Farmbox Direct is a hybrid of a CSA and Fresh Direct, offering a super convenient weekly delivery of organic produce without the full season commitment. The service delivers a once-weekly box of beautiful, super fresh organic produce right to your door. All of the products are USDA-certified organic. Unlike a CSA, there’s no annual subscription, so you don't have to get deliveries when you’re out of town for a week or month. You order your box online and it arrives at the end of the week.
There are a number of box options and sizes, including only fruit, only vegetables, and boxes packed specifically for juicing. You can preview what comes in each box and customize with up to five substitutions, so you won’t end up with produce you don’t want. Customers also have the option of adding other grocery items to their delivery, like organic eggs, bread and milk.
Founder Ashley Tyrner said her target customers are busy professional families, who want to eat healthy, but may not want to spend the time shopping or hunting for organics. Before starting Farmbox, Tyrner worked in the fashion industry in NYC. Becoming a mother made her realize the need for such a service.“My main focus with Farmbox Direct is making it so the average family and working professional can have great organic produce and other staple items that they need for their week,” Tyrner told TreeHugger.
Tyrner also has plenty of farm know-how, having spent her childhood summers working on a family farm in the Midwest. In preparation for launching her business, she spent a year researching farms. “I’m very hands-on,” she said. “I meet with the farmers that I work with, I ask the appropriate questions about their certifications.”
All Farmbox Direct items are organic, and Tyrner also works to source as many products as possible locally. “I want to be local as much as possible,” said Tyrner. “But then we do hit the dead of winter and avocados and bananas are just never going to grow here.”
The service is currently only offered in parts of the East Coast, but as Tyrner plans to expand Farmbox Direct to the Midwest and West Coast, she’s keeping local sourcing a priority. “Farmbox would be different in different regions because I wouldn’t want to ship somebody in Kansas cherries from New Jersey.”
Tyrner said she also plans on expanding Farmbox’s offering of dry goods, from rice to cleaning supplies. “My customers say they want to have an organic household,’ she said. “I’m definitely moving Farmbox in the direction of being your one-stop shop.”
The boxes are packed with a biodegradable liner and reusable cooler packs. Freshbox sometimes even uses overstock packing from other companies that would otherwise be discarded (you can see the one above has a Cheesecake Factory logo). Small items like cherries and grapes may come in plastic bags, which are also made with biodegradable materials. This is a much better option than non-recyclable packaging, but these are materials that need to be handled by a commercial composting facility.
Price-wise, the Farmbox is comparable to other grocery delivery services. The small box is priced at $36.95 plus a $4.98 shipping fee. Fresh Direct has a minimum order of $30, offers an organic “CSA Box” for $34.99, and has a delivery fee that starts at $5.99 for New York City and goes up as you get further away.
Perhaps the best part about Farmbox Direct is the freshness of the fruits and veggies. “I don’t house any inventory,” said Tyrner. “Whatever comes in today, is going out today. I want it to be harvested and at your table and ready to eat that week.”