Tag Archives: Stop&Shop

A CSA On Demand: Peapod’s Farm Box Review

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get a CSA farm share box…but just now and then instead of weekly?

CSA in a box

Peapod Local Farm Box

Do you know what a CSA is? “CSA” stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it’s a way to support small and local farms while ensuring you get really fresh, local produce (or meat, etc.). Usually you sign on with a farm, usually paying the farmer in the winter, and in exchange for your money you get a portion of the harvest, usually in weekly increments during the harvest season (though meat-only CSAs tend to be monthly). You can do this for fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, or a combo.

I have been a CSA a member for 10 years. My first year, I split a small share with a friend (in which we received — and were totally mystified by — our first kohlrabi). While I love being part of a CSA farm (obviously), signing on with a CSA does take a certain amount of commitment, especially if you’re super-busy or live alone. Plus, you really need to stay on top of what’s in your produce drawers, because next week’s share pick-up will be here before you know it! It can also make meal planning a little tricky, if you are a die-hard meal planner, because you never quite know what you’re going to get.

(Of course, when you’ve been a member for a long time or grew up on a farm or just know the seasons, you have some idea of what’s going to be ready when: early June pickups that make for, quite literally, “salad days,” kale and beets in July, plenty of tomatoes and corn and potatoes in August, and the heavier stuff — winter squashes — coming as the temperatures cool.)

But maybe you don’t want the weekly commitment, or there’s no CSA near you. And you can’t get to the farmers’ market every week. Maybe you wish you could have a CSA on demand.

CSA you can order from Peapod

Peapod (the pickup and delivery service from Stop&Shop) now offers a Local Farm Box. It’s a multi-farm produce CSA that you can buy when you want it instead of committing to a season (or year). On the Peapod site, choose your region: Midwest, New England, Mid-Atlantic. For the New England Farm Box, Peapod partners with an organization called Farm Fresh Rhode Island, a  nonprofit that supports local farms, provides nutrition education, and has some other great programs.

I chose New England, of course. The site is really informative about the partner farms, how close the farms are to you, what’s available based on season, what to do with those vegetables, and a recipe that uses one of the week’s vegetables. The site also tells you what is in that week’s box and which farms the produce came from, which is handy information: I didn’t want a particular week’s box, because it contained a lot of green peppers. I’m the only green pepper eater in my house.

So I ordered the box the following week: kale, spaghetti squash, leeks, purple and white carrots, cabbage, and zucchini. Five. I should mention I also received zucchini earlier in the week from my farm share, and had (why??) bought some the previous weekend at the store. So that brought my household zucchini total to 14, but we love the stuff (and oh, time to make zucchini bread!).

Fresh and bright and local CSA

Fresh and bright and local

The box arrived at the specified delivery time (which was super-handy; I had it arrive in the morning, before we all left for the day, but maybe evenings or weekend work better for you). It was big, cold, and a nice weight. Inside were beautiful fresh vegetables: a spaghetti squash (yum!), leeks, dark-green kale, purple and white carrots, medium-sized zucchini, all looking very much like what I pick up on Tuesdays from my own CSA: fresh, bright, delicious. And carefully packed, of course, the heavy stuff on the bottom, kale and leeks on top. In the box was an informational sheet about Farm Fresh Rhode Island, the produce in the box, and the farms the veggies had come from. It also had a recipe (for my particular box, for Spaghetti Squash with Marinara, which was really good).

I will remain a loyal CSA member of my favorite local farm, Parker Farm in Lunenberg (I’ve been a member for so long that my newborn firstborn, now in second grade, nearly fell out of his ring sling into a crate of zucchini once when I was picking up my share). But I really like the Peapod Local Farm Box option. It is the perfect solution for anyone and everyone for whom a traditional CSA isn’t a good fit, or for someone who loves eating locally and seasonally but can’t get to the farmer’s market, or really for anyone who loves good fresh produce and supporting local farms.

Brilliant move, Peapod!

Wondering what to do with your produce and how to store it? Read How to Manage Your Summer Produce.

Disclosure: Peapod provided me with the Local Farm Box and some other groceries to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Peapod Delivery Now Has Pick-up Service–Giveaway! #sponsored

View of Pick-up storage hubs and attendantGrocery shopping with kids is fun!

Hahahaha. No, it’s not. Sometimes it is a lot like herding caffeinated squirrels, in fact (and stop touching all the packages of raw chicken, NOW!!!). I don’t actually mind grocery shopping at the store—in fact, I often prefer it—but there are times when I just don’t have the time or would rather someone just bring the stuff to me.

That’s where Peapod comes in. Peapod is the grocery delivery service specific to Stop&Shop, and they have a vested interest in selecting good stuff for you and showing you all the deals in the store. They also offer curbside pickup at some stores, which is pretty handy: you just set up your order, select a pick-up time, and then just pull up and have someone load groceries into your car. You don’t even have to step out of your car! How handy is that?

Peapod Pick-Up Infographic

When I used Peapod Pick-Up recently, I didn’t order a lot of produce or perishables, because I knew I had a longish drive on a hot day (and oh, it was an even longer trip home, because my muffler fell off!). But I was pleased with my order. And ordering couldn’t be easier: just go to their website (or their app on your phone). The site/app shows weekly deals, what you ordered last time, and so on. You can even have it send you a reminder an hour before your order closes out, so that if you place your order and then remember that you need to add something, you can do so before it is too late.

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I actually did NOT have to get out of my car, but I did.

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He could have loaded them into the trunk without my help, but I had some stuff in there I had to move around. Then we ended up with the muffler in the trunk, too, about 20 minutes later, because I live an exciting and unpredictable life.

You can just stay in your car, have someone load your groceries, sign the slip, and drive away. EASY.

You can just stay in your car, have someone load your groceries, sign the slip, and drive away. EASY. (This well-coiffed and calm woman is not me, BTW.)

Yes, they take coupons. Yes, you can set up an order and put it on hold until later. Yes, you can select your delivery or pick-up time, and sometimes you get a discount if you select a certain time frame. What else can I tell you….you can use your card for savings, you still get gas points, and you can see all their weekly specials. The site also remembers your previous purchases, in case you like to have repeat shopping trips.

One drawback, for me, to the Peapod service–and this isn’t a drawback for everyone, I realize—is their use of plastic bags. While Stop&Shop are considering a more sustainable solution, they pack all the groceries into plastic bags, and you can end up with many bags. For someone like me, who is a fanatic about reusable bags, this is tough to swallow. I know the bags can go back to the store for recycling, but….So I don’t use Peapod all that often, just because of the bags, but I like knowing it is there if I need it.

Oh, and this! Pick-Up service is free for a limited time for current customers, and free for 60 days for new customers. Try it out!

I’m giving away a $50 Peapod gift card so you can try Peapod for yourself! To enter, simply leave a comment below, telling me if you’ve ever used a grocery delivery service or why you want to try Peapod. Thanks!

Winners will be selected using random.org. Winners will be chosen by 8 p.m. July 19, 2014. If winner does not respond within 48 hours of my notifying him/her, another winner will be selected. I will mail the gift card to the winner, so giveaway is valid in U.S. only. 

Disclosure: I was given a gift card to try the Peapod grocery pickup service and invited to lunch with Peapod to learn about their service. All opinions are my own.