February 09, 2011

The Green BEAN

I recently signed up for Green BEAN delivery, and I just received my first box of groceries today! I wanted to share about my experience and what I got, because I know other people may be interested in a service like this but nervous to take the first step without really knowing how much food you'll be getting (like I was). I've been aware of these produce delivery organizations for a couple of years now and really wanted to give them a try, but only finally made the leap this time because I got a deal through Groupon for a $35 Green BEAN box for only $15! What a steal!

These home deliveries are generally from local, organic farms, but Green BEAN gets food from many different farms (across the whole Midwest region) so you have a larger selection, but are still supporting farmers. Most of the ones I was aware of offered random produce boxes, so you'd be getting different fruits and veggies each time and not necessarily having a say in what's in them. The customizable bins are more expensive. I did not like the idea of getting random produce that I may not like or know how to prepare, like kale or something! But Green BEAN allows customization with all of their different sized bins and options. There were about 40 different things I could choose from, and in the winter I think that's pretty impressive!

Customizing the bin was awesome, as I was able to meal plan for my week, make a shopping list, and then add the items that I knew I would be needing. Having three kids and a deployed husband makes shopping my most dreaded task right now, and since I prefer things organic, but also cheap, in any given week I can find myself shopping at the commissary, Meijer, and Trader Joe's just to get the items I'm looking for! It gets pretty ridiculous running all over town just because the commissary has cheap frozen organic food and snacks, but Meijer has a better selection of fresh organic produce and Trader Joe's has the meat, pasta, and soda I want! It can also be challenging to find organic produce besides apples and bananas in local stores - their selection often is very limited and changes frequently, so when one week I can get organic lemons at Meijer, they may not be back for a number of months.

The other thing that I love about Green BEAN is that you can add onto your produce order other organic products, like meats, soups, sauces, crackers, etc. Things that I have to hunt for in the store I can easily add to my order through Green BEAN and have it delivered to my door!  The prices on these commercially produced organic products is comparable to what I find at the commissary and at Meijer, so I thought it was well worth it to have delivered essentially for free :)

I am not sure about the cost of the produce, though. I feel like I got a good amount for my $35, but I can't really be sure without checking out each item in the store, which I'll probably never have time to do. Here are pictures and information on everything I received today. Let me know if you think the price was reasonable! Remember that all items are organic and were delivered to me.

Everything arrived in a green bin. You do not have to be home for the delivery, as everything is packed with Styrofoam and  ice packs to keep cold things cold (the fact that the weather outside is freezing certainly doesn't hurt at all!).

These are the only "extras" I got this time, but I plan to get more meats next time.
-16 oz Sea Salt $3.95
-19 oz homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (SO excited about this! No funky fake sugars. Made at an Ohio farm and the label says "With God All Things Are Possible") $3.95
-16 oz Organic Alphabet Pasta (colored with vegetables) $3.75
-1.3 lbs Local Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage $5.95 (same price as the stuff I usually get at Meijer but with far fewer ingredients!)

And all of the organic produce:
-2 White onions (they gave me 3 for some reason)
-1 Clove garlic (they gave me 2 for some reason) (I like this because garlic is one of those things that isn't available organic in any store, even Trader Joe's)
-1 lb Carrots
-2 lbs Broccoli
-4 Fuji Apples (these were a little on the small side)
-2 Bosc Pears (they gave me 3?)
-3 Royal Mandarins
-3 lb bag Russet Potatoes
-3 Pink Florida Grapefruits
-8 oz Salad - Mixed Greens (this was more than I had expected it to be)
-1 bunch Italian Parsley
-4.5 oz Green Onions (the same package I get in the store)
-2 lbs Bananas (came out to only 5 bananas, a little less than I had hoped for. They are still light green and waiting for bananas to ripen is annoying because we use them so often)

What are your thoughts? I love the delivery idea. I love the impressive selection of organic products. And I love that the food is coming directly from farmers. I think I may continue to receive boxes every other week (you can customize the frequency with which you want bins delivered, and can always change the size you want). I hope this helped anyone who has been interested in these services but wanted to hear someone else's experience first!

February 08, 2011

The Sixth Finger

I've wanted to write about this for a long time, but haven't been able to muster the courage until now. Many of you know, but many of you don't, that Adrian has 11 fingers. Sort of. He has a sixth finger on his right hand, but it is fused with his pinkie, so it looks like this:

I noticed it before anyone else a moment after he was placed in my arms after his birth. I was stunned. I remember his hand looking strange to me, but it took me a few moments to figure out what looked so wrong with it. It's been surprisingly unnoticeable to others. The day he was born we let him get a physical examination from a pediatrician, since I was in the hospital anyway, and they did a full body exam, and even put a pulse monitor on his right hand, and didn't notice the extra finger. They were walking out the door when I had to say "Um, can we talk about his finger?". Friends have had similar experiences, where they'll hold him for a while and never notice until I mention it. It stands out loud and in- my- face, though, whenever I glance at it.