Monday, January 24, 2011

A Step Forward in Healthy Eating, and even saving $$

I have finally arranged to buy from 2 different food businesses I've been studying for a long time.

I was a customer of one, Azure Standard, for awhile in the 90s, but the neighborhood cooperative drop-point I was using disbanded, so I needed to start again and never managed it.                                                                                                         
Azure Standard offers "quality bulk and natural foods," particularly grains that I'm interested in milling for our breads and cereals, but also many other things, including frozen foods and fresh produce. They have many locally grown (Pacific NW, mostly Oregon, where they're located), and organic options, and deliver to several states.                                                                                 
Customers order on their website, and the food is dropped at a shared community site.  It was finding a group open to a new person to share their drop point that was a challenge for awhile.  Last week, I was able to connect with 2 possibilities.  One was located about 35 minutes away, but didn't order often...I was told I could put my order in the cart and if the group met the $550 minimum for free delivery ($50/per person minimum), it would come in the middle of next month, but if not, the next.  I need to count on ordering more often than that.                                                                                                                                                                               
Next I found another open group, also at least a 30 minute drive in a different direction, but they ordered every 2 weeks without fail.  That was great, but the woman I spoke to suggested I could find one closer to home.  The problem with any distance is that I must be able to be present when the truck arrives.  Any afternoon delivery times are somewhat subject to the driver's day, and a phone call, sometimes without much notice, notifies patrons when to be on location to pick up.                                                                                           
By calling Azure Standard directly, I was able to get the name and number of the contact person for an open group in my town.  They were able to check order history to assure me that this group placed full orders once or twice a month.  Perfect.  The contact person was wonderful to talk to, and I can place my first order next Friday with subsequent deadlines every 2 weeks.  The deliveries will arrive Wednesday mornings alternating with Tuesday afternoons...10 minutes from my house.                                                                                                                              
My cart is ready and waiting, full of grains, dried beans, and baking supplies.  I have been driving over an hour to get my wheat and oats for a higher price...And I always forget to order enough in advance so I don't run out.  I've also never been able to find a good supply of soft wheat or corn, and Azure Standard can provide all these needs and more.  

Azure Standard's many offerings, by Category
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