Friday, March 16, 2012

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery - Organic, Sustainable and Local Right To Your Door

Green B.E.A.N

Words like "locavore", "organic", and "sustainable" have only recently entered my food vocabulary compared to many of you, my readers. I appreciate and applaud my friends who live in areas where they can take advantage of local farmers markets, where the veggies, fruits, and berries are plentiful. But let me tell you - in Springboro, Ohio in the February/March time frame local and/or organic produce becomes extremely scarce. As someone who's trying to eat more cleanly and trying to support more local companies, this can be a problem.  Enter Green B.E.A.N. Delivery.

I'll admit I was skeptical when I was approached to do this review. But if I truly want to eat more cleanly then I have to actually get the food in my house! I hate going to the grocery store. And when I'm there I often don't like the selection I find. So, when approached with this opportunity to review this service I figured I'd give it a try.

Image from Green B.E.A.N.'s Webpage showing distribution.

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery
My Small Produce Bin At My Side Door
What is Green Bean Delivery?
At it's core, Green B.E.A.N. delivery aims to support local and organic farmers and companies by providing consumers with their produce and products. You sign up for the service and once a week (or biweekly if you choose), you receive a bin full of the types of produce and foods YOU have selected right at your door step. That bin is filled with organic foods, Local, sustainable foods - at least if you choose for them to be such. All of the produce is  VERY fresh. I can't speak to the meats - that's not something I reviewed. I reviewed a Small Produce Bin, which is $35.

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery

The Green B.E.A.N  Delivery Process
  • You sign up - Choose the type of bin you want to receive.
  • The Thursday before your delivery - sign in, see the per-selected contents of your bin of choice. Every item including substitutions are marked with a key with the type of purchase (examples: OG - Organically Grown, ST - Sustainably Grown, LO - Locally Grown, etc).
  • Make Changes To Your Bin - This was the fun part. You first remove a selection, refresh the page. Then select an item from a drop down list of possible substitutions.
  • Submit Your Order before Monday - once you have your items finalized and equaling out your bin. You submit and wait.
Green B.E.A.N. Delivery
For me, my delivery day was Tuesday. But check your location - it may vary. I should mention that you can shop for any additional groceries offered by the site. You can add more items, you can add more bins. You can even choose to skip your shipment should you so choose. Delivery is put in a location YOU specify - they prefer you indicate a shaded location (like the side of my garage). I like that they take such care in where to place your items.

The Contents Of My Small Produce Bin
Oh boy did I get a lot of fruits and veggies!!!  12 oz Asparagus, 1 Bunch of Broccoli, 2 lbs Potatoes, Klondike Goldust, 1 Yellow Onion, 1 Pound of Baby Carrots, 4 Pink Lady Apples, 4 Bosc Pairs, 2 Limes, 5 Tangelos, 8 oz Spring Mix, 6 oz Shiitake Mushrooms, 4  Bananas (though they said they were only sending me 3 - so that's a bonus). Being the time of year, not many of these items were local. My specific local items were the Shittake mushrooms and the Spring Mix. Everything was organic.

Green B.E.A.N
Chiquita... still Chiquita.
When I Buy Organic...
My organic purchases usually are made at the local "hoity-toity". It's practically right across the street from my house. Anyone living around the suburbs of Dayton will know what store I'm talking about so I feel no need to mention it here. It's well-known that it is NOT the cheapest place to get produce, and certainly not the cheapest place to get organic. I am rarely impressed with my grocery store of choice concerning the quality of the organic produce offered. Meijer is often better. But given that this store has a reputation for featuring local and organic items I was expecting this Green B.E.A.N. Delivery box to be similar in quality. Boy was I wrong! I opened the box to behold a thing of beauty... including the most amazing whole shiitake mushrooms ever. Just sayin'. That's what I fixated on. For you it might be the asparagus or something. For me - mushrooms.

Green B.E.A.NHow Does Green B.E.A.N. Compare Price-wise To My Local Grocer?
I went over to aforementioned hoity-toity store to compare prices immediately after unpacking my Green B.E.A.N. delivery box. My quest was to compare prices. I will admit I was not able to find everything I received in "organic" at my grocery store, nor was I able to find whole shittake mushrooms (for example). So I made similar substitutions when evaluating prices. Where possible I used the actual weights received to compare. Drum-roll please!
  • Green B.E.A.N. Small Bin Price: $35 with my substitutions
  • Hoity-Toity Grocery Equivalent: $$36.76
I am shocked!!! Well and truly shocked. I mean I know my favorite store is expensive, but considering delivery charge is rolled into the Green B.E.A.N Delivery price - given the quality why am I bothering with this hoity-toity store for good produce? I think there's a winner here!

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery Caveat: Green B.E.A.N. will not always be the winner. Price differential WILL change depending on what is in your final bin and where you shop for your groceries.

Overall I was pleased...
For the cost, the amount of what you get and the quality is awesome. I don't normally shop for this many groceries and fruits at one time, but the produce is so fresh it can stand sitting in the fridge for a few days. Cooking for 2 people it would be easy to use up the Small Produce Bin in a week. All you would need to purchase additionally is the protein.

And the Shiitaki Mushrooms!!! Oh... the Shiitake mushrooms. I'm in HEAVEN!

Green B.E.A.N. Delivery

The only thing I was lack-luster in the bin was my onion, to be honest.

Green B.E.A.N
Hoity-Toity Grocery Store Onion Left, Green B.E.A.N. Onion Right
Bottom Line
Should you consider this? HECK YEAH! I signed up for the bi-weekly service! I'm very excited about this. Since you can cancel at any time and you can choose the contents of your bin, it's worth it. I strongly suggest purchasing items you like but can not normally find. Like the Shiitake Mushrooms.

Full Disclaimer: A Small Produce Bin was furnished to me by Green B.E.A.N Delivery. for the purpose of use and review. I was not paid to provide this review, and have provided my honest opinion of the service. I am unaffiliated with Green B.E.A.N. Delivery.