A Tale of Two Boxes


Back in New Jersey, we subscribed to the Great Road Farm CSA service for a year. Since we were basically in the middle of a bunch of farmland, it worked out great and I got some keeper recipes out of it like this Kale and White Bean soup. Moving forward a couple of years and on the one hand we currently live in the concrete jungle of Santa Monica, but on the other hand it’s California which is well-known for its produce.

I eventually got my vegetable game together and signed up for two CSAs here:

  1. Out Of The Box Collective, which came to Google Earth Day a couple of years ago
  2. Good Life Organics, which I found on Yelp

Though we cancelled these during our trip to Canada this year, when we came back I thought to take a more careful look at these. I remember some high and low points from the past:

  • Good Life Organics gave me an awesome fresh herb bundle just before thanksgiving last year: sage, bay, rosemary and thyme. That ended up used in the turkey, the stuffing, the soup and in other goodies, which was great since buying them individually is usually an expensive waste.
  • On the other hand, Good Life Organics also gave me a huge daikon radish back in February. Like, a one-pounder. Wasn’t very useful; one person can only eat so many bitter daikon pickles.

I’d signed up for the smallest box each service has to offer. With Out Of The Box this is $49, plus a $5 delivery fee, and with Good Life, it is $27, and we pick it up at a nearby address. In order to decide which one to stick with, I took some photos to document our most recent pair of boxes.

Out Of The Box

For my delivery this month, I got:

  • a few things that I grilled: 1 cantaloupe, 3 shishito peppers, 2 zucchini
  • ~2 lbs tomatoes, some of which I grilled, and the rest of which became persian omelette
  • the world’s saddest head of butter lettuce and mini-herb bundles
  • a package of watercress and a box of grapes, mislabeled as seedless
  • some staples: avocado, cucumber, garlic, lime, onion

Overall, they’ve had better boxes. When I tried to estimate the total cost compared to buying individually, it was a pretty high price.

Good Life Organics

This box contained:

  • 2 each of pluots, plums and nectarines
  • a canary melon and a box of seedless grapes
  • roma tomatoes and onion that became part of a pasta sauce
  • a whole box of shishito peppers which were awesome sauteed
  • an avocado which Hanna ate whole over the course of several meals
  • a bunch of rainbow carrots

Drumroll please… we ended up cancelling our Out Of The Box subscription and decided to go with just Good Life Organics. I’m still not convinced it’s much cheaper than buying à la carte but at least it gets us eating more fruits + veggies and gives us some variety. I’ll have to try harder to find a good application for the next daikon they send me.

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