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Mar 20, 2008 03:48 PM

Boston Organics

Ah! I was so disappointed in Boston Organics! I was really excited to try them for the first time and the produce was ick! I'm going to e mail them and give them one more shot and Ill keep you posted. Anyone tried diamond organics (though they are expensive!).

Also, just joined Stillman's CSA. Any tips?


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    1. I'll just chip in that the carbon footprint of a business like Boston organics is huge.

      1 Reply
      1. re: almansa

        A bigger carbon footprint than shopping at a large grocery store like S and S or WF? When we joined BO we tried to reason this out for ourselves, and BO seemed slightly better on that front, but I'd like to hear someone else's reasoning on it, too.

      2. It is still winter, as far as produce goes -- give it a month and they'll have great stuff.

        1 Reply
        1. re: blackcoffee

          When I used them during the end of fall, beginning of winter they sent out a notice that the orders wouldn't have as much produce in them because of the prices of gas and whatnot. I canceled after that.

        2. I've been a Stillman's member since 2000 - what kind of tips are you looking for?

          1. I'm a long-time Boston Organics member. Obviously, the winter produce is not quite as nice as the summer stuff, and is sourced from far away (eg. lots of transport). On the other hand, this week we got beautiful pea shoots and a perfect mango. Over the last few weeks the standout items have been avacados, pineapple, mango, blood oranges (add on item), and apples. I personally don't care about organic vs. conventional (but prefer local over distant) but really appreciate the variety, value, quality and convenience of boston organics. Others disagree..... but after 4 years I remain an avid fan. Now, if I could only get a share in the Belmont CSA I would be fulfilled (although I have continued boston organics in the past while in participating in a CSA).

            14 Replies
            1. re: tdaaa

              I'm waiting for my box to arrive this afternoon...fingers crossed that I get some pea shoots! Sadly the friday box never seems to be as good as what the newsletter / web site promises in "this week's box" - more substitutions than not. I am giving strong consideration to canceling the service in favor of local farmers' markets mostly to avoid such a large carbon footprint with BO.

              1. re: heathermb

                What is the source of your carbon footprint information? May I have some details please.

                My own carbon footprint is light because I don't own a car, I live in a small space and I unite with others to lower the cost of food delivery with companies like Boston Organics. (They even use pedaled Trikes to deliver in some parts of Boston. )

                If there are fact that I don't have, I would like to see them. Please tell us the details that made you come to your conclusion.

                1. re: BostonZest

                  For me, I think the basic deal is:

                  farmers markets/csa's = local = very little transport

                  BO = from CA/FL/Mexico/etc = much, much greater transport

                  It is true that BO does offer *some* east coast produce in summer, but unless they have significantly changed things since last summer, it is a small amount proportionately.

                  In winter I would say distance traveled evens out with what one would find in a supermarket, but I can get better produce at Wilson's (who sell many of their own crops even into winter, so there is an edge there in my book).

                  That was my carbon footprint reasoning when I quit BO.

                  1. re: lisa13

                    I definitely agree with this. I quit BO because it was farmers market season and plenty of local produce was available, and yet my BO boxes were full of all kinds of foods from the west coast and Mexico.

                    1. re: lisa13

                      We agree. In season, we have Stillman's CSA but in dead o' winter, we do BO.

                    2. re: BostonZest

                      My reasoning is almost identical to lisa13. What it really comes down to for me is the fact that most of the produce comes from very, very far away. Since I have little control over what comes in my box I am choosing instead to shop for myself and make more conscious decisions about foods that are produced as close to me as possible.

                      Once farmers market season comes around I will have an abundance of beautiful, local foods from which to choose and I intend to take full advantage.

                      1. re: heathermb

                        I've often been tempted to join a CSA, but I enjoy the farmers' market experience so much I'd miss it if I didn't go every week to see the same farmers, the same faces, but different produce from week to week. I hit Davis Square on Wednesdays and Union Square on Saturdays in the full swing of the season and this year I'm going to learn to can and freeze for the winter months too. Because apparently I'm turning into my grandmother.

