Full Circle Organic Farm Box Prices Versus Local Grocery Store Prices Comparison Review

Have you ever thought about subscribing to the organic produce subscription service, Full Circle? Did you ever wonder how the prices compared to your local grocery store?

I’ve put my Full Circle Organic Farm Box prices head to head with the prices on organic produce from my local grocery store, Fred Meyer (Kroger) to find the most cost effective way to get that nutritious, organic produce.

Full Circle Organic Farm Box Prices Versus Local Grocery Store Prices Comparison Review

Several years ago Todd and I wanted to eat more organic produce, especially fruits and vegetables that are a little more special, fun, and hard to get up here in Alaska. A co-worker told me about Full Circle and I thought it sounded perfect; I subscribed to Full Circle (FC) starting in 2014 until 2017. It was my hope that the FC produce would be a bit fresher than the stuff we get at our stores. Alaska is a long travel for oranges and oftentimes they don’t enjoy the arduous trip from Texas.

As health-conscious vegans (most of the time), Todd and my diet is heavily whole food plant-based. We eat a lot of fruits and veggies so I opted for the FC box that feeds 2-4 people; it ended up being the perfect size. I really loved how you’re able to customize your boxes, switching out apples for blueberries or adding Field Roast Chao ‘cheese slices’, etc. However, I eventually began to see a decline in produce and found myself writing to Full Circle every week about super wilted lettuce or slimy cilantro or rotten avocados and it just got the point that it didn’t feel the price was worth the product any longer. Full circle always kindly refunded me and halting subscription is super easy.

Slimy greens.

Slimy greens.

Rotten avocado.

Rotten avocado.

I appreciate that the poor produce could have been due to many factors. It may have been the produce itself or, more likely, it was the storage of box. At the time, Full Circle was shipping their boxes pre-packed from the States to a location in my town where I picked them up. Right before I halted my subscription they stated they were changing how they shipped and stored the boxes. They would be packaging them locally in Anchorage, Alaska then shipping them to the local locations. As of today, however, I see that you can have the boxes delivered straight to your house and strangely it was slightly cheaper to do so rather than picking up your box at a location in your area!

I wanted to try out FC again, hoping the poor produce/storage issues had been fixed. As signed up it occured to me that that now (as opposed to 2014) I can easily compare prices from Full Circle to my local grocery store, Fred Meyer (FM). Both show their prices on their website for produce. I decided to do a little cost comparison of the Full Circle box I had arranged and the same ‘box’ of organic items at Fred Meyer.

Some items I would have loved to add to my FC box but they were considerably more than the FM items. On the right side of the screen are some examples I would have liked to add to my FC box but reconsidered after seeing the lower FM prices. Full Circle is on the left and Fred Meyer on the right. Cremini Mushrooms are almost double the cost!!

listproduce.pngFull Circle Organic Farm Box Prices Versus Local Grocery Store Prices Comparison Review

Most of the items I put in my FC box were only slightly more expensive than the FM counterparts. Below you can see that the Full Circle total is $44.39. It will be delivered to my house and all the items are organic. Fred Meyer wants $30.26 for those same organic items and in the same quantity. However, if I want to have this ‘box’ delivered to my home I would need to order these items online for a $4.95 service fee then incur a $9.95 delivery charge for a total of $45.16. Alternatively, I can just pick up my ‘box’ of produce pre-shopped from the store, all ready to go, for $35.21.

To conclude, Fred Meyer is a about $15 cheaper than Full Circle (who delivers to my house). If I want to pick up my pre-shopped items at FM then it is still about $10 cheaper than FC. If I want to have FM deliver the items to my house it’s about the same price, $45.

Some items were about the same price and that’s what I added to my FC box. If I had added items to the box that were considerably more, like the mushrooms, there would be an even bigger discrepancy. Is it worth the extra money to have it delivered to your home? That’s subjective. For me, no. Even with a full-time job and a two year old, we still make it to the store every week and usually enjoy the trip as a family outing (yes, we lead quiet lives, lol). Sure, there are times I absolutely do not want to roll through a packed store with a screaming toddler but more often than not, it’s a pleasant-ish affair. If I am ever in a time crunch I can just order the items online, have them pre-shopped for me, and pick-up them up at the store.

