With restaurants across the country temporarily shuttered and millions of Americans holed up at home cooking meals from scratch, the online grocery business is booming, with mega chains such as Whole Foods and Stop & Shop adding thousands of delivery positions to their ranks to meet the increased demand of digital orders.
Grocery delivery services have been a lifeline for consumers who can’t easily run to the supermarket and stock up. Reducing foot traffic in stores is also smart for social distancing, health experts from the CDC say. That said, sitting at home and clicking to fill a virtual cart isn’t quite the same as selecting fresh items in person. Online, it's not possible to stroll through the produce department and say, “The asparagus looks super crisp and green this week; let me grab some for dinner tomorrow,” or “Huh, I’ve never seen that variety of apple before—let’s buy a few and see how they taste.”
A modern crop of produce delivery services, many subscription-based, say they specialize in that sense of serendipity and surprise, with boxed assortments of fruits and vegetables that vary based on region, season, and weekly yields of local farms. If you’re getting bored with your standing supermarket order, these online fruit and veggie purveyors might feed you some fresh ideas.
Companies that deliver fresh produce to homes
Available in 43 states, this grocery subscription service aims to eliminate food waste with an emphasis on “ugly” produce—the kind often rejected by mainstream supermarkets for superficial reasons. Each week, shoppers select and box an assortment of mixed fruits and veggies based on customers’ general preferences. Before delivery, you’ll have a chance to review your selections, nix any you don’t want, and add to your box as needed. (Imperfect Foods also stocks pantry items, eggs, and dairy.) Customers who are enrolled in nutrition-assistance programs such as SNAP and WIC are eligible for reduced-cost boxes. Sign up for Imperfect Foods here.
As the consumer-facing spinoff of food-service wholesaler Riviera Produce, Grateful Produce assembles boxes for home delivery that are packed with an ever-changing array of fruits and veggies. Much as you would in a CSA program, you get whatever’s fresh and in season. A single box—your choice of organic or conventional—feeds up to 4 people for a week, the company says. You can also add items such as eggs, butter, and juice. During the coronavirus crisis, the company’s drivers will perform no-contact deliveries, texting customers with confirmation upon arrival. Shop Grateful Produce here.
Farm Fresh to You
This certified-organic produce subscription service partners with independent farms to pack boxes for various lifestyles and consumption preferences. The “Snack Pack,” for instance, contains fruits you can grab and eat on the go, while the “Veggie Only” box—loaded with leafy greens, root vegetables, and more—is great for an enthusiastic juicer or home cook. In addition to whole produce, you can snag unique farm products such as jam, pasture-raised eggs, and small-batch honey. Boxes range in size from small to “monster” and start at $28. Sign up for Farm Fresh to You here.
Similar in spirit to Imperfect Foods, Misfits Market scoops up “funny-looking fruits, misshapen vegetables, and delicious but odd-sized produce” to supply customers with non-GMO, certified organic picks at up to 40% off standard supermarket prices. Sign up for weekly or biweekly delivery of one of two boxes: “The Mischief” weighs 10-13 pounds and includes 12 kinds of fruits and veggies that serve up to two people for a week. “The Madness,” at 18–22 pounds, comprises 14 fruits and veggies and serves up to five people for a week. Shop Misfits Market here; due to increased demand in light of Covid-19, first-time deliveries may be delayed.
This San Francisco-based purveyor prides itself on sourcing fruit from a national network of small farms, then distributing the goods as locally as possible. Fruit assortment changes weekly and varies by region. During one recent week, for instance, the “Conventional Harvest” box for the Southwestern U.S. region contained Medjool dates, Pinkerton avocados, Bosc pears, Opal apples, and more. The East Coast assortment for the same week contained picks such as Honeycrisp apples, Tarocco blood oranges, and Minneola tangelos. Choose from organic or conventional boxes in small, medium, or large sizes. Snacks such as dried-fruit-and-nut mixes, granola, chia bars, and cookies are available, as well. Shop The FruitGuys here; no subscription required.
Maressa Brown is a writer and an editor in Los Angeles specializing in health and lifestyle topics. She’s written for Shape, InStyle, Parents, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Better Homes and Gardens, and Women’s Health, among other outlets.
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