sorted produce rather than choosing your own from the aisle in the grocery store. I took this as a challenge and tried new things and new recipes. We order a half-shares and this stretches for two weeks, with a few additional things I bought from the store (mostly great sales I couldn't pass up). There are many more greens than I usually have, so salads became a star of the weekly meals and I also learned how to cook things like kale and beets. There were tons of apples and oranges and I ate probably the most fruit ever in my life on the weeks we ordered. I hardly had room in my fridge for the half share--the boxes are HUGE. I didn't mind the pick-up--very efficient and fairly close to my house. You also get 3 additional "points" for a half-share (6 for a full) and can use your points to shop from a table and choose extra goodies that your box may not contain. If you don't like something in your share, you can also trade out for apples or oranges.
a glance at the box of half-shares: HUGE!
Price: Local box $34.99, other prices vary for organic produce, meats, dairy, and other products. $10 refundable fee for delivery box.
Where: Home delivery
What Makes It Unique: Founded by Mason Arnold, a graduate from University of Texas, this company aims to help people have access to fresh, local, organic produce. With Greenling, high-tech business ideas meet basic needs in a way that is friendly to the environment.
Greenling site makes ordering easy and they are very specific about what will come in the local box. It is also really nice that you can order things like meat and cheese, not just produce. I'm not sure exactly how the returning of the refundable boxes works if you do not order again, but my understanding is that if you return them without re-ordering, you will be refunded the $10.
What works for YOU?
I would definitely recommend both of these options. I loved the variety and ease of selection with Greenling, plus convenience of home delivery. For us, I think Rawfully Organic is a better fit. Strictly comparing the Greenling Local Box with the half-share from Rawfully Organic, with RO you are paying a little more for a whole lot more food. I was disappointed with the lack of fruit in the Greenling local box--two oranges and two grapefruit. (But this week I saw their local boxes have strawberries--YUM!) With RO we sometimes struggle to eat all the fruit--you could even order a whole or half share of fruit if your family is really into it or if you are juicing.
There was not as much specificity in ordering (though the Rawfully Organic site does give an updated idea of what to expect in each box), and no packing slip, so I definitely had to look up what some of the greens were in the box I received. But again, I like adventures, so this was fun for me. For whatever reason, the produce I get from Rawfully Organic seems to outlast other produce--whether Greenling, non-organic grocery, or organic grocery-purchased. It's magic? I'm not sure why this is.
We do plan to start growing our own food from heirloom seeds, but building the raised bed is being held off until we get things like that pesky kitchen finished. If you are looking to make a change in your eating, both Rawfully Organic and Greenling would be great ways to get started.