Sunday, February 10, 2008

ARGH!

Otherwise entitled, Could somebody ELSE please be in charge of this now?!

Along with working on the have-do-be list, I’ve also been going over our budget. I’ve been trimming things up and making some of the easier choices.

And then I hit the Planet Organics wall.

ARGH. Could somebody else please make this call for me?!

Their produce has been wonderful for us. When I signed up last year (good grief, has it really been a whole year?!), we were a family that seldom ate fresh produce – I’d gradually stopped buying it, as the taste and textures and freshness just weren’t worth buying.

Not only has the quality been excellent, but the fact that the box just sort of turns up each week has forced me to get back in the habit of putting vegetables back on the table.

And their people are awesome. Everybody I’ve talked to has been on the ‘super neat’ side of the scale. They’re a small company working hard to make a positive difference in the lives of both their farmers and their customers, and I respect and honor that.

But as I’m going over our budget and looking for places to nip and tuck, well.

This is a tough one to gloss over. We’re paying a high price for a small volume, and we’re a big family. A big family with a fairly constant stream of dinner guests, no less.

That $75 ‘family’ box is almost big enough for us – but we still have to supplement from the supermarket, especially in the fruit category. And we’re out of their normal delivery area (story of our lives!), so there’s an additional $5 delivery fee tacked on. That’s $80 a week, for about a third of what we actually eat.

The supermarket produce remains pretty sub par; our local farmer’s market won’t open again until May. There is one twenty miles away, but…well, it’s twenty miles away. It’s very small, but kind of determined. I did go a couple weeks ago, and have to admit the prices were awesome. I got slightly more produce than the $75 box generally has AND five dozen eggs, for $40. Even tacking on $6 for gas, we saved money. The produce was top quality, too.

But. It’s twenty miles away.

On a Sunday.

I can guarantee you right now, in writing, that I will not get out there every week. Or every other week. I will mean to, and I will have every intention of doing it, but one thing will lead to another and somehow I just won’t get around to it and then suddenly my children will be regressing back to not recognizing broccoli…sigh.

It’s a big thing with me.

There was a time when I gladly sacrificed nutrition to save money. And there was a time when I just didn’t really think about it much. But these days, I’m thinking about it. Not only ‘is this a healthy choice’, but where did it come from, who grew it, how was it grown, what else am I eating when I ingest this thing?

Having produce delivered every week, regardless of what kind of crazy I had going on, forced me to put a high level of importance on having fresh, local, organic produce on offer every single night.

I don’t want to lose that. It’s a good thing.

At the same time, we need to be extremely cost-conscious right now. If I can get produce I feel confident about eating for half the price…well.

I should do it.

You see? ARGH.

It is both very difficult, and a no-brainer, at the same time.

It is making my brain hurt.

And I don’t want to make the call.

Why couldn’t they be jerks over at the Planet? Huh? Why couldn’t they just be rude, uncaring jerks who didn’t care a fig whether or not you were happy and healthy and eating right? This would be so much easier if they were…

13 comments:

PipneyJane said...

(((((((((((Tama)))))))))))

Can't you use Planet Organics as a reward for when you cut the debt to a certain point? Then it won't be "forever", just "for now".

- Pam

Kristin said...

Here's my 2 cents- I don't skimp on produce. I like to get nice produce, otherwise it just sits in my fridge and goes bad. Stick with Planet Organics until your local market opens. You are supporting a nice company. And bonus if you can get to the Sunday market.

Moorecat said...

If they're so great over at Planet Wonderful, can you talk to them about giving you a better rate if you order all of your stuff from them?

You know, economy of scale, and so forth?

I feel your pain; it's much better at our market, but much more convenient to go to the supermarket - which is also less appealing, quality-wise ;P

Kris said...

I say stick with them. Most kids won't eat veggies and if your's are, then it is worth it.

Anonymous said...

We're doing the cost cutting too, and I've been very inspired by your posts both here and at the fool. But I really think that this is one of the things money is FOR. If it gets your children in the habit of healthy eating, then you are probably sparing them from a host of (expensive) health issues in the future. I'm willing to give up just about everything in our budget EXCEPT good quality food for my kids, honestly.

cath said...

We've been having this exact same debate - we love love love our organic box delivery but we both grew a little pale when we kept track of all variable expenses for January and then realized how much went for food (and how much of that portionately went to the Box). Despite the fact that I spent all of B's nap time today making swiss chard rolls (which have decidedly mixed appeal in these parts - but what are you going to do with Canadian produce this time of year?!), we're going to stick with it. But I think you may want to see if they'll deliver for you 6 or 9 months of the year, allowing you to do the farmer's market thing when it's accessible without losing the year-round delivery when it's not (our's won't do that - if you stop delivery, they've got too many prospective customers to let you start up again post-summer). Let us know what you do!!!

Caitlan said...

keep the box until the local market opens?

Hilary said...

Tama, I looked at Planet Organics when we were choosing our box, and they were notably more expensive than some of the the CSA options in our area. We love our box. It does require us to go pick it up, but the delivery site for ours is under a mile away. I don't know how many serve your chunk of the general neighborhood, but you might want to search here and see if there's an alternative that might work even better than planet o.

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Stephanie said...

Could you switch to getting the box every other week? Then you only have to make the drive half as often.

Renee said...

I'd bite the first person who suggested this to me so I'm open to a virtual bitch slap but do you have a green thumb? Could you make it the family project to have a backyard garden for the year. You must be able to grow all sorts of lovelies in your corner of the world and you know exactly where they've come from. In the off season maybe you could go back to the box? Oh...shutting up now.

Yarnhog said...

Keep Planet Organics. It's working for you. Even if it costs a bit more, the benefit is worth it. Trim something else. And if you've already trimmed everything else, then unless you're in danger of not making the mortgage, accept it as the cost of healthy kids.

Amy Lane said...

oooh...that's a toughie. Can ya search the papers for other farmer's markets? It seems like there's always more markets than I thought there were! (I know there's one right up the street, and one in Roseville...) OH--hey--have you checked out other supermarkets? Sometimes one supermarket will have carp, when the other one has Holy Mackerel that's swell broccoli!

Science PhD Mom said...

I second the CSA (community supported agriculture) option. You're still buying local, and in most cases buying organic, and you're supporting small farms which helps to keep the suburban and urban areas from becoming total concrete jungles. It's a win-win-win, and you get farmer's market prices. Check it out!