Flannel Jammies Farm

...praising God on our 1/5 acre of suburbia

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Imperfect Foods delivery service review

In my last post I reviewed The Neighborhood Harvest home delivery service.  We still receive deliveries from TNH and enjoy every item!

This time I'll introduce you to Imperfect Foods.  Here's the scoop:

Grocery items that help reduce food waste—
delivered for up to 30% less than national supermarket chains.

From the Imperfect Foods website:
"Our mission:
Eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone.
If food can be saved, we will save it. With every bite into a misshapen apple, short piece of pasta, or oversized egg we can shape our world for the better. We’re hungry for change and eager to reduce waste on the farm, at the store, and in the home.

The Imperfect Promise
We promise to deliver delicious groceries and fresh produce and we'll make it up to you if we ever leave you a few carrots short of a bunch.
Entrusting your weekly grocery shopping to a bunch of pun-loving googly-eye enthusiasts is a leap of faith. We don’t take your trust lightly. Here is our promise to you:
We promise to deliver delicious groceries and fresh produce...
We promise to reliably deliver fresh, healthy, delicious produce and groceries to your door every week. If we wouldn’t eat it, we won’t put it in a box. Our produce is only ugly in appearance–never in quality. You should never receive produce that’s bruised, damaged, broken, or moldy. And our groceries are top quality, sourced from producers you can trust. We want your box to be your favorite part of the week.
...And we’ll make it up to you if we don’t:
If we ever fall short of this promise, we’ll make it up to you. We’re imperfect too, and sometimes mistakes happen despite our best-laid plans. If you’re ever less than thrilled with your experience, drop our customer care team a note and we’ll do everything we can to make it right.

We are Imperfect Foods. We’re proud to deliver groceries on a mission."

Good organic food.  Reduced waste.  Fair pricing.  We were all-in!  We were on the waiting list for a couple of months, but then we received a message that we could customize our first box!  We signed up for the Organic Medium Box, with an added Grains Pack.  Items are pre-selected weekly and placed in our online "box".  So, I hate okra.  No problem!  Remove that from the box and add in something I do like... maybe dark chocolate covered pretzel pieces.  (Good choice, right?)  Each week during the ordering window, I can customize the box till it's just right for us and then wait for it to arrive in a few days.

Our first box:

Everything was delivered in a big box that was insulated and included a cold pack.  To reduce waste, there is an intentional lack of interior packaging.

All the yummy box contents in one place!

( quarter for size comparison )

Signing up and ordering were each easy processes.  The website is bursting with information, tips, instructions, and an ever-changing variety of groceries!  You select your box size and order frequency according to your needs and those can be changed at any time.  There is no contract and you can skip boxes when necessary due to travel, too much on hand already, or just, well, life.

We chose the organic box and the items delivered were labeled organic.  The produce was fresh and  not "imperfect" in the way we as Americans have come to expect.  Items were free of gashes, insect damage, weird lumps and bumps, and nastiness.

There is clearly a focus on reduction of waste in packaging.  In non-pandemic times, the packing items may be set out before your next delivery to be picked up for reuse/recycling.

We were happy to find some favorite items, Wildbrine Kimchi and Nature's Path Granola, among the items in their inventory.  The Anna Potato Gnocchi was the added Grains Pack item in this box, and it cooked up beautifully (we had it with breaded and oven-baked eggplant from our garden and tomato-basil sauce).  The Miyoko's Vegan Butter was a wild card that we tried.  It was a hit!

We found the pricing to be excellent for the quality and quantity of organic food we received.  You can earn credits by referring friends.

Because of the lack of packaging, items freely roll about inside the box during delivery.  As shown above, the granola box was a bit crushed and also damp from the cold pack, but not at all damaging to the granola inside.

The sizes/quantities of the produce items is perplexing and, I'm sure, part of being "imperfect".  For instance, TWO red potatoes?  Though when I looked at the order, it DID indicate "1 pound of potatoes".  If I want more in the future, I'll up the quantity.  The onions were plentiful, but quite small, as seen in the photo above.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were on the wait list with Imperfect Foods for two months.  Additionally, as indicated on their website, deliveries can be delayed.  Our first order was two days after our scheduled delivery date.

Not really like Christmas when the box arrives.  More like, "Oh, good.  I didn't have to go to Kroger!"

That gnocchi is a delight!  Cloud-like and comforting and so tasty!

The vegan butter is awesome.  I normally buy Earth Balance Soy-Free vegan spread, but this is a step up.  It also melts and cooks like a dream for recipes.

Imperfect Foods is a good value with a passionate mission.  The food choices and quality are good, too.  We have continued to receive boxes and look forward to each week's ordering window.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Neighborhood Harvest delivery service review

Hey, hi!  It's been a little minute or two.  And now we find ourselves halfway through 2020!

How are you?  Really.  Are you finding ways to safely connect?  Are you adding beauty and play and creative time to your days?  Are you able to do the things you need to do?

