Fresh Direct Adventures


After putting it off for far too long, I ordered a nice stock of groceries from Fresh Direct on Friday, and they came today. Some interesting things in the order:


I ordered some turnips, and they ended up being quite anemic. I'm used getting turnips from Fresh Direct the size of baseballs or larger; three turnips usually provides enough turnippy goodness for 2 or 3 meals. This time, I got turnips just barely larger than golf balls. That'll be enough for one turnip dish, if that. I mean, I obviously was charged less for them, since I'm paying by weight, but it's still a bit frustrating.


This is somewhat compensated for by getting way more daikon radish than I anticipated. I ordered one on a lark, because I like to experiment with new vegetables. I knew vaguely what a daikon raddish looked like, but I don't think I had a proper conception of the size. It's a cubit long! This thing barely fits in my refrigerator; I have to lay it on the bottom shelf at an angle in order to be able to close the door. Hopefully I'll find something tasty to do with it.


These are not tomatoes. It's pretty rare that I buy fresh tomatoes from the store; I tend to find them acidic and flavorless and generally not worth the effort. Heirloom tomatoes in the height of summer, though, are well worth it. Other than that, I stick to canned.

But these are not tomatoes. No, these are habanero peppers. A pound of habanero peppers. They will go nicely with the serrano, jalapeno, and poblano peppers that also came in my order. I'm inclined to predict there will be a significant increase in the capsaicin of my dishes in the immediate future.


Fresh Direct examines your orders and periodically throws in samples of products it thinks you might like. The idea is that if you like the sample, you might buy more of the product in the future. I can't help but wonder, based on the product they've thrown at me here, if Fresh Direct thinks I'm gay. The bright pink can, the ad copy ("Fuel to be Fabulous!") etc. Not that there's anything wrong with being gay, and not that they're neccessarily off base, but I can't help wondering what I've been buying that made them draw the conclusion. Perhaps it's the 18 inch long phallic radishes.

As for the Tab Energy? Eh. It's alright. I'm not really a Red Bull drinker, and it has that same quality to it. It has something of a strawberry flavor, which I don't associate with Tab. I'm also a bit surprised that the Coca-Cola corporation, the owner of the Tab brand name, would resurrect it for an energy drink. I don't mind Tab, per se, but I know a lot of people who do. In any case, it's a brand that's been on life support for about 20 years now. What gives?

UPDATE: Hey! Where's my eggplant!

I ordered an eggplant. I paid for an eggplant. I received no indication that there would be no eggplant. It's on my packing receipt. Fresh Direct claims to have given me an eggplant. But lo! There is no eggplant at all! That's a buck-fifteen they charged me for an imaginary eggplant, which, I feel, is a lot to pay for an imaginary vegetable.

Some may say that this isn't that big a deal, and I'm making too much of this. To them I say, without fear of exaggeration, that this is the greatest crime in American history. For when we are forced to pay for eggplants that don't exist, we sacrifice our freedom of choice, to choose to pay for real vegetables, and not imaginary ones. The slide into grocer tyranny is both readily apparent and inevitable.

Seriously, though, is this worth calling to complain about? I guess so; I paid for it and they didn't give it to me. But it's just about a buck, and I'll feel kinda silly having a driver come all the way to my house to give me an eggplant. I didn't really have big plans for the eggplant in any case.


You should call them up and see if they can't throw an eggplant in, free of charge, next time you order stuff from them.

I e-mailed them about it, and they pulled the $1.15 off my charge. I feel a bit silly, but I'd have felt sillier having them send out a dude to give me an eggplant.

but would you keep using them? I've had so many headaches with sf grocery stores i'm about the give into delivery goodness

I like Fresh Direct a lot. I've been extremely happy with the vegetables I get from them, and they have a a fantastic selection (for the most part; they could use more bulk grains and yeast). The are where I was skeptical was fruits and vegetables. From the start, though, the vegetables have all been fresh and delicious. The fruits... eh. I've had pretty mediocre fruit from them until recently. This last order, though, they actually gave me some amazing oranges, the best oranges I've had in years. It may be a fluke, or they may have gotten a better fruit buyer.

It's also quite convenient; you buy your stuff on-line from home, you can easily review your order at the end and take stuff out if you think better of it, you can see the exact price of things and fiddle with your list like that, rather than having to sort of guess like you do at the grocery store. Then you check out and select a delivery time. Often you can get it delivered the next day, and if not then the day after. You pick a two hour window, any time between 6 AM and 11 PM. The delivery guy rings the bell and brings the food right up to your apartment, and will even put it in the kitchen for you if you ask.

As for cost... It's a bit more expensive than average for the country, but actually cheap for New York. I use them in large part because going to the grocery stores around the corner (Morton Williams and D'Agostinos) is more expensive and less convenient. They tack on a $5 delivery fee, and it's courteous to tip the driver a couple of bucks, but you end up saving money over all. There's a $50 minimum, but that's not too difficult to meet if you wait a while between buying groceries.

I do a lot of home cooking, and generally keep a well-stocked kitchen. My entire time in New York, Fresh Direct has been the only store I've used for major grocery shopping. Sometimes if I just need some sugar or paper towels I'll run to a supermarket, but I use Fresh Direct pretty much exclusively.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on January 29, 2006 4:25 PM.

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