On Finally Trying Fresh Direct

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After much hemming and hawing, I finally decided to actually try Fresh Direct for myself. I'd seen the idling trucks around the city and heard the complaints of excessive packaging. Add to that my own sense that shopping for one's food is a very personal experience, and thus the idea of someone in a warehouse selecting my Granny Smith or my quartered chicken was rather unattractive.

But I tried it anyway because I'm a new mom and it's true, you just feel like you can't do all the things you used to do with a baby in the house.

First, the good news...

I was impressed at their attempts to include local vendors in their inventory, although I wonder what the vetting process is to get one's local product placed in the line-up. I was also pleased to see how many organic and natural products they carry, and some well priced. Don't think I didn't order a case of four 100oz. bottles of Seventh Generation laundry detergent. Their prices are good and the fellow who delivered my goods was mighty friendly.

But, people... the packaging. It's absolutely insane. Have a look at the photos I took above of our order. That box in the middle with one small box of tea bags in it? That's exactly how it came. And the eggs so gingerly packed so as not to be crushed by other items? Four of my twelve eggs were cracked, and I wonder if in fact there were more items surrounding the eggs, the would've survived the obvious abuse they sustained in transport. It seriously took me about as long to break down all the boxes and tie them up in a bundle as my building requires as it would have to just walk up to the market myself.

I emailed Customer Service regarding the eggs and was promptly issued a $1 credit for my loss and a generic apology email. Pretty good. Although I'd rather have an intact dozen eggs than a dollar toward my next purchase.

I will order one more time because they roped me into a nice deal whereby I get 25% off my first two orders, but after that, I think I'll just put the babe in her sling and go back to schlepping around town for my groceries. I like deciding which apple to buy. I like engaging the butcher over my cuts of meat and where they come from. To me, it's part of the cooking process.

Previous Fresh Direct activity at Apartment Therapy:
Let the Fresh Direct Debates Begin! (July 25, 2005)
Let the Fresh Direct Debates Begin Again! (January 20, 2006).

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.