A Final Ranking of Ten Different Produce Box Delivery Services in The Bay Area

Ten weeks ago I began sampling different produce delivery services in the Bay Area. I have tried one box per week, and I finally got to the end - the point where I can share my ranking!  

I was daunted by the notion that perhaps I would not be able to recognize and formulate differences between the programs. I was unsure what I would discover: What would I like? What would the identifiable trends be that existed throughout the industry? Or what would be the things that just flat out did not work? Would I be able to weave threads between all of the services so I could provide a comprehensive ranking at the end?

And through this process, I saw it all. I discovered commonalities, I saw plenty of differences, and I definitely saw some things that just flat out did not work.

Below you will find my ranking. I should preface by saying that each and every company experience was so pleasant: from customer service, to website user interface, to the nutritious and locally grown produce items that are the stars of this entire process, and to the overarching mission of improving our food system in the United States, period.

This ranking exists as my point of view, and I came to these decisions based on comparisons I was able to identify once I was about 1/2 way through my reviews. This is one person’s opinion, and I challenge you to let me know otherwise (wink;)!
 

Rankings Shortcut

 

Top 10 Rankings Summary

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1. Golden Gate Organics 

Website

Read my full review on Golden Gate Organics here

Golden Gate Organics is a produce box delivery service owned and operated by Coast Guard veteran Corey Tufts. The company pools produce from multiple nearby farms. Every single item is local, organic, and in-season.You can expect a great mix of fruits and vegetables that are all very usable, even for the novice home cook.You can customize your box from start to finish by excluding items that you do not care for and perhaps even doubling up on the items you love. The company prides themselves on their customer service tactics including transparency and communication, and they do not disappoint!

Delivery Schedule: Home Delivery & Business Delivery

Subscription Options: Just One Time, Weekly, or Every Other Week - skip or add delivery dates at any time

Box Size: Single, Regular, Small Family, Family

Cost: $24, $30, $40, $50 respectively

Cancellation Policy: any time

Customization: Yes  

Non-Produce Items / Online Store: Yes (spices, dairy, eggs, home essentials)

Delivery Range: San Francisco, Marin, San Jose, Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, Fremont, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Vallejo, Livermore, Antioch, and Novato 

Bonus: Golden Gate Organics also offers business wellness services

 

 

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2. Greenhearts Family Farm

Website

Read my full review on Greenhearts Family Farm here

Talk about a personal touch, Greenhearts was founded by partners Paul and Aurora who promise a bountiful harvest with each and every CSA box, and they do not fall short of that promise. The produce is sourced primarily from their farm, with some items originating from nearby farms. This box is not customizable however you will receive a substantial amount of produce and a solid mix of fruit and veggies, everything from well known to lesser known items. All organic, all local, and all as fresh as can possibly be.

Delivery Schedule: Home Delivery

Subscription Options: Weekly, Every Other Week (4-week initial commitment)

Box Size: one box size (my delivery contained 11 different types of produce)

Cost: $39 per box

Cancellation Policy: any time after the 4-week initial commitment

Customization: No       

Non-Produce Items / Online Store: Yes (eggs)

Delivery Range: San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Silicon Valley, Coastside, and Peninsula

 

 

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3. Eatwell Farm 

Website

Read my full review on Eatwell Farm here

The family owned and operated Eatwell Farm has grown produce on their land outside of Dixon for over 20 years. The year-round operation spans across 105 acres, and over 85% of produce included in the CSA boxes originates from their farm. Eatwell Farm understands that CSA programs may be daunting for the receiver since they tend to include unknown produce, commonly from the green, leafy category. In order to ease the unknown and since this box is not customizable, the farm’s website and newsletter provides in depth information on each produce item.  They include a variety of recipes to sift through plus storage tips that lengthen the life of the produce.

Delivery Schedule: Pickup Points + Limited Home Delivery ($10 in East Bay and San Francisco)

Subscription Options: Weekly, Every Other Week (4-week initial commitment) + options for 13 or 26 deliveries at slightly discounted prices

Box Size: Box for 2, Family Box

Cost: breaks down to $24, $31 respectively

Cancellation Policy: any time after the 4-week initial commitment

Customization: No       

Non-Produce Items / Online Store: Yes (eggs, meat, beauty products, essential oils and more)

Delivery Range: Dixon, Davis, San Francisco, El Cerrito, Vallejo, Alameda, Emeryville, Oakland, Berkeley, San Rafael, Mill Valley, Pleasant Hill, Sacramento, Vacaville, Fairfield, Lafayette, San Leandro and Castro Valley

 

 

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4. Full Belly Farm

Website

Read my full review on Full Belly Farm here

Certified organic since 1985, Full Belly Farm is located in the Capay Valley and produces a wide range of products as part of their CSA program, including vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, preserves, baked goods, oils, and seasonal organic flowers. Their produce boxes are filled with quality items, all of which are predetermined and posted on the website prior to delivery, along with recipes and storage tips. Full Belly offers a ton of value with their boxes and is the place to go for beautiful floral bouquets.

