Improve your family’s health while supporting local business and community
Organic fruits and vegetables are expensive, definitely more expensive than conventionally grown produce. Why? Because, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts, compared to conventional farming, growing organic crops is typically done on a smaller scale. It is more time consuming and labor intensive which costs more and therefore, you have to pay more.
In order to provide my family with the healthiest option but without going completely broke every time I shop at my local health food store I searched for a better alternative and am very excited to share that I found one.
North Scottsdale Organics
The husband and wife duo Shaun and Cathy Kalos founded a certified organic co-op – Litchfield Park Organics which evolved into a full Organic Market & Cafe – in 1998 to bring fresh and healthy produce to their growing family and the community. After they moved their family to Scottsdale they organized North Scottsdale Organics. With four boys, Shaun and Cathy are most excited about helping parents realize the need for fresh chemical free food to nourish and build their children’s growing bodies.
How it works
This is as easy as online shopping! Go to the North Scottsdale Organics website and add a bag full of assorted, fresh, certified organic fruits and vegetables starting at $30.00 per bag to your shopping cart. Members and first time customer enjoy a $5.00 discount per bag. Make sure you order by midnight on Sunday for pick up on Tuesday or Wednesday the following week. During the check out process you can select one of several pick up locations close to your house which are all local health and wellness related businesses.
What do you get? You can check HERE to see what’s in the bag for the week. Every week is different. You can order as often as you like without any commitment. That means if you don’t like some of the items or your fridge is still fully stocked or you are on vacation, you are not obligated to place an order, even as a member.
Like ordering online, getting my produce was also breeze. I had selected a naturopathic doctor’s office about 2 miles from my house as my pick up location. It literally took 10 minutes to go there, grab my carefully packed and labeled paper bag, and bring it home. Easy!
For $25.00 I got everything in the picture above – a bag of potatoes, 4 apples, 4 pears, 2 minneolas, 2 large tomatoes, 1 fennel, 1 cauliflower, 1 lettuce and a bunch of bananas. The bag featured a good variety of fruits and vegetables made up of mostly classic stand-bys but with a few “more exotic” options mixed in (I had never cooked fennel before or even heard of minneolas. By the way, they are a type of citrus fruit, a cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit. Who knew?!).
I contacted the owners of North Scottsdale Organics to get a little more insight into their business. They are very passionate about what they do to say the least, and very knowledgeable, too. One of the questions I asked them was how much on average one would save compared to buying all the produce at a local grocery store. Cathy says that it is hard to know exactly as stores have such varying prices with many of the items not even available organically. However, one could expect a $25.00 bag to cost anywhere from $28.00-$38.00 (12-52% more) at a traditional grocery store.
In addition to saving money, North Scottsdale Organics’s crops are fresher than your usual produce aisle offerings. Unlike traditional grocery stores, the co-op gets the food within a few days of harvest even if not everything is grown locally. There are actually very few farms in Arizona that are certified organic. Also, not everything can be grown in our desert state. This would be very limiting as Cathy and Shaun want to keep offering the great variety of produce their customers have gotten used to.
I am extremely pleased with this option of buying fresh organic fruits and veggies for my family. While you do need to be a little flexible regarding the exact type and quantity of items you are getting for the week, the food is fresh and affordable, the process easy and the overall service very reliable. I liked it so much, in fact, that I just received my second bag!
Do similar businesses exist in other parts of the country? Yes! I checked random places throughout the US and found that many have produce co-ops with comparable services available. Even one of my friends in Hamburg – a major city in Germany – said she and her husband get a “local box” from farms in their area delivered straight to their door, with tips on how to prepare each item to boot. Genius!
The co-op is not to be confused with one of those meal delivery services that provides a recipe and all the ingredients, perfectly portioned, for cooking an entire meal. This kind of service is significantly more expensive at about $110.00-130.00 per week (4 people, 3 meals per week).