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Farm Fresh Central: Box 1 
23rd-Sep-2010 07:59 pm

Now that my 4-week subscription with Food Connect is complete, it is time to see what other fruit & vegetable suppliers have to offer.

Trawling the web, Farm Fresh Central came up as a Brisbane grocery delivery service that sources from local farmers. They also offer a wholesale service to businesses and schools. Besides the fruit and vegetables, their product range includes meat, seafood and diary.

As per the challenge, I ordered the small mixed box, which is $30/delivery. It is advertised to potentially contain: beans, broccoli, capsicum, carrots, celery, cucumber, eschalots, garlic, lettuce, brown onions, potatoes, pumpkin, sweet corn, apples, bananas, mandarins, grapes, oranges, kiwis, rockmelon and pears.

But what did we really get?

In our first Farm Fresh Central small mixed box:
  • Beans x1 bag
  • Broccoli x2 heads
  • Carrots x3
  • Celery x1 bunch
  • Cucumber (lebanese) x1
  • Lettuce x1 whole
  • Onions x4
  • Potatoes x4
  • Pumpkin xquarter
  • Spring onion x1 bunch
  • Salad leaves x1 box
  • Tomatoes x5
  • Apples x6
  • Bananas x4
  • Kiwi x2
  • Orange x2
  • Pears x2

The produce is fresh and was still cool to the touch in their styrofoam delivery box when we opened it. The variety (ie. the species) is the same as those found in major supermarkets and fairly large in size with limited blemishes. We haven't eaten anything from the box tonight, but will keep you posted on the flavours.

The box they came in is massive (and well-sealed)! While I can see how this might beneficial if you order seafood and raw meat, I'm not too sure about this being necessary for fruit and vegetable deliveries. There was no mention if Farm Fresh Central would want the box back to reuse either.

And according to the sticker, the produce is packed in Gatton, 1.5hours from Brisbane city.

However a couple of things have irked me.

While Farm Fresh Central have a farmer page, they do not list their vegetable or fruit farmers, so it's difficult to tell where the produce in our box comes from.

I tried to organise an automatic delivery for 4 weeks via their website. They ask if you'd like any of their extra items (bread, juice, cheese, etc) and if there's anything you have allergies towards/don't like to omit from the box (thumbs up for this option). Then the confirmation page comes up, which does not allow you to amend the number of deliveries you'd like. Instead they state a staffer will be in touch within 24 hours to confirm set up of your order and discuss payment arrangements.

I received the phone call and the lady ran through my order manually. I requested that our delivery be made to our home, with very specific instructions on where to leave it (since apartment living means we share garage spaces). She took it all in stride and confirmed everything, including our credit card details.

And that was it. I wasn't told how much delivery would cost or how much our credit card would be charged. I thought perhaps it would be sent via email or included with the delivery, but it's been 2 days and nothing.

Also unlike Food Connect's online ordering system, once an order is placed, Farm Fresh Central unfortunately does not allow you log into view your order history. So I honestly have no idea how much we've been charged for our order.

23rd-Sep-2010 12:49 pm (UTC)
Could be good though. ounds like you're getting a lot.
24th-Sep-2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
I did choose the smallest mixed box, so I was surprised how large the box came in. Guess the family boxes would be gigantic. XD
23rd-Sep-2010 11:10 pm (UTC)
hey, we got our box the other day and i remember reading somewhere on their website (can't tell you where to save my life) that you can return the box during the next delivery.

agreed, i dont like the non-existant order history...but besides that the fruit we got were fabulous and it was really easy for us to do a once-off delivery.

Hows the fruit/veg tasting?
24th-Sep-2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... I can't find it on the website. Urgh!

I've tried the carrots, an apple and a banana so far. All normal, though the banana is a bit bland. Maybe I need to wait for it to ripen some more to get more sweetness.
25th-Sep-2010 04:35 am (UTC)
just found it. it's in the FAQ section of "how is my order packaged".

26th-Sep-2010 12:36 am (UTC)
Yay! I found it! At least it's good they'll take the styrofoam boxes back. They're really sturdy and I would rather they get multiple uses.
28th-Sep-2010 01:43 am (UTC)
I hadn't heard of this company before - only the Food Connect guys.

I REALLY like that you order when you want instead of being tied to a contract of a box a week. There is NO way I would go through a box a week by myself so Food Connect would end up being wasteful for me, unless I got really good at freezing and canning!
28th-Sep-2010 04:35 am (UTC)
Like we were chatting earlier, you can stagger your Food Connect deliveries to every fortnight if you're having trouble finishing a box in a week or you might be on holiday. You just have to let them know when you put in your order.

I reckon just give it a go. Worse cadse scenario, you'll have to share some of the produce with family members, which can't be a bad thing.
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