Delivery Schedule: Pickup Points + Limited Home Delivery ($7 in East Bay, San Francisco and Davis)

Subscription Options: Weekly, Every Other Week, Every Three Weeks, Every Month (4-week initial commitment) + options for quarterly or annual subscriptions at slightly discounted prices

Box Size: one size fits all!

Cost: breaks down to $19 per box monthly, $17.50 per box quarterly, or $16.50 per box annually

Cancellation Policy: any time after the 4-week initial commitment

Customization: No       

Non-Produce Items / Online Store: Yes (baked goods, preserves, grains, olive oil, yarn)

Delivery Range: Albany, Berkeley, Davis, Mountain View, Oakland, Palo Alto, Piedmont, Sacramento, San Francisco, Woodland, Fremont, Esparto, San Rafael

 

 

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5. Good Eggs

Website

Read my full review on Good Eggs here

Good Eggs is an online grocery and meal kit delivery service that provides fresh products from mostly local brands (over 70%) who have adopted sustainable practices, including four produce box deliveries from Full Belly Farm, Say Hay Farm, Fifth Crow (recently added as of mid-June 2018), and Eatwell Farm. The privately owned company was founded in 2011 as an alternative to the grocery store model. Good Eggs is a one stop shop for local groceries, selling everything from produce, dairy, animal proteins, beverages, snacks, flowers, prepared meals, and of course CSAs. This is a great option if you are looking to do the bulk of your grocery shopping all at once. Plus you can score some great deals on cosmetically challenged and bulk produce.

Delivery Schedule: Home Delivery ($30 minimum order with a $9.99 delivery fee on any order that totals less than $60)

Subscription Options: order single boxes or recurring weekly delivery

Box Size: one size available (Say Hay around 7 items, Full Belly 6-8, Fifth Crow 8-10, and Eatwell has 10-13)

Cost: $19.99, $24.99, $31.99, and $35.99 respectively

Cancellation Policy: cancel at any time

Customization: No      

Non-Produce Items / Online Store: Yes - full online grocery concept

Delivery Range: San Francisco, the East Bay, much of Marin and the Peninsula.

 

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6. Tara Firma Farms

Website

Read my full review on Tara Firma Farms here

Tara Firma Farms offers a robust CSA program. A 260-acre family owned and operated farm located in Petaluma, Tara Firma sells organic fruit and vegetable CSA boxes, as well as a variety of cuts of meat, eggs and cheese. Their predetermined produce boxes are filled with a ton of greens, a few of which I was unfamiliar with. This box is definitely for the adventurous eater/cook. If you are looking for some solid animal protein options, this is also your place!

Delivery Schedule: Home Delivery ($5-$8 additional charge)  + Pick Up Points

Subscription Options: Weekly, Bi Weekly, Monthly

Box Size: Regular, Large, or Fruit Only

Cost: $25, $35, and $10 respectively

Cancellation Policy: cancel at any time

Customization: No        

Non-Produce Items / Online Store: Yes (meat)

Delivery Range: Oakland, Piedmont, Berkeley, Benicia, San Francisco, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Peninsula, Albany.

 

 

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7. Imperfect Produce

Website

Read my full review on Imperfect Produce here

Imperfect Produce buys “imperfect” fruits and vegetables from over 150 farms and producers and sells them to customers throughout the state. The company notes that there are 3 billion pounds of produce going to waste per year in California alone, even after food banks and animal feedlots take what they want. You have the option of building a box of conventional or organic produce, but keep in mind that not all items are local, even of the organic variety! The website lists from where each item originates and some are located out of the country.

Delivery Schedule: Home Delivery with a fee of $2.99 - $4.99, depending on location

Subscription Options: Every Week, Every Other Week

Box Size: S, M, L, XL for an organic box, or a conventional box (mixed, all fruit, or all veggie)

Cost: prices start at $11 for the smallest box and goes up from there through customization and add ons

Cancellation Policy: cancel at any time

Customization: Yes

Non-Produce Items / Online Store: No

Delivery Range: Throughout the Bay Area in California, including Oakland and Berkeley (type in your zip code and they’ll tell you right away!)