In addition, I like to support our local agriculture at small farmers’ markets and stands. FM also carries some local produce like carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. We have a Safeway/Carrs too; it carries a decent amount of local produce, however they have a very limited selection of vegan offerings and those they do offer are really expensive. I don’t shop there often except for local produce occasionally. Alaska has no Whole Foods or Trader Joes. We do have a local natural food store but it’s a 50 mile drive and their prices are truly shocking.

Full Circle Organic Farm Box Prices Versus Local Grocery Store Prices Comparison ReviewFull Circle Organic Farm Box Prices Versus Local Grocery Store Prices Comparison Review

I won’t delve into the quality comparisons between FM or FC, or the differences in selection (for example FM doesn’t ever offer sunchokes or Maitake mushrooms). That would be difficult to do and suspect to change I imagine, as well as dependent upon personal preferences. I did really enjoy the vast array of interesting fruits and strange veggies Full Circle offered but living on one income and being able to get the same organic staples locally for less… in the end pragmatism won over novelty. For now at least.

However, that doesn’t mean Full Circle isn’t right for you! I really do love what they are doing and their customer service is fantastic. I hope this information doesn’t steer you away from them if you are at peace with paying a little bit more for your organic produce. I hope this helped you, and of course prices for both entities change over the season and depending upon your location.

Anyway you can get your family to eat more produce is wonderful in my book! It’s better for the planet, the animals, and our bodies. <3

CSA Fennel, Zucchini, & Tomato Pasta

CSAs are wonderful, but if you’re not exactly sure what to do with fennel, armed with an abundance of zucchini and tomatoes, they can be overwhelming. This delicious pasta dish makes use of three CSA items (we had fresh mint in ours so that makes four!) in spectacular fashion. Sweet, roasted fennel and zucchini blend with umami miso and nutritional yeast and tart cherry tomatoes for a lovely summer pasta dish.

CSA Fennel, Zucchini, & Tomato Pasta - Produce On Parade - CSAs are wonderful, but if you’re not exactly sure what to do with fennel, armed with an abundance of zucchini and tomatoes, they can be overwhelming. This delicious pasta dish makes use of three CSA items (we had fresh mint in ours so that makes four!) in spectacular fashion. Sweet, roasted fennel and zucchini blend with umami miso and nutritional yeast and tart cherry tomatoes for a lovely summer pasta dish.

I'm cooking a lot these days but just don't have a much time for recipe development and photography. Most evenings I just throw together a meal and only after it's done and tasting how scrumptious it is wish I would have measured everything; then I could have shared it! Who wants to recipe develop when you can spend that time snuggling with an adorable seven month old?? I'm trying though. I actually have a few recipes on the way, photographs and everything! Hurray me!

Todd and I have been trying to get our lawn in order and generally spending as much time outside with Oliver as possible. Fall in Alaska is so fleeting and it's always a scramble to make the most of such an inspiring season. The air is crisp and refreshing, fluttering leaves dance in the breeze, as golden light filters through the birch trees; it's one of the most magical times up here but it never lasts.

Our CSA is in full swing and we are enjoying its bounty. With just the two of us consuming a large share, it can test my ingenuity on using up all those beauitful veggies! This recipe used up four of the CSA items, so it will definitely be placed on the rotation. I hope you love this meal as much as we both did. 

CSA Fennel, Zucchini, & Tomato Pasta - Produce On Parade - CSAs are wonderful, but if you’re not exactly sure what to do with fennel, armed with an abundance of zucchini and tomatoes, they can be overwhelming. This delicious pasta dish makes use of three CSA items (we had fresh mint in ours so that makes four!) in spectacular fashion. Sweet, roasted fennel and zucchini blend with umami miso and nutritional yeast and tart cherry tomatoes for a lovely summer pasta dish.

CSA Fennel, Zucchini, & Tomato Pasta

Recipe by Kathleen @ Produce On Parade

CSAs are wonderful, but if you’re not exactly sure what to do with fennel, armed with an abundance of zucchini and tomatoes, they can be overwhelming. This delicious pasta dish makes use of three CSA items (we had fresh mint in ours so that makes four!) in spectacular fashion. Sweet, roasted fennel and zucchini blend with umami miso and nutritional yeast and tart cherry tomatoes for a lovely summer pasta dish.

