Online grocery-shopping is nothing new: companies like Netgrocer have been fulfilling customers’ laziness since 1999. And now one can hop on Meijer’s website, or Amazon.com, to get just about anything shipped directly to their door. But for those with a more ethical lean, or who want fresh produce, is there a solution? Turns out, there is.
Enter Green B.E.A.N. Delivery, a company dedicated to “home delivery of organic produce & natural groceries to the Louisville community.” Green B.E.A.N. is actually a multi-state operation, started in Indianapolis, and now spreading to Ft. Wayne (IN), Cincinnati (OH), Dayton (OH), Columbus (OH), and of course Louisville. The service here has been around for a little over a year, and has garnered some great reviews. Cincinatti.com recently featured the founders, a couple from Indy, who started the business in 2009 as a way to “take the excuses away from people who want to eat healthy but aren’t doing it.” Hear hear!
I was recently contacted by Green B.E.A.N. to receive a trial run of their small produce bin (normally $35) for review on the blog. Not one to turn down fresh, local produce, I accepted, and within two weeks I found myself with a big green tote on my front porch:
Kudos to Green B.E.A.N. for their excellent branding, and having a good, re-usable way to deliver the produce. The bins are picked up the following week (usually at the same time you get your next bin, if you choose auto-delivery). Inside was a styrofoam cool pack (which, while I’m not a fan of styrofoam, at least they are re-using), with a great selection of organic produce: beets, onions, garlic, oranges (conventional), lemons, apples, asparagus, mushrooms, lettuce, strawberries, and tomatoes. Yeah!
Now, forgive me for assuming that some of it would be local, as this word is used quite a bit on the website, but this was not the case with my bin. The asparagus was the only item listed as local, with other items containing various stickers with their origin. Obviously, oranges and lemons are coming from a much warmer region than the Midwest (at least, seasonally warm…our present weather excluded). I asked Megan, my rep with Green B.E.A.N., about this, and she responded:
It is possible to choose only local produce during the growing season (May-October) by customizing the order. At this time, we do not offer an option that would automatically deliver only local produce.
Not to nitpick too much, but this bin came in April. Is there local produce being produced in Kentucky and Ohio in April? Absolutely: green onions, greenhouse tomatoes, lettuce, kale, mustard greens, cabbage, and more. I see it at the Root Cellar and farmer’s markets each week. On the website, choosing a Louisville produce bin neglects to have these options, so while I was stoked to have organic strawberries and mushrooms (two super healthy foods), I would still like more local options, year-round. Currently, the “add produce” selection on the website is empty, meaning if you choose a produce bin it will likely be organic, but not local. While this is a point of contention for me, it is certainly not a deal-breaker for Green B.E.A.N’s service.
One thing I do like is the vast array of grocery-style products you can order. They have a separate section for “Vegan Cuisine” (Morels would be stoked that “vegan” is getting its own cuisine listings now!), with everything from local Blue Dog bread, to Amy’s soups, to Luna Burgers, a vegan burger company out of Ohio. That’s pretty rad: being able to order local and national vegan items, delivered to your door with weekly with organic (and hopefully more local) produce.
Kentucky is definitely represented on Green B.E.A.N’s site as well: Fox Hollow Farms, Rooibee Red Tea, and Najla’s (they make some pretty dope vegan protein bars) are there, in addition some other KY vendors, and we can only assume the list will grow as time goes on.
Overall, I was happy with my bin, and my fiancee and I enjoyed the food immensely: our stir-fries, salads, and snacking was greatly improved (and healthier) in the week following the delivery! While I would have liked to seen more local produce, I understand there are season and logistic reasons behind the weekly orders of organic-sans- local fruit and vegetables. Green B.E.A.N’s mission is to “make healthy and sustainably grown local food affordable, accessible, and convenient to the Midwest communities we serve. We serve our mission by building food systems and businesses that address our communities’ greatest food challenges.” That is definitely something we can all get behind.
Are you interested in trying Green B.E.A.N. Delivery yourself? Sign up today and use this code: “15NailSticks” to get $15 off your first order! There’s a $35 minimum, and this discount applies to new customers and reactivations only. It will expire on May 15, 2012, so act quick! Sign up here.
Note: Green B.E.A.N. logo from their website. Thanks to Megan Lawler for her assistance and info.