With the COVID-19 pandemic, I've been finding ways to SAFELY do the things that need doing.  Like grocery shopping.  Yes, we are blessed with a Wegman's literally just outside our neighborhood (the husband, aka: Star Trek Red Shirt, normally tackles the in-person shopping).  Yes, we've pre-ordered from local farmers and vendors for pick-up at drive-through farmers markets.  Yes, we've even used Amazon.

Now I'm leveling up!

Fresh home delivery services, sign me up!!!  We've signed up with The Neighborhood Harvest and with Imperfect Foods.  This week we receive our first deliveries from these companies and I'm going to review each... the good, the bad, the edible!  

First up:  The Neighborhood Harvest.  From their homepage:

"We are John, Eric, and Thomas, the founders of The Neighborhood Harvest.

Today, The Neighborhood Harvest operates in 19,000 ft. of greenhouse year round and delivers fresh and beyond organic lettuce varietals to more than 4,000 Hampton Roads residents.
But it all began with basil.
In 2012, we’d just ventured into greenhouse farming and began supplying fresh basil to local restaurant suppliers and grocers in Hampton Roads. The expansion in our farming over those first couple of years allowed us to establish The Neighborhood Harvest in 2014, join the Buy Local revolution and more fully serve our local community

So, what makes us different? Plenty.
1 We are beyond organic.
2 We are convenient.
3 We are local.
4 We are committed to you.
5 We are you.
We are The Neighborhood Harvest.
Buy fresh. Buy local. By all means, try The Neighborhood Harvest.
Building healthy habits has never been so easy!"

We signed up and placed an order online from the selection of farm-fresh produce, eggs and dairy, bakery, craft beverages, harvest kitchen, and pasture-raised proteins.  No pre-set amount or pre-selected items.  Just shop what you want and put your cooler out on your area's delivery date.   Here's what we ordered:

Everything arrived, beautifully packaged and handled with care.   The bacon was delivered in a foil pouch.  The fruit and vegetables were in their individual bags, and then batched into larger plastic bags.

Like Christmas and your birthday rolled into one yummy delivery, right?  Let's open them up!

Edward's Peppered Bacon, one hefty loaf of Fruit Nut Bread, one 16 oz. bag of Green Machine Superfood Juicing Blend, celery, 3 good-sized shallots, 2 bell peppers - orange and yellow, 1 lb. Persian cucumbers, 5 large apples, 5 large golden potatoes, plus information and FAQs.

Signing up and ordering were easy and quick.  There is no contract and you can cancel at any time.  The website is beautifully done and easy to navigate.

Delivery was on time, no touch, and efficient.  Items were placed in the cooler we set out on our front porch gently.  (You can order a TNH cooler or use a large one of your own.)  We did not have to go out to the store... major GOOD.

The items were of the very best quality.  Beyond organic, locally grown, pesticide and GMO free, in season, and darned pretty to look at.  The produce was pristine, good-sized, and very fresh.  The gorgeous potatoes had me swooning!

The labeling is clear and informative.  The additional information enclosed is helpful and added value.

THE BAD (not really bad, just maybe slightly less than great):
The items are pricey if you are used to purchasing your groceries at Walmart or Costco.  That being said, I did not find it more expensive than what we normally pay for local, organic items at markets and stores.

Plastic.  Lots of it.  On each item ordered and then again in groups of items.  I did appreciate the foil packaging on the bacon, though.

THE (highly) EDIBLE:
This fruit nut bread is so scrumptious!  Nice thick slices, good distribution of fruit and nuts throughout, and soul-soothing with a little vegan butter on top of a toasted slice!

The Neighborhood Harvest is a big WIN in my book.  I love the simplicity of it and the amazing quality of the items.  We will continue to order!

Next up:  our next delivery is from Imperfect Foods.  I'll be sure to check back in with our review!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

a May visit to the State Arboretum of Virginia...

Yes, this post is a tad late.

In May, we drove to Maryland for the annual Sheep & Wool Festival.  My daughter and I spent a drizzly day walking, eating, caressing all the wool, and making friends with so many sheepses!  It was such a treat!

On the way back to the coastal plain of Virginia, we took the long, meandering route and quite unexpectedly discovered the State Arboretum!  It's a sprawling and wonderfully green place, occupying the central 172 acres of the Blandy Experimental Farm in Boyce, Virginia.  The afternoon was spent exploring and learning and walking and sniffing... even our precious Carolina dog, Scarlett, had a blast, leaping through the grassy expanse!

I cannot recommend this destination highly enough.  It's a must see, especially for garden gurus, mountain dreamers, pollinator protectors, tree huggers, and just about anyone in need of a quiet space to refresh their soul.  I could tell you all about it, but how about a virtual tour?

...wondered if there was a message here...

Scarlett leaping through the grass

The scene driving out of the Arboretum... pure bliss!