Fresh Direct is fine, I guess. And the farmers market is a great concept. But the former isn’t so sustainable or community focused, and the latter isn’t very convenient.
But two different websites have sprung up in NYC (and beyond) to fill the need of busy and discerning consumers. Both feature organic and locally raised, grown, and made foods, and will deliver them to you. Or at least, a place nearby you.
So I tested them both out, at least twice each, so I could tell you which one is better. Or if they’re even worth it at all! Here’s my findings:
Well, Good Egg wins on the marketing front. This fall they became nearly inescapable in the NYC health world, popping up on my favorite websites, in my Instagram feed with a paid post, and at Soul Cycle, passing out apple cider as my class got out. The now large company got its start in San Francisco and has big plans to take over the world.
So I went to the website and started shopping. I scrolled through endless beautiful pictures of produce, dairy, meats, even hand pies for an easy dinner. There were pedestrian things (potatoes) and fancy things (mango lassi!). I had to keep myself from running up a more than $200 tab, reminding myself that there was no way I would make my way through eight different kinds of produce in one typically hectic week.
At the time, Good Eggs would deliver to a place you choose in Brooklyn. (They have plans to launch Manhattan deliveries this year). There were plenty of places to pick it up, the closest being my local wine store. I got a confirmation when I ordered, an email the day before my food was about to arrive, and even a text message informing me my food was ready to pickup. The pickup time was 3:30 to 8, giving me (or in this case, my boyfriend) plenty of time to get the food.
My boyfriend walked in bearing four bags full of produce, eggs, cheeses, frozen berries, yogurt, mixed baby greens, almond butter, almonds, granola, and pretty much anything else a sustainable health nut can want. They even threw in a complimentary squash with a recipe. (Another time, they gave me a reusable bag, and then a kitchen towel.) I unpacked everything, sliding the frozen packs and insulated bags back in one of the paper grocery bags to return the next week, as they advised. But all the plastic bags wrapped around produce – apples, greens, even the single butternut squash – was a little off putting.
The problem with shopping online and going to pick it up, is that you don’t realize how much food you’ve ordered until you’re standing there, wondering how you’re going to carry it all home by yourself. Turns out, my boyfriend was pretty pissed that I saddled him with four heavy grocery bags of food, as I would find out later.
But, then Good Eggs announced they would switch to delivering to your home. I still had several freezer bags left, so I put in a small order and chose my delivery time. (The more convenient times, like after work or shorter delivery windows, you have to pay for. But weekday deliveries with wide windows are free). Voila! A man arrived at my door at the appointed time with a bag of fresh groceries, and took my freezer bags away.
Also, Good Eggs is a B Corp with a score of 85, which is definitely a perk.
Farmigo actually started as back end software to help CSAs run, then relaunched to provide farm-to-consumer shopping experiences. It’s great for farmers, who get 80 cents on the dollar for their product, instead of the usual 20 cents. But it shares a community-based vibe with a typical CSA, in delivering once a week to a community organizer.
Farmigo and Good Eggs actually share a lot of the same brands, like the pasta from Sfoglini and granola from ORA Wholesome Provisions. But Farmigo doesn’t have almond milk, sadly. In fact, their selection is a bit smaller, their sorting system doesn’t let you drill down quite as much to find what you need, and the pictures aren’t quite as appetizing. None of this could break a business … if there wasn’t a competitor doing the exact same thing but slightly better.
The day of pickup, I didn’t get a confirmation email, but I did get a text. The problem was that pickup ended at 6:30, which meant I was on my own, no help from the BF. I walked over to Rose Red Lavender, a cozy flower shop a ten minute walk away from me, and the owner lead me out back to where she was keeping all the deliveries. She pulled out bag after bag, and I realized with a sinking heart that I over-shopped, and it was up to me to carry all of this back. “They really are awesome,” the owner chirped. “Proceeds go to local schools and organizations!” It’s true that Farmigo is a B Corporation with a score of 99, and producers get a larger margins, but I’m not sure where she got that information. I aggressively consolidated, and made the long journey back to my apartment.
The packaging was similar to Good Eggs, with lots of plastic bags, plus the silver insulation bags. But there were no instructions about returning the cooler bags, which were sealed shut with adhesive instead of velcro. I emailed Farmigo, and they told me I could return the silver bags to them.
If you prefer the underdog with the higher B Corp score and an emphasis on community, Farmigo wins.
If you’re more concerned with convenience and like your start ups glossy, Good Eggs wins.
If you’re not in Brooklyn, New Orleans, San Francisco, or LA, then Farmigo wins – it has a much larger geographic reach.
Or, if you are totally against wasteful packaging, going to the farmers market yourself with your reusable bags wins.
It’s all up to you and your priorities. But at least now you know the difference!