Several years ago, my husband and I spent two weeks driving the length of Italy, stopping everywhere from Florence and Rome to the Amalfi Coast and numerous small towns along the way. The abundance of open air markets selling fresh produce attracted busy families, college students, and elderly couples alike, each shopper picking items in the very best condition, and discussing how they would incorporate their zucchini, tomatoes, or fennel into that evening’s dinner.
They weren’t buying frozen and canned veggies in bulk, storing up for months at a time. Instead, they were focused on fresh produce and planning their meals around these quality ingredients. As someone who finds joy in preparing meals at home, I had hoped that this practice would have rubbed off on me, but back home, in my daily life, heading to the store on a regular basis to stock up on the freshest items became time consuming, and I lapsed into my old habit of stocking up on frozen foods.
But in recent years, a trend has grown popular among home cooks dedicated to fresh ingredients, organic produce, and thoughtful meal planning. Delivery services which offer fresh vegetables and fruits are on the rise, and some of these services even help with meal planning and cater to cooks with specific dietary or lifestyle preferences. Choose one and watch your kitchen transform into a cornucopia of fresh, healthy choices.
Fresh Food Delivery and Meal Planning Services:
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For busy parents and professionals like myself, Home Chef is particularly enticing! This service takes the guesswork out of meal planning by allowing customers to choose dinners for the week from 26 recipes. There’s something incredibly satisfying about the idea of picking the meals I know my family will love, and receiving a box at my front door loaded with the ingredients I’ll need, instructions on how to prepare each meal, and ice packs that keep it all refrigerated until I’m ready to put it all away. Home Chef also offers kid-friendly meals, which other services do not, and in online reviews and comparisons, comes out on top in terms of ease of preparation. This service satisfies my need for fresh ingredients while allowing me to submit my order and literally spend zero time thinking about planning dinner for the rest of the week.
Home Chef’s meals start at $7.99 per serving.
I can’t tell you how many friends have told me recently that they are going Paleo, trying a gluten-free diet for a little while, or are opting for a vegan lifestyle. eMeals recognizes that many home cooks are making deliberate dietary choices, and it allows its customers to choose from an extraordinarily wide variety of categories, including budget-friendly meals, paleo recipes, vegan options, gluten-free choices, and kid-friendly dinners. For me, what really distinguishes eMeals from the rest of the pack is its breakfast and lunch options. You’re telling me that all I need to do is tailor my weekly menu online, and wait for my fresh ingredients and cooking instructions to arrive, and I’m done thinking about breakfast, lunch, and dinner planning for the week? Sign me up.
Try it free for 14 days! eMeals starts at $5.99 for a 12-month subscription.
Grocery Delivery Services Which Feature Organic Options:
Amazon Prime has revolutionized the way I shop for household items, kid gear, pet care, and grooming essentials. Raise your hand if you’ve swapped hours-long Target sprees for an Amazon box delivered to your front door several times per week! Like the traditional Amazon Prime service, AmazonFresh will ensure that you never step foot in another retail store ever again. Plus, Amazon’s partnership with Whole Foods allows you to choose from fresh vegetables from around the world at any time of year, and unlike other services, you can shop any day you like, and get your groceries delivered same day. AmazonFresh offers discounts unavailable to in-store shoppers at Whole Foods, and a comparison shows that buying at Whole Foods using AmazonFresh is less expensive than shopping at Kroger through Instacart. If you already have Amazon Prime, AmazonFresh provides unlimited grocery delivery for orders of $50 or more.
Although only operating in California at this time, Farm Fresh to You partners with farms in your local area, promising 100% organic produce. I perused their website and found that with one click, I could choose a box containing only veggies, only fruit, or a mix of both. And I’m crazy about the feature which allows customers to opt out of certain veggies and state preferences for others. As a mother to a preschool age kid who changes his food preferences on a weekly basis, this option is essential! Plus, Farm Fresh to You offers choices from local farms including artisanal honey, preserves, and small batch olive oils; you can add these on for an additional price. Not a cook? Opt for a no-cook box or a snack box for produce without the prep.
Alternatively, If you’re outside of California, you can find your own local farms and community supported agriculture programs at LocalHarvest.org
WBUR Guide Picks
Home Chef: Best for busy shoppers who need assistance with meal planning and recipes.
eMeals: Best for cooks with a specific dietary need or lifestyle choice, and those who want 100% of their meals planned.
Amazon Prime Fresh: Best for shoppers who want the grocery store experience without the grocery store.
Farm Fresh to You: Best for Californian home cooks who are committed to organic foods.
Rebecca is an outside contributor providing content for WBUR Guides. Based on her experiences as a professional writer and editor, frequent traveler, and busy mom, her product guides share her unique perspective with her fellow WBUR listeners and readers.
Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Barnard College of Columbia University. When she’s not writing, Rebecca enjoys cooking without stopping to measure precisely, swimming a poorly executed freestyle, and spending time with her husband and son near their home in Somerville, MA.