What if I told you that there was a way to get farm fresh groceries without the food miles, without the deceiving labels, and without the research, delivered to your doorstep whenever you want? I promised that I had a solution to our sustainable food dilemma, and I plan to keep that promise.
I live in Brooklyn, where there are more bodegas than open parking spots, more food stands than seats on the L train; and it’s all dirt cheap. But knowing what I know about food availability and pricing (in short, mass-produced cheap food is mostly preservatives, hormones, and corn whose profits go into the pockets of corporate greed, only to be fed into a machine-run farming industry…sorry that was a mouthful) these options are not my best options. But how can I eat in a way that benefits my body, the environment in the short and long-term, and the economy, in the middle of a concrete jungle? How do I know when seasonal produce trumps organic produce? Is it possible to be a conscious (and somewhat frugal) eater in a metropolitan setting, or in any setting for that matter?
You might not believe me, but my dinner last night was homemade, GMO-free, pesticide and fertilizer free, in season, and completely sourced less than 2 hours from my apartment. You definitely won’t believe me when I tell you that the ingredients were packaged and bagged and waiting for me when I got off the train from work. No lines, no lugging bags, no forgetting necessities or grabbing unnecessary items off the list because of a time crunch.But it’s all true. I know I scared you earlier telling you that your seemingly healthy groceries were a ruse. But now I only have good news; in a mess of a food system, I’ve found the Good Eggs.
Currently available in Brooklyn, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, Good Eggs is a revolutionary delivery (and pick-up) grocery service that epitomizes customer – and better yet, community – care. What the Good Eggs team has done is connect with sustainable farms near each headquarter and work with the farmers to catalog their goods. Starting with availability, food is then categorized using filters like “locally sourced,” “certified organic,” “free of hormones,” “grass-fed,” “roaming/cage-free,” and “wild,” to describe every grocery staple from butter to salmon, purple potatoes to hand-rolled oats, and fresh herbs to fresh eggs. Each food item is linked to the farm it came from, with a back story on the farm and the people who run it. Everything is added to your basket and at check-out you choose delivery or pick-up, then choose a time that works for you.
My favorite features are (1) the seasonal filters, so I know which produce is most naturally available, and (2) that “certified organic” is just one of the myriad filters. It reminds me that this label is one invented by the government, for a fee, to meet market demands for healthier food. Some farmers use only the nutrients in the natural soil, the grazing of livestock, compost, and energy from the sun to grow their crops. How much more organic can you get?! Yet because “organic” is now a recognized label, food cannot be labeled as so without government permission, which costs a pretty penny. So now farmers who farm naturally are unable to label their food as so, yet produce made on industrial organic farms that aren’t a far cry away from being conventional factory farms get the label. Uninformed consumers will likely buy this “organic” product over the real deal, because agribusinesses have capitalized on human health. With Good Eggs, I am able to decide for myself when organic is appropriate, if available, and when other filters are more important, like location or humane practices.
Some farms and vendors who have the “good eggs”:
- Fishkill Farms (NY)
- Blooming Hill Farm (NY)
- Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative (PA)
- Granola Lab (Brooklyn)
- Sea To Table (Brooklyn)
The customer service with Good Eggs is a dream come true – I’ve never used another company, food or otherwise, that compares. My first order came with a basket of heirloom tomatoes, a gift from one of the farmers as a thanks for ordering through them. Thanks to the weekly newsletter Good Eggs puts out, filled with easy and delicious recipes, updates on seasonal pickings, and community events, I was able to use these ripe and tasty tomatoes in a homemade gazpacho that was dairy-free, vegan, and of course, localvore. I’ve made other great recipes, too, like an eggplant caviar that’s perfect for a dinner party when spread on crusty bread, or as a dip with other veggies as an afternoon snack. Another order I placed came with a gift as well, a beautiful hand towel with a farm theme screen printed on it. And every order comes with a personalized note from the Good Eggs team, thanking me for my service and reminding me of all the good that comes from my orders. And the team is on top of communication 24/7. Just hours before an order arrived I was told the zucchini I was expecting showed up from the farm and looked…a little past its date. I was refunded on the spot and told they would assist me if I needed to rethink meals because of the absence of the zucchini. How nice is that?
Bottom line, the food dilemma – whether omnivore, vegan, flexitarian, whatever – can all be solved with one word: local. That image of the little farmhouse on the hill, surrounded by grazing cows and chickens, with fields yielding all the fixings for a fresh salad, is one we like to think is still real. Sadly, for the most part, that image is a fantasy. Unless you can actually visit that little farmhouse, it likely doesn’t exist. However, there are still a handful of farmers out there who are passionate about their trade, their products, and their customers who keep the tradition alive. They can make a come back with our help. Give Good Eggs a try; you’ll have a blast ordering your food, learn about the local vendors in your area, eat delicious food, connect with your community, and be instantly hooked.