Friday, May 01, 2020

Eating in quarantine: Veggies and meat to my door with Freshii and TruLocal

Since the end of the before times when all this isolation and distancing began, my Facebook feed has been filled with ads for two things: veggies and meat delivered to you door. Since I'm both doing more cooking and limited to grocery shopping once a week (and to what I can carry home since I don't have a car) I decided to try some of them out.

Freshii Sparks veggie bundle

I filled my freezer with meat before we went into lockdown, so while I worked to create freezer space I made a veggie order first. Freshii is a smallish Canadian quick serve chain specializing in healthier bowls, sammies and the like. I presume they began offering the grocery bundles as a way of using up the stock from their standing produce orders, and have kept it going and expanded it to other stores as it proved popular. They have also begun offering different bundles and add-on options, like beer from Dominion City.

The base bundle for $50 (delivery included, tax extra) comes with a selection of veggies and fruits, including a few things I don't usually buy like bananas (mine are destined to be banana bread) and avocados (which I used to make guacamole that I had on rye toast from Rideau Bakery this morning with brie -- a delish breakfast.) Substititions are available, so I subbed out the cauliflower for more brocoli. I also added on two pounds of mushrooms, and 4 pounds of brown rice to restock my rice supply.

The ordering was automated through Facebook messenger on the Freshii Sparks Street Facebook page, which was pretty cool. This generated an order and they followed up by email to confirm delivery and provide payment options -- I paid by e-transfer and they were at my door with a box of veggies the next morning.

If you price it out, it's probably a bit more expensive than getting it all from the grocery store yourself. But you need to factor in the convenience of delivery. It's also healthier for me, as without a car and limited to one shopping trip per week I can only carry so much home. So, while I was already eating more veggiies lately, this upped my intake substantially and allows me to carry other things home from the grocery store instead. I'll likely do another order in a week or two, once I work through all this.

TruLocal meat box

When I had cleared enough freezer space, it was time to order some meat. A number of local farm-supplied options have been scrolling through my Facebook promoted posts, but after crowdsourcing for recomendations I settled on TruLocal, which sources all its meat from Ontario farmers, much of it even organic.

It's a subscription model where you get a box every set number of weeks, but you can modify, delay or cancel at any time. You choose a box size for a set price, and you get a number of points you use to fill a box -- the fancier the meat, the more points. So while ground beef might me one point, a prime rib roast might be four.

I went with the large box for $250, and here's what I selected:

I got a note that they were out of the hot dogs and they subbed in beef sausage; slightly disapointed as hot dogs are something I have for lunch while sausage is a dinner thing, but some supply chain issues are understandable these days. I tried to get a mix of things -- bacon is a weekend-only treat. I was happy to see that the salmon burgers were wild caught, not farmed.

Usually they deliver by FedEx within a week, but it's taking up to seven days to ship as they've had a surge in business during the pandemic. I got the shipping notice on day seven, and the next day FedEx dropped a big box of meat packed in dry ice at my door.

I should mention that I also got six free chicken breasts as part of an introductory offer. Everything was portioned and packed and thankfully I had plenty of freezer space. So far I've had the chicken wings (delicious), the samon burgers (good, but I'm reminded why I don't usually have salmon -- it's a strong fish) and the smoky cheddar susage (very good, juicy, nice flavour).

I'm not sure I'll be ready for a re-order in six weeks, but we shall see. Looking forward to the bacon tomorrow, and to cooking the roast one day soon. And I will need to come up with a good recipe for the haddock. I avoided steaks as our communal BBQ is off limits, but maybe next order. Also excited to try the schnitzel -- I am envisioning a mushroom sauce with homemade pasta.

So far, I would say its good quality local meat and with the convenience of delivery its good value. Only downside is, on my Wednesday trip to Farm Boy not having to buy veggies or meat, I came home with sooo many carbs... :)

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