 

 

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8. Say Hay Farms

Website

Read my full review on Say Hay Farms here

Say Hay Farms is a first generation family owned farm founded by Chris Hay and his mother Sarah Hay in 2010. The Hay Family started off with 2.5 acres and now grow produce and raise hens across 45 acres of land in Esparto, Yolo County, CA. They grow seasonal produce made possible through sustainable farming practices, and raise hens that produce nutritious and flavorful eggs which is achieved through proper feeding and breeding techniques. The boxes are smaller than some of the others, as is the farm itself, but the quality is top notch. Say Hay is a great place to purchase eggs, if you are in the market.

Delivery Schedule: Home Delivery and Pick Up Points

Subscription Options: Every Week, Every Other Week (4-week initial commitment)

Box Size: one size box

Cost: $22 per box (again, with a 4-week minimum) and discounts for a 12 or 24 week commitment

Cancellation Policy: cancel anytime after the 4 weeks

Customization: No      

Non-Produce Items / Online Store: Yes (eggs)

Delivery Range: San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Walnut Creek, Sacramento, Woodland, Davis, and Winters.

 

 

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9. Albert & Eve

Website

Read my full review on Albert & Eve here

Albert & Eve is an online marketplace that offers a variety of all locally made products, including nuts, breads, pastas, meats, miso, and of course, produce boxes. Named after two of the founders of modern organic farming, Lord Albert Howard and Lady Eve Balfour, Albert & Eve’s goals include supporting companies who follow sustainable farming methods. There are some neat brands found on the website, perhaps many that you would not normally find in the supermarket due to the small size of the companies themselves. I had a tough time with my particular order as I received some rotten produce and my order had a few missing items, however customer service was top notch and they recovered as best as they could given the situation at hand.

Delivery Schedule: Home Delivery

Subscription Options: Just One Time, Weekly, or Every Other Week

Box Size: S, M, L (fruit only, veggie only, or mixed)

Cost: starts at $24.50 and goes up from there depending on customization

Cancellation Policy: cancel anytime

Customization: Yes  

Non-Produce Items / Online Store: Yes - an online marketplace for small, local brands across a variety of categories

Delivery Range: San Francisco, all the way down to San Jose, Hayward out to Livermore, Walnut Creek up to Concord, Oakland, Berkeley, and many places in between.

 

 

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10. Farm Fresh To You

Website

Read my full review on Farm Fresh To You here

Produce from Farm Fresh To You is grown on an organic and second-generation farm named Capay Organics, and on other neighboring farms. With a strong marketing team and a ton of branded delivery trucks, this company continues to service a huge delivery area in the Northern California region. I found all produce to be fresh and top notch, delivered over night when the temperatures have dropped to keep items cool. However the quantities were a bit light, especially for the cost.

Delivery Schedule: Home Delivery

Subscription Options: Weekly, Every Other Week, Every Three Weeks, Every Four Weeks

Box Size: Regular or More (types included fruit only, mixed, no cooking, organic snack pack, traditional CSA, and veggie only)

Cost: $33 for the regular, $46 for the more ( I received 7 items told in my box labeled more)

Cancellation Policy: cancel anytime up to two days prior to the next delivery

Customization: Yes      

Non-Produce Items / Online Store: No

Delivery Range: most locations in Northern California (Bay Area, down to San Jose, East throughout the Central Valley.

 

My Final Thoughts

 

In conclusion, there are so many trustworthy companies out there who service Northern California residents by providing healthy, nutritious, and whole foods available at any time of the year. The intense, bold flavors you will experience with every bite of produce sourced directly from these farms will make reading this article and trying out a delivery service all worth it. You will find that these companies have made our lives easier by setting up strong infrastructures, and, for the most part, seamless and convenient delivery systems. After all, time is a precious thing, and it is hard to find enough of it every day as it is!

My hope is that this article removes some of the leg work for you as you choose in which regional produce delivery program to enroll. There are some differences between them that will either entice you or turn you off.

So, the challenge is now yours. Which local produce delivery service will you try out?

Please share your thoughts when you do, and feel free to ask me any questions along the way! I venture to say that I have nearly seen it all when it comes to local produce delivery services.

Here’s to spreading the word of the ease and importance of supporting local, and to feeding your mind, body, and soul with nutritious and whole foods!

 

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