Choose a CSA: New Roots Organics

by Patricia Eddy on April 14, 2009

It’s time to start thinking about those CSAs. We are so lucky here in Puget Sound to have more than ten CSAs to choose from during the height of the market season. So how do you choose? Well, we’re here to help. Over the next few weeks, we’ll interview as many local CSAs as we possibly can (or at least as many as we can get in touch with) and ask each of them a series of questions. Our second CSA of the week is New Roots Organics Delivery Service

New Roots Organics

When I lived in Ballard, I’d drive by New Roots Organics almost every day. I could see them packing fruits and vegetables through their windows. New Roots isn’t strictly a CSA. They are an organic delivery service. What does that mean? Well, it means that they aren’t actually the farmer or grower. They are a business that brings produce from a variety of farmers and growers and delivers it to your home. 

We contacted Carolyn Boyle, proprieter of New Roots Organics, and she was kind enough to answer our list of typical CSA questions. Here are the answers she gave. 

1. What is your ordering mechanism?  New Roots offers either weekly or every other week deliveries. We have a signup sheet on our website. 

2. Can you customize your box? Absolutely. Customers can customize their box through email or voice mail, or they can choose to receive the standard box that I personally select each week. 

3. Do you offer multiple box sizes? Yes, we have two box sizes. 

4. Do you offer multiple pickup/drop off points? We offer home delivery. Our delivery areas are customized by zones. So Mondays are Queen Anne, Magnolia, Downtown, Madison Park, Capitol Hill, First Hill, the Central District, and Montlake. For our full delivery schedule, see the website

5. What if a customer is on vacation for a week? We require a 48-hour notice to cancel or skip a delivery. If the customer requests, we can donate the skipped box to a local food bank. If we have food leftover at the end of the week, we either donate it to a local food bank or or local community kitchens that feed the homelss. 

6. What happens if an item in a box is bad? What is your replacement policy? We stand by our produce 100%. If an item is bad, we’ll replace it the same day if we can, or we’ll make it up in the next box or give the customer a credit. 

7. Where does your produce come from? We are very up front about where our produce comes from. We buy a large percentage of local (Western WA) produce from one farm on Fir Island, (just west of Mt Vernon) called Frog Song Farm.  In addition, we have several other sources around Washington and also buy from two wholesalers (one in Seattle and one in Oregon). These wholesalers have their own network of farms that they buy from. Throughout the year, we make it a priority to include locally grown produce 1st, and then when needed, like every winter, we include citrus from California, fresh greens and lettuces.. Everything that is local is easily identifiable from their recipe sheet that subscribers get each week. This week our box contains the following (starred items are local). 

  • Fuji Apples * 
  • D’Anjou Pears *
  • Blood Oranges and Minneolas
  • Strawberries
  • Nante Carrots
  • Asparagus
  • Red Cabbage
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Red Mustard Greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Onions

8. Are you year-round? Yes. This is why we need to source from other states. The furthest we will source is Mexico, and that is only for a couple of items. We always buy from the Pacific Northwest first, even if it is more expensive. 

9. How much packaging is used for your fruits and vegetables? Can it be reused? If I get a plastic bag of green beans can I send that bag back next week and have it reused? We deliver our produce in rubbermaid containers that we reuse week after week and we use very little packaging. If a customer requests a box or cannot remember to return the rubbermaid container each week, we use the boxes that the produce was delivered in, so apple or pear or potato boxes. As long as the boxes are in good shape, we can reuse them. 

10. What is the cost of your boxes? The standard bin is $35 (perfect for 2-4 people) and the personal bin is $25. We also offer coffee at $8 for a 12 oz bag of whole bean French Roast.

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{ 3 comments }

gwen c. April 16, 2009 at 3:43 pm

one of the problems i have with the pick-a-CSA game is that no CSA seems to be willing to deliver to lake city. i live here, not because i’m a Republican on meth, or because i’m a gangster (the two most common stereotypes of people who do live here) but because it’s what a poor person can afford.

CSAs are wonderful tools for accessibility of fresh produce. unfortunately, if they’re not willing to include where i live, and won’t offer a pick-up point that’s convenient (face it, going from lake city to ballard ain’t), we’re effectively cut off. when you bring this kind of point up, you tend to get rapidly shouted down as an ignorant idiot. ah well. someday? i promise i won’t miss paying the highway robbery that our local stores want for produce.

Patricia Eddy April 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Growing Washington will delivery to the Lake City Farmers Market on Thursdays. Will that work for you?

http://www.growingwashington.org/foodbox/csainfo_pickup.php

They are also very willing for a neighborhood to host a pickup location. I would suggest contacting them and seeing if they have had other interest in a Lake City delivery spot.

Inna April 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm

“6. What happens if an item in a box is bad? What is your replacement policy? We stand by our produce 100%. If an item is bad, we’ll replace it the same day if we can, or we’ll make it up in the next box or give the customer a credit. ”

I’ve been a New Roots customer since last Autumn, I believe, and it’s been wonderful. I don’t remember seeing this replacement policy on their website, though, so that’s good to know.

I haven’t really had to worry about it, though, because bad produce hasn’t really been an issue. The “worst” I’ve had is one time some blood oranges were dry and we ended up tossing them (into our food waste bin)… and the the next time we got them they were AMAZING and we ended up eating them all in one evening.

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