Over the last year, I’ve looked on with envy as friends have posted photos of gorgeous organic fruits and vegetables delivered right to their door. Envy, because most home delivery services I was familiar with did not venture into the northernmost reach of the San Fernando Valley (where I reside). And because I was convinced that such a service would not work for my family’s unpredictable meal schedule. And because I was convinced that such a service would be too expensive.
But it’s January, when the year is young and I am open to trying new things. I already committed to jumping into New Age-y mumbo jumbo by creating a dream board, which included a goal of adopting healthier practices. And my friend Yvonne of MomsLA asked if I would be interested in writing a review of SPUD.com (the appropriately acronymed Sustainable Produce Urban Delivery company). As this would be a review, there would be no payment (as you would have in a sponsored post); just a credit to purchase some of their products so I could see for myself how the service works — and then write it as I see it.
So once we determined that SPUD.com does indeed deliver to my neck of the Valley, I was in.
SPUD offers weekly “harvest boxes” of pre-selected seasonal produce at a flat rate. I have lots of friends who subscribe to this service, which accounts for the number of calls for recipes on Facebook when they receive vegetables they’ve never before tasted. Since my husband and daughter are picky eaters, I decided this was NOT the best option for me. SPUD also gives you the ability to customize your harvest box by indicating the items you would like to have — as well as those you abhor.
I figured I would keep this in mind for future deliveries.
SPUD also offers special juicing boxes, and is even offering a January special that includes free produce if you buy their high-end juicer. I’m not ready for this, and don’t know if I’ll ever be. I’ve seen lots of diet fads in my lifetime, and this just strikes me as another one of those things I would be all gung-ho about at the beginning and then peter out after a few weeks (and a $359 investment in equipment). Maybe I’ll sample what’s available at the juice counter at Whole Foods and see if I like it.
Fortunately, box subscriptions are not the only option for customers of SPUD. It’s a full-featured website offering a wide range of the same products you find at your local supermarket, with an emphasis on organic and/or locally grown produce and products — with the convenience of once-a-week delivery.
So I went in and selected the items I was pretty sure I’d be able to use within a week. This included:
1. The largest heads of organic cabbage and cauliflower I’ve ever seen
2. A couple of ruby red grapefruits and some lemons
5. Russet and Fingerling Potatoes
6. Green onions
7. Rosemary and Basil
8. Fresh ginger
And since SPUD offers other kinds of grocery items, I also picked up several bags of my salt & vinegar Kettle Potato chips (a favorite snack of my husband and daughter), some organic canned goods, and some of the Amy’s frozen vegan entrees my husband likes.
There are other items I could have ordered; some I should have ordered. This is something I always say whenever I get groceries online; I am always wishing I’d thought to ask for one more thing. Then again, this happens to me all the time when I do my IRL shopping, so I guess that’s just par for the course.
The groceries were not cheap – but they were not outrageously expensive, either. I expect to pay a premium for organic, as well as for the convenience of delivery.
And I actually used the produce, which scotched my fear of letting any of them go to waste:
Day 1: I made my favorite recipe for roast chicken with potatoes (with lemon and rosemary). I realized I could have also ordered an organic chicken from SPUD.
Day 2: I cut up the grapefruit and avocados and added them to some greens I had on hand for a fresh take on salad.
Day 3: I cut up that huge cauliflower and the rest of the russets and roasted them for this Indian spiced recipe with a bit of that fresh ginger. I added some of the green onions for color. It smelled divine and tasted even better.
Day 4: The ginger and the fingerling potatoes got used in one of our favorite dishes, which also included the canned organic chickpeas I ordered from SPUD. (Next time, I will make sure to add more carrots and onions to my order).
Day 5: I made stewed cabbage:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, very finely sliced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
5 whole cloves
3 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage
salt and pepper
2/3 c vegetable stock or white wine and water mixed (I usually use the latter)
Heat the oil in a pot and gently cook the onion, carrot, bacon, herbs and cloves for about 15 minutes. Season the cabbage with salt and pepper, then add it along with the liquid (stock or wine/water mix). Mix all the vegetables thoroughly, cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove lid and simmer another 5-10 minutes to reduce excess liquid before serving.
The original recipe is from this cookbook, and calls for butter (instead of oil) and bacon. This is the vegan version, and is nearly as tasty (because everything is better with bacon).
Ordering from SPUD was easy, convenient — and forced me to do some actual cooking. And now that I’ve depleted my initial order, I’m trying to decide what to get the next time.
I might even reconsider that juicing thing.
DISCLOSURE: I was not paid to write this post, nor did I make any guarantees that the review would be a positive one. I did receive a one-time credit for my first order, so that I could fully experience the service for the review.