                        1. re: yumyum

                          I agree and I love to try to support a number of the farms by buying a bit here and a bit there. I do Copley, City Hall, and Coolidge Corner. Living in the Back Bay we have farmer's markets available 7 days a week with one seat on a bus or subway or a nice walk to Cambridgeport on Saturday.

                          I also walk the entire market before I buy anything. As I go, I compose menus in my head and then backtrack and buy what I need for a couple of days.

                          We have the tinyest of city kitchens and a refrigerator that I hate. I must have been designed for people who don't eat fresh food. A new fridge is under research because (thank goodness) the old one is leaking water during the defrost cycle.

                          So storage for more than a few days food at a time is difficult.

                          1. re: yumyum

                            Good point - while I enjoy the friendly relationship I've built with the Stillman family, especially in the past two years with Kate and Aidan, I do miss the wide variety of the Copley and Coolidge Corner farmers markets. However, I don't drive. Now that I work in Brigham Circle, Copley involves about an hour's round trip by bus or streetcar in the middle of a work day, and I can't get to Coolidge Corner till nearly 6 on my way home. I do still shop the Brookline market pretty regularly, but there are times in the early and late ends of the season when the things I want are sold out and stands are closing down by the time I arrive. The Brigham Circle farmer's market has only two stands, and doesn't really compete with what I get in my CSA share.

                            BFP also notes that we get the half-share from Stillman's, which leaves us room to supplement from the farmer's markets if we don't get the variety or quantity we might want.

                            1. re: Allstonian

                              I'm completely ignorant of "Boston Organics" but I've been a patron of the local farmers' markets (Copley, City Hall Plaza & So.End) for almost a decade. Wasnt there a discussion of a year-round market space - what happened to that project??

                              Beyond the carbon footprint (I don't drive) & organics argument, I buy local produce because it TASTES better. I know the farmers by face or name, and they have great recommendations that never disappoint me. Husk cherries, for example!

                              You cannot tell me those California strawberries taste ANYWHERE CLOSE to those from So. or Cent. Mass. !

                              Can anyone describe their experience with 'meat shares' - the WeeklyDig had an item, recently. Also, an article on the vegetable produce:

                              1. re: beacon_hill_boy

                                Here's a pretty good description of my experience with Houde Family Farm meat CSA.

                                While I really enjoy my meat CSA, it's probably not ideal for people with limited storage space (unless you split a share.) If you're already on the Farmer's Market circuit, you're probably better off picking meat up on an as-needed basis from Stillman, Chestnut or other locla farms that serve local farmer's markets.

                                1. re: Chris VR

                                  Thanks for that! I've enjoyed Stillman's lambchops, but the sausages haven't been as exciting as what I find in Montreal, on the Plateau. I'm going to investigate the meat CSA more carefully, now. We have a subzero with room.
                                  I buy a Savenor's and wonder how big the savings with a CSA would be ... guess I need to crunch some numbers!

                                  1. re: beacon_hill_boy

                                    Cost-wise, I feel like it's a wash for me, especially when I factor in the very high quaility/taste. I suppose I do spend more overall, because I certainly wasn't spending $6.25/lb for bacon before but DAMN this bacon is gooood. It's helped me realize that there's not much point (for me) in spending less for inferior product- life's too short to eat Oscar Meyer! But then, I was definitely spending more than $6.25/lb for steaks. We had some T-bones the other day that were so flavorful. If you buy a lot of cheaper cuts, this sort of thing is going to seem like a larger hit.

                            2. re: yumyum

                              That's exactly what we did last summer, and it's been wonderful this winter. We bought a little pantry-sized deep freezer from Sears, a vacuum sealer from Costco, and all of our canning supplies from Tags in Porter Sq. I've been enjoying farmers market beets, tomatoes, cauliflower, green beans, broccoli, and squash all winter long. It's actually a fun process and not as difficult as it seems. The best part is that every meal is a little reminder of all of the great times we had at the markets last summer.

                              EDIT - Ooops, this was supposed to be in response to yumyum's post above!