Friday, September 14, 2012

in season: aussie farmers direct

In the midst of my exploration of the best source of local/organic/quality/convenient/budget-friendly (not asking for much, am I?) fruit and veg for our family, I received a knock at the door from an Aussie Farmers Direct representative. We used AFD years ago, back in the suburbs, with just the one kid. I was working full-time, and my cooking repertoire was limited to meals that began with a Maggi packet. There was no way we could keep up with the potatoes alone, so we dropped it.

But this time, I saw the magic words...organic...delivered...local...and signed up for an organic family box. The set up was easy, you pay via direct deposit, they send a text to remind you of the delivery. This is what we received...
 
Fresh, abundant, delicious. I had kind of expected the organic stuff to be lesser quality, like the sad bits of broccoli you see in the supermarket, but it really wasn't. A gorgeous cauliflower, which became the yummiest curry ever. A lush bunch of coriander and beetroot (which I roasted) were among the favourites. I noticed on the few packaged things that they had been sourced from Victoria (we're on the Central Coast of NSW), which sparked a little conundrum for me- is organic worth it if it has to travel many kilometres? So I hopped onto the chat function on the Aussie Farmers Direct website and asked questions about the source of the produce. I was very reassured to find that there are several packing depots in each state (which is why the contents of the boxes vary), produce is most definitely Australian, and sourced regionally as much as possible. This box cost $56 delivered.
 
For the sake of comparison and curiosity, I changed my order for the following week to a regular family box...
Again, beautiful, fresh quality. At $37 a box, delivered, significantly kinder on the budget. 
 
So I found a lot to love about Aussie Farmers direct, this time around, I think helped along by my shifting attitude towards food and eating seasonally. Whole pumpkin two weeks in a row would have really had me scratching my head (and throwing away pumpkin a few weeks later), but now that I am working on building up recipes to use produce when it is in season, I no longer find that daunting. The delivery is very convenient and easy, and so exciting for the kids to unpack. The sales service is very friendly and helpful, I find the website easy to navigate. Aussie Farmers is far more flexible nowadays, you can change your order week-to-week, pick and pay is available if you want to choose individual items, and you can put your regular order on hold, is your family gets, say, gastro. On a Sunday, the box contents go up on the website, so you can check what's coming and do some menu planning. The addition of organic produce makes me happy. We also signed up for the milk delivery (and butter), which has reduced my need to pop to the shops several times through the week. Hallelujah.
 
I would love if Aussie Farmers supplied more specific information about the source of the produce. I wish the pick-and-pack option wasn't so expensive (when a delivery fee is included) because i really need an extra ten apples for lunchboxes, and that's all I need. I look forward to the organic range expanding to include milk and meat, especially whole chooks. I would love the pricing structure on the website to be listed as a per-kilo price, so I can readily compare pricing. But these are pretty small things. Overall, the service and the quality of the produce is excellent.
 
At the moment, Aussie Farmers Direct are offering a $10 credit for new customers! There are no obligations or contracts, so you may as well give it a try.


8 comments:

  1. This has been a really interesting read for me. We do try and grow a few of our own fruit and veggies in the garden but still need stuff from town. Unfortunately the local IGA is our closest option and the fruit and veg is terrible, lucky if it lasts more than a few days once it's home, which isn't great when you live 30kms from town. I will have to look in to where they deliver.
    Thanks for the info.

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  2. I have always wanted to try them but was to nervous as we do eat a lot of apples, oranges. But now I might just try.

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  3. I used a local service a year ago but wasn't Happy with quality. But now you've got me thinking I might give AFD a go! Great read x

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  4. uuum. have i been living under a rock??!!! YOU ARE ON THE CENTRAL COAST?

    for all i know we could be neighbours!

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