A Review of Abundant Harvest Organics

Last year, I tried out a local CSA, or community supported agriculture, membership. We did it for about a month. At the end we concluded that it wasn’t the right fit for us. We found that there were a lot of vegetables we didn’t normally use and that the price was a little steep for the quantity of produce that we received.

And for the last year, I’ve really struggled to find a good source of fresh produce that would allow me bulk organic purchases at a price I felt good with. I visited several different farmers markets this summer and left wondering who took the farmer out of farmer’s market.

When a reader tipped me off to Abundant Harvest Organics a few weeks ago, I was intrigued because Bethany said there truly was a lot food in the box. The price was about the same as what we paid for the CSA last year, so it was worth a try. If it really was going to be abundant, it could be a good cheap eat!

Above is the large box that we picked up last week. Unpacked, it looked like this:

Extras that I ordered separately would include the bunch of basil and twelve of those ears of corn. The regular large box included: seasonal fruit (grapes and peaches), potatoes, chives, peppers, squash, corn, lettuce, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil. After extra add-ons, I paid about $48 for this amount of organic produce (all pictured), shipped directly from the growers which are all located in Southern California.

Since Abundant Harvest Organics serves a range of areas within Southern California, I thought there might be a chunk of readers for whom a review might be helpful.

Here are some of my observations so far:

  • Staff is friendly.
  • Pickup is easy, quick, and convenient.
  • Produce is all stuff that I would buy at the store anyway.
  • Grapes were crunchy — and disappeared within an hour. We ordered an extra 10 pounds for next week!
  • Melons were missing, but they said they would replace them next week.
  • Cucumbers, which weren’t supposed to be in the box, were very bitter.
  • Almost all the corn was beautiful! One ear was sad, but that was it.
  • Much of the produce, like the peppers, beans and corn, could be processed and frozen for later use so that I didn’t worry about using it up quickly. I transformed the basil into a French pistou and froze that as well.
  • It’s fun to have someone else do the shopping!
  • Some of the tomatoes and peaches were outstanding, some were okay.
  • The bell peppers, though green and not our favorite, were super crisp and disappeared right away.

Price-wise, I would say that this produce and the amount of it was competitive with non-sale conventional as well as sale priced organics. Certainly, I could get more for less if I only bought conventional on sale. But, it wouldn’t be as fresh as this or organic.

So far, so good.

Have you tried a produce subscription before?

What’s been your experience?

Disclosure: I have no relationship with Abundant Harvest Organics, other than paying them for produce every week. All opinions are my own.

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Comments

  1. We do a local CSA and I can’t say enough good things. You might try your local one again, and stick it out a little longer. I know toward the beginning our boxes were a little sparse, but we’re more than making up for it now. It takes a while for everything to start coming in, I guess, but once it does – wowee! And sometimes they’ll basically give away things they don’t want to take back home with them. For example, I got a 25 lb. box of Roma tomatoes for $10 because it was close to the end of the market day. There are DEFINITE advantages to going local. :D

    Sorry about the novel. :S

    • @Sheena, That really hasn’t been our experience in San Diego. The farmer’s markets actually have very few farm stands. The people who work them are not super personable and the prices are quite high.

      However, with this, I’m able to buy add-ons for prices like you’re talking about with your romas. So, I’m able to get those extra things, too.

  2. I’ll have to check that one out. I recently signed up for a CSA with home delivery that had a living social deal. We don’t always have time to eat it all, even with every other week delivery, but I’d like to get more fruits and vegetables in my diet and having them already in the house helps with that. It looks like there’s an abundant harvest drop off spot near my office.

  3. The way that a CSA differs is that you are supporting one local farm. That is one family farm that may not be able to continue farming without it’s CSA members. Yes, there may be parts of the season where the veggies are a little sparse, but like the other commenter said, they will more than make up for it. Yesterday my husband brought home 5 large watermelons and a bushel of muskmelons and orange honeydew melons. A TON….but we have lots of parties this weekend, so….

    A produce subscription is a good way to get local produce but it is very different from the ideas behind a CSA. I wish you would reconsider! This is our 6th year with outs and I can’t imagine any other way.

  4. I think it’s fabulous that you’ve found a way to attain fresh, organic produce for your family! The CSAs in my neck of the woods all have mile-long waiting lists, so this is definitely something I would look into were it available to me. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • MaryLynn P says:

      @JessieLeigh, Jessie, you might want to look into http://www.bountifulbaskets.org. They are a co-op type organization that sounds a lot like what Jessica is using. I haven’t tried BB yet but I’ve heard good things about the group. They’re all over the US. Check them out and see if there’s a pick-up spot near you.

  5. For families in the Corona/Norco/Eastvale areas, there is an organic coop: Cathys Organic Produce Coop. I havent tried it yet, but I am seriously considering. Price is very reasonable.

