We’ve all been there: staring at the inside of our refrigerators, finding only enough ingredients to make a very disgusting sandwich. Lacking the motivation to go to the grocery store, we usually resort to take out. We’ll go shopping the next day, we assure ourselves, as we stuff our faces with diet-breaking, preservative-filled, often greasy food.
Going to the grocery store takes so much time and patience that some of us would rather eat moldy cheese than force a buggy down the aisles. Many times, going to the grocery store can sneakily tempt you into breaking your budget. Just a little extra of this or that, or an impulse buy, never seems to make that much of a difference, yet you find yourself staring at the final amount on the register in disbelief.
One solution has made its way to Lexington. In February of this year, Green BEAN Delivery expanded into Lexington. Green BEAN (biodynamic, education, agriculture, nutrition) is a full-functioning grocery store with only natural items in stock — only those things without preservatives or growth hormones. What is even better than not having to spend time reading the labels or guessing at how to pronounce the long name of the obviously chemical-related ingredients, is that this grocery store comes to you.
Green BEAN Delivery was founded in 2007 by Matt Ewer and Elizabeth Blessing. Ewer had formerly been involved with community-supported agriculture (CSA) in Seattle, and he wanted to make it more modern. A family-owned and -operated company, Green BEAN expanded into Cincinnati in 2009, as well as many other cities, before it landed in the Bluegrass.
There is a catch, however. You must include produce. As John Freeland, vice president of Green BEAN Delivery, explained, the entire point is to “help support sustainable agriculture.”
Each week, the online store opens on Thursday at 3 p.m., Freeland said. It stays open until Monday at 12 p.m. During this time, customers can pick out a produce package and build from there, adding whatever other groceries they may need, including locally produced meat, eggs, milk and more. The store does carry national brands as well.
This system, Freeland said, “create[s] peace of mind for customers; they don’t have to read labels or wonder what is in the food. You can shop knowing you’re going to come out with products that are all-natural. Everything is transparent, including where it comes from and how it was grown.”
While their customers are shopping, the Green BEAN team is busy working with local producers, getting the best for their customers. The relationship between Green BEAN and local food producers is vital to the entire process. Building this “network of farmers and artisans,” as Freeland calls it, allows them to offer “competitive pricing with the support of membership, to buy in larger volume and pass the value off to the customer.”
The price of delivery is free and not built back into the cost to the customer. They do have a minimum purchase amount of $35. However, the customer is never charged any additional start-up or cancellation fees.
The delivery system is flexible and works with what the customer needs. Clients may choose any type of delivery, whether it be multi-weekly or bi-weekly. The calendar is customizable to fit the customer’s agenda, and a client may opt not to have a delivery at all on specific weeks.
Freeland said that it is “easy to come in and manipulate the schedule and not feel like you’re on the hook to waste food.”
Green BEAN’s goal is to keep all products reasonably priced, as it is “not a luxury service, it is a viable option for all walks of life offering convenience, affordability and accessibility,” Freeland said.
Right now, the delivery system has around 100 customers in Lexington and is “actively seeking out new partnerships with food vendors and farmers in this region.”
If you are interested in becoming a part of Green BEAN’s new approach to grocery shopping, whether it be as a consumer or as a local producer looking for a fresh way to market your items, their website, greenbeandelivery.com, is a great source for information.
The motivation, beyond helping local food producers reach their customers, is largely altruistic, although remaining “commercially viable” is important. They simply wish to offer “creative solutions to a broken food system,” Freeland said.
“It is becoming important to know where our food comes from,” Freeland said. “We steer customers in the right direction to make the right choices when it comes to meal planning. There are more opportunities to make the right decisions, by having consistent delivery.”