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed sliced into ½ inch thick short wedges
  • 1 extra-large zucchini, quartered and chopped
  • dash of seasoning salt
  • 8 oz dry penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained but ½ cup of the liquid reserved
  • 1 ½ tbsp red miso
  • 1 ½ tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 heaping cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and arrange the fennel and zucchini in a single layer on two large baking trays coated with a nonstick cooking spray. Drizzle with olive oil if you like and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until slightly browned and tender.
  2. While the veggies roast, bring a medium pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook al dente according to the package. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and saute the garlic for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Whisk in the chickpea liquid, miso, and nutritional yeast until the miso is clump-free. Stir in the roasted veggies, cooked pasta, chickpeas, and tomatoes; cook until the entire mixture is warm. Remove from heat and stir in the mint leaves; taste and salt as needed. Serve warm.
CSA Fennel, Zucchini, & Tomato Pasta - Produce On Parade - CSAs are wonderful, but if you’re not exactly sure what to do with fennel, armed with an abundance of zucchini and tomatoes, they can be overwhelming. This delicious pasta dish makes use of three CSA items (we had fresh mint in ours so that makes four!) in spectacular fashion. Sweet, roasted fennel and zucchini blend with umami miso and nutritional yeast and tart cherry tomatoes for a lovely summer pasta dish.

Arugula Pesto Pasta

If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

Arugula Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

I am so thrilled to be a part of a local, organic CSA that's only eight miles from my house! We used to get those Full Circle boxes. It's an organic CSA that's packaged up here in Alaska but includes produce from about five northwestern states; you can also get some far-reaching produce like avocados from Mexico. However, their quality seemed to be going downhill and I really wanted the produce to be actually local. Where I live, in the Matanuska Valley in Alaska, thrives a rich agricultural community and I knew I could find a great CSA out here. That's when I found Sun Circle Farms (not an ad or sponsor, just excited)! I even have a friend who works there, and it feels great supporting a small, hometown farm. 

Included in the first box were Japanese turnips, a ton of spring salad mix, rhubarb, bok choy, chives, and a ton of arugula. Using the spring salad mix for salads (Todd and I both eating one a day for a week, go greens!), I had to think of something else to do with the arugula other than using it in a salad. That's when I thought of this pesto! You can seriously use pretty much any veggie that is green for pesto. I even have a recipe on the blog broccoli pesto. Yup. 

Unfortunately, Todd hates pesto. I know right!? Seriously, who is this man!? I have never in my life heard anyone who claims to be anything other than beyond ecstatic about the stuff, myself included. Oh well, more pesto for me! #pestoisthebesto

Also, If you participate in a CSA, you're probably getting pretty similar produce as I am. Check out my social media to see what I've been making with mine for some great ideas! Sometimes it's hard to use up all that fresh produce before the next provisions roll around!

Arugula Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

Arugula Pesto Pasta

Kathleen Henry @ Produce On Parade

Published 06/21/2017

If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry penne pasta
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • Heaping ¼ cup walnuts
  • 8 oz fresh arugula (about 4 packed cups)
  • Small handful of fresh basil (about ¼ packed cup) (optional)
  • 3 tbsp miso paste
  • ⅓ cup vegan mozzarella
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta, cook according to package until al dente; drain and set aside.
  2. Process the garlic in a food processor for about ten seconds; add the walnuts and process until finely chopped. Add the arugula and in batches, as much as the bowl can hold, and process until smooth. Process in the miso paste, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, and pepper. With the processor running drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. Taste and add additional pepper and salt as needed.
  3. Stir the pesto into the cooked pasta. There will be about ½ cup of pesto leftover. It’s great to add to the leftovers when reheated or save to coat boiled potatoes, use in stuffed mushrooms, or for vegan pesto scrambled tofu. Yum!

Yield: 6-8 servings

Arugula Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

I just couldn't resist throwing up a photo of Oliver eating his first solid foods meal. Well, if rice cereal is considered 'solid' ;) He is in full-swing teething mode; two toppers and two bottom-dwellers should be popping out soon!

Where does the time go!? I feel like just yesterday we were leaving the hospital like, "Um, so are you sure we just take him? Are you coming with us? I don't think we're responsible enough for a human life! Are you sure we just walk out of here with this new human???" Somehow though, it also feels like he's always been a part of our lives. It's so strange. 

produce on parade