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Toronto CSAs and Organic Deliveries

We're looking into getting produce delivery in Toronto. I've found a number of different companies, all of which seem to do more or less the same thing, so of course, now comes the picking and choosing. Does anyone else have any experience with produce delivery/CSAs? Any recommendations or warnings?

We're looking at FoodShare, Plan B Organics, Wanigan, Front Door Organics, and Organics Delivered. I'm also trying to figure out proportions- it looks like some of them are delivering just a single orange for 2 people, which seems a little, hmm, meager. Perhaps I'm reading things wrong, and they're really measuring in units.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Lea

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  1. I'm a local organic farmer, and I'd recommend Plan B above the others. Plan B, while they don't grow all the produce they put in their boxes, is an actual farm. The other companies buy from Pfenning's or directly from local farms, but when you deal with them, you don't necessarily know where your food is coming from each week. Plan B doesn't do home delivery, though, if I'm not mistaken. I think you have to pick up your share at Dufferin Grove.

    1. We have gotten boxes from Front Door Organics and Weekly Organic Wonders (what Wanigan used to be). The WOW box would give you 1 orange and about a bunch of other single servings of things, Front Door Organics gave better amounts of things and I prefered them over WOW. Their customer service is excellent as well and they will credit you/replace items if something is rotten or arrives squashed or bruised. What I didn't like was getting produce from all over the place, such as kale from Texas. I think bioregions need to be factored into organic foods. I think Wanigan has a local box though.
      I love the idea of a CSA but we don't have a car and there don't seem to be any east end depots.

      1. I used to be signed up with Green Earth Organics, http://www.greenearthorganics.com/, and I was always happy with the quality and service.

        1. I've been signed up with Plan B for the last 4 summers. I've gotten the half-share and there's only two of us at home as well. There's always been more than enough food (some days Alvaro throws a little something extra in just for us ;) and last year we added a fruit box too. I highly recommend their service - but only if you do cook a lot and don't mind repetition. Some weeks in the summer, we have been innundated with so much produce, we either had to give some away or do a lot of cooking and freezing (especially swiss chard soup - yum). I've never gotten the winter box - its just not very convenient for me to pick up all year round, but I make the effort in the summer. I picked up my box at the Dufferin Grove market - I think one can do the same at Riverdale - but you'd have to check with them.
          Good luck!

          1 Reply
          1. Regarding farmers' markets, I heard today that at least two more are in the works for this summer - one at the Wychwood Barns and the other at the Brick Works.

            1. We opted for organic home-delivered produce, did some research in advance, and ultimately decided on Front Door Organics, which proved to be a good choice for us: best of all, we got to experience some interesting produce (I hadn't previously tried sunchokes, but utterly loved them when granted the opportunity). I think that it takes a bit of vetoing work on their website to avoid a bin full of low-price fruit like oranges and apples, but once you get the hang of it, you may be pleased, as we were. The taste of the organic ingredients was incredibly superior to produce from any other source: the fruit and vegetables were delicious and flavourful.

              We discontinued in the end, not because of the fact that we were disappointed, but because I simply found we didn't use enough of what was given before it went bad.

              1. Anybody doing Foodshare? I don't have a car and I know they drop near me (Chester station). I am hoping the organic box would have a good selection of LOCAL stuff over the summer, because I can't make it to any of the markets. I would be hoping for local rhubarb, berries, tomatoes etc when they are seasonal. Anybody have any experience with their summer selection? The website sample box is for November.

                1. We used to use Green Earth organics. The produce was good and delivered, which is a bonus, but I agree that it (especially in winter) was mostly produce from the States which also happened in summer as well.

                  Last summer we switched to Plan B and there was always plenty, and the bonus was that they grow it themselves or get it from other local farmers. This year there is a new option (the gourmet box) which apparently may include more herbs and interesting vegetables. Last year we were very happy with the produce received - picked that day or the day before, but at certain times there was not a lot of variety, for obvious reasons relating to the growing season etc. However, there was an option to get a bushel of tomatoes in tomato season etc. Generally, I really liked it. There are also pickups at Dundas/Bloor and Roncesvalles on Galley Avenue. It was small enough to carry on my bike (sometimes uncomfortably because there was so much!)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: innercitykitty

                    We started getting a weekly box from Mama Earth Organics. We had tried out a few others over the past few years and this seems to be the best value, service and they also seem to be the most genuinely focused on local farms. I think they're relatively new and they just deliver to East Toronto right now. They're very nice though and I'd highly recommend them: www.mamaearth.ca

                    1. re: DavidMorris

                      Thanks for the post, we signed up last week and we're really impressed.

                  2. the original message was posted a while back, but i thought it's worth adding my response given that the summer is (hopefully) around the corner and local produce will soon be available.

                    I discontinued Front Door Organics because of their reliance on American organic agro-business (I once got spinach from Earthbound during spinach season in Ontario). My current preference is local over organic, if I can't get both. Besides Plan B, there is another community share farm near Peterborough that has pick up in Toronto. It's called Chick-a-biddy Acres, and their website is www.chickabiddyacres.com. A full box is $700, half is 400 and they have two pick up spots in west end Toronto (I know there are lots of westenders on this board so this is an alert for you: one of the pick up spots is at argyle and dovercourt). produce is available from June to October only, as they are strictly a farm and don't do any supplemental imports. I think it's mostly veggies and herbs, although it seems that they are adding eggs and some meat as well as options. My friend in Peterborough has been buying produce from them for a couple of years and says it's delicious.

                    I have just talked to the contact person there and she said they still have space for new members.

                    1. I tried Wanigan (http://www.wanigan.com/). They sounded great, but so far they've charged my cc, failed to deliver the produce and now they're not answering their phone or calling me back. If I don't hear from them by noon tomorrow, I'll be reporting them to MasterCard for fraud. I suggest trying someone else.