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Boston Organics Brings Fresh Produce Door to Door

The Charlestown business delivers boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables to homes and offices.

With Johnnie's Foodmaster closed, many Charlestown residents are looking for alternative grocery options in nearby communities. 

But you don't have to go to Somerville or Chelsea to find food for your table. Charlestown-based Boston Organics offers home delivery of fresh, organic produce, right here in town.

Below is a quick look at their services and mission.

How does the Boston Organics system work? We deliver boxes of fresh organic fruits and vegetables to homes and offices, year-round, on a weekly or biweekly basis. We work directly with local and organic farms and suppliers to help create better access to healthy, sustainably produced foods.

We offer several different produce boxes with a variety of fruit and vegetable mixtures, starting at $24. Produce items change from week to week based on what’s available and in season. When someone signs up, they let us know which fruits and vegetables they never want to receive—we call this the 'No list.' We then substitute other items of equal value in their place.

Customers can also order a variety of organic grocery items from great local companies and suppliers, including milk, eggs, cheese, bread, chocolate, coffee, and more.

How does someone sign up for the program, and what does it cost to do so? People can sign up on our website at www.bostonorganics.com. There are no membership fees, so customers just pay for their box each week that they receive their delivery.

There are no commitments or fees for cancelling the service, and customers can put their accounts on hold at any time.

How did the business get its start? (The following quote is from Jeff Barry, founder/owner of Boston Organics) While living out in San Francisco, my wife, Beth and I had subscribed to a similar service, PlanetOrganics. We really enjoyed receiving delivery of fresh, organic, sustainably grown fruits and veggies to our door step. We also liked being more directly connected to where our food was coming from and being introduced to produce that we were not too familiar with.

Both of us are from the Boston area and we decided to move back in 2002. My wife had a 'real' job and I had an opportunity to start Boston Organics.

My grandfather helped with a down payment for a van; friends and former colleagues from San  Francisco helped with the logo and website. I was able to find some fruit and vegetable suppliers in the produce market in Everett as well as a connect with a few local growers. That summer I posted fliers around Boston and got 13 people to sign up. On that first day of deliveries, Beth took a day off from work and helped pick, pack and deliver the first orders with me.

When did you move to Charlestown? I moved to Charlestown in the spring of 2003. I chose to move to Charlestown because of its close proximity to the produce market and relatively easy access to all parts of the Boston metro area. The public transportation is decent which is important since many employees rely on it.

What is your most popular product? Our most popular produce box is the $29 half-fruit half-vegetable box because it provides a nice variety. That’s the fun of the service—the produce is always changing. Over the winter we’ve been enjoying pomegranates and sweet Florida citrus in the box. During the summer, we see flavorful local heirloom tomatoes, sweet blueberries from Vermont, and a variety of fresh greens from local farms.

Do you have a personal favorite? As much as we love fruits and vegetables, we also keep a healthy supply of Taza and Equal Exchange chocolate around.     

Anything else we should know about your business? Our mission is: Boston Organics provides access to fresh, organic produce in order to promote and support healthy living in a mindful and sustainable way that respects the environment and supports local farms, local businesses, and fair-trade practices.

We work hard to reduce our environmental impact by recycling and composting as much as possible. We also have a cargo bike that is used to make deliveries in some neighborhoods. You might see it around Charlestown on Fridays.

At the end of each week we distribute leftover produce among Boston Organics employees, and we donate any additional produce to Food for Free. Food for Free is a local organization that rescues food that might otherwise go to waste and distributes it to people in need through a network of emergency food programs. In 2011, we provided them with over 25,000 pounds of fresh produce, which made its way to shelters, youth programs, food pantries, and meal programs in the Boston area. Local partnerships like this allow us to make an impact and give back to the people in our community.

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