  6. Those cucumbers are better without
    The peel. Normally I don’t peel mine but yeah they were yuck. My mom was here and ended up peeling them and they were so much better.

    Abundant harvest is a group of organic California farmers and living in Los Angeles I’m not gonna have a farm next door so I feel good knowing that this is going to farmers in my state doing things the right way.

    Hey Jessica you can email about the bad corn and get more. I know they had something in the newsletter awhile back that since it is truly organic the critters get to it sometimes and they don’t know which ones they got to until you actually open. Ps this fall when the popping corn comes out stock uP it is incredible and I’m still using from last year and it’s great. We pop on stove with coconut oil and add Sea salt.

    • Thanks for the tip on the cucumbers. Duh! Didn’t even think to peel them because they were organic. Ha! I’ll do that for the four that came this week.

      And I agree, I’m happy to support organic California farmers any which way. San Diego farmers markets have not impressed me at all. This is much better than the grocery store and keeps the cash in our home state.

      As for the corn, it really was only one, so I wasn’t terribly upset about it. The others were so beautiful.

  7. Are you sure your cucumbers weren’t bitter melons? They look a lot like cucumbers and are very bitter! My husbands mother likes them, but they are an acquired taste for sure! I think they are usually cooked…. That would explain why your melons were missing and why you had cucumbers :)

  8. Wow – this is perfect! I’m going to check out the San Diego Home Delivery option! THANK YOU!!

  9. kristen marie says:

    how would i find out about a place like this around by me…I live in Illinois THANKS!

  10. I’m a homeschooling mom here in southern california too. You and I get the same AHO box every week. I’d love to see how you incorporate the veggies into a menu that you make monthly especially when we get the never ending supply of oranges. My hubby recently got into juicing and now juices all the greens which is good since some of them I don’t really care for.

    • I don’t feel like it’s a never ending supply of oranges. I wish it were! Greens on the other hand…. :) I am trying to plan one soup night per week to use up stuff as well as 1-2 meat and potato meals that I can serve steamed or sauteed veggies/greens with.

  11. I just found your site while looking for some meal ideas and wanted to chime in with praise for Abundant Harvest Organics. This past November began our 4th year with AHO and we love them. We’re just two, so we get the small box with an occasional switch to the large, plus some add-ons.

    These are family farms, some that have been in the family for generations, so you can feel good about supporting them. I love knowing who grows my food!

    P.S. Hope you got some popcorn before it was all gone.

  12. Hi Jessica! I’m so glad to read your review about Abundant Harvest! Thanks! I did want to comment on the CSA subscription though… as another commenter pointed out, it is very different than AH set-up. I live in Bonita and we have a *super fantastic* farm down this way called Suzie’s Farm (http://suziesfarm.com/). The prices are crazy at the Farmer’s Markets, but their CSA box is incredibly reasonable. They also offer a fruit box option that you can purchase. We do an annual tour of the farm and the kids LOVE picking their own veggies and eating them right there. Can’t get any fresher than that! Plus, we occasionally get a caterpillar – bonus! Science expir! :-)

  13. I grew up in central California (produce abounds!) and moved to Dallas, Texas in 2003. I have been depressed by the high prices and lack of flavor here in Dallas (everything coated in wax and bland in taste and color). About a year ago, my husband and I went to a farm in Greenville that was trying to sell directly to consumers – and while their produce was the MOST beautiful stuff, they wanted us to buy 25-50 pounds of each item. It was too daunting.
    Our farmer’s market is also full of chain companies, and not local farmers.

    We also found a store front that sells local organic items – but all of the produce was anemic looking and VERY expensive. ($10 for a gallon of milk, $25 for a pound of beef), so I gave up for almost a year and just shopped where I could find deals.

    Then an Austin company (Austin is the Santa Cruz of Texas) set up shop here in dallas a couple weeks ago: Greenling.com and we are ECSTATIC!!! We received our first box of food last week. Everything was beautful and delicious.

    Kristen Marie: I found them by using google – organic and local produce, Dallas. You might do the same and type your city in the search. It’s worth the searching to find someone else has done the legwork.

    BTW, I’m a newbie to this site… and I’m VERY excited to have found you.

  14. We moved to Oceanside 5 years ago and although the abundant farmers markets available someplace in the county every day of the week is wonderful to browse, I agree that the prices are steep. I however have found Frazier Farms next to HWY 78 in Vista near Lowes and Famous Daves have fantastic prices and the best produce I’ve ever seen. My in-laws go nuts when they come into town with the RV and stock up. Although I live near the back gate of Pendleton, I will make the trek because it’s so worth it. We eat so much more fresh fruits and veggies than before. If you want a tour, I’d be willing to take you. :)

    • Jessica says:

      Sounds great! I’ve been there once many moons ago. It’s a fair drive from where we live. Do they have organic produce for good prices?

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