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Friday, November 8, 2013

FarmBox: Curated Harvest Baskets with Goodies from Farms & Artisans

Posted By on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Photo courtesy of FarmBox
  • Photo courtesy of FarmBox

There's a newish box of produce in town, with the added bonus of handcrafted edibles inside. I tried FarmBox last month, an interesting new way to get produce and more delivered at home. The concept may be intriguing for those who can't visit the local farmers market or travel to a rural farm stand: FarmBox SF will deliver fresh, organic produce and a variety of artisan foods in a distinctive (adorable!), insulated basket that is reusable. For a recent delivery, that meant hummus, farmstead eggs, dilly cows milk cheese, and apple-cherry juice, with produce ranging from a nice variety of root vegetables to leeks and Yukon potatoes nestled with juicy oranges and strawberries -- it felt like I was set for a good five days.

FarmBox started in LA and just launched here in August. Knowing there are other produce options out there from Good Eggs to Luke's Local, it made sense to find out what makes FarmBox different. For starters, it's more of a complete service because buyers get access to a chef and nutritionist to answer questions, in addition to the weekly recipe newsletter that is standard for this type of service. Good Eggs does have a bigger line of goods available on their site, including baked items and the like. But FarmBox also a charitable component: for every basket delivered, FarmBox SF will donate one pound of fresh, organic produce to Leah's Pantry, a San Francisco-based non-profit.

The company offers six FarmBox options ranging in price from $49 to $129: the Complete FarmBox comes with a week's worth of kitchen essentials, like fresh baked bread, juice, cheese, and more; other configurations include Paleo/CrossFit (so on trend!), Fruit-Only, Juicing, No-Cooking, and Fruit & Veggie. Each basket can be customized to the customer's individual preference and arrives with a newsletter offering recipes, storage tips and nutritional information. Rather than have goodies from just one farm the way one does with a CSA, FarmBox brings curated harvest baskets that are cream of the crop in terms of seasonal produce, and the list is a good one: Heirloom Organic Gardens, Hidden Star Orchards, Dirty Girl Produce, Frog Hollow Farms, Lucero Organic Farms, Regier Farms, Blue House Farm, among others.

This requires legwork, and Chako Fairbanks, co-founder of FarmBox, shared some insights into the FarmBox process:

"Taylor at FarmBox SF is on the phone with at least 10 to 15 farmers and artisans at least twice a week to talk to them about what they're currently harvesting, which varies from season to season and week to week. FarmBox knows their farmers and artisans, which further strengthens the connection between FarmBox customers and their local food source."

FarmBox seems to be building the customer bases for farmers and artisans. As crowded as our marketplace is here, it looks like there's room for just that.

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Mary Ladd

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