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spud! feedback

I wrote spud! a couple email questions recently and am posting them here in case anyone's curious about a response. The first was a general question about how spud! compares to CSAs and co-ops.

Question on the full post.

Question (1 PM PST 6/24/08):

Hi spud! rep,

I stumbled across your site after seeing it mentioned on a blog and I
like it a lot. Lots of organic and environmental information -- I
especially like the food miles estimation stuff.

Anyway, my girlfriend is vegan and recently graduated in Conservational
Biology, so she is very enviro-conscious, and I was wondering how spud!
compares to membership in a local community-supported agriculture
program? Like what you get with spud! that you don't with a CSA and
vice versa and how spud! supports local agriculture besides pointing out
what's local. Additionally, most of your comparisons in your text seem
to be to grocery stores like Safeway. How does spud! compare to co-ops
like PCC and Madison Market?

-- suggestion removed --

Thanks! Hope these questions aren't too much trouble...they do seem
like they should be something on the FAQ page. Not everyone browsing
the site shops at Safeway.


Response (2 PM PST 6/25/08):

Hi Max,

I'd be happy to answer some of your questions.

CSA's such as Full Circle Farms offer products and designate drop off locations for people to pick up. The driving to these locations usually cause more harm to the environment in the long run. Full Circle receives produce from farms in California to Mexico and do not track their miles; so it is unclear how much damage is done to the environment to receive your produce. We identified that at spud! and we track our miles and do our best to eliminate or decrease our carbon foot print as much as possible. We post these miles because we want to be as transparent as possible and let you see how we operate. Full Circle fails to communicate to their customers that one week only one piece of produce comes from their farm while the other 12 pieces are from around the nation.

50% of our products are purchased locally and we do offer Local only- we leave this up to the individual to decide. For example, apricots were not ripe here in Washington so we had them brought up from California. This information is provided next to the product description for those who would like to wait until they are local. For those who want apricots now, they are available.

As for comparing us to grocery stores, we have three stops. The farm to our warehouse to your door step. Most grocery stores have many more; the farm to the distribution plant to the regional warehouse to the local warehouse to the grocery store- all using large amounts of energy to keep coolers cold and transport the produce between these locations. Our goal is to minimize our foot print so we cut out the steps and stick to one warehouse. Our deliveries are mapped out so we are in one are code on a certain day; that way we minimize driving all over the place.

I hope this answered some of your questions and thank you for the suggestion on the website. I am managing some technical changes for spud.com and apreciate your insight.



spud! Seattle/Portland

My commentary:

She actually had a surprisingly good response to my inquiry about CSAs, though it seems like she singled out a particularly un-environmental one, Full Circle Farms. Some CSAs deliver straight to your home instead of making you drive out to a location to collect it, and I doubt all CSAs are as geographically spread out as Full Circle Farms supposedly is. Full Circle Farms' site is here and some customers of theirs from yelp is here. After glancing at Full Circle Farms' site, it makes me question Christina's claims a bit -- the scrupulous individual in me would like to see some evidence backing up her claims.

The "50% are local" information is something I already knew from their website. But it's cool because they tell you exactly what is local and what isn't, so even though only half the food is local, you can still easily choose to buy only food that's local, and only occasionally add a couple things from further away.

The "three stops" thing about grocery stores didn't really answer my question -- I know regular grocery stores are bad, but how do co-ops compare?? Probably not as bad, but what does spud! have over them?

Overall a generally helpful and thoughtful email, but she could have delved in a little deeper for me.

Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. An interesting response from Spud customer service, but not entirely truthful.

    Spud purchases from distributors like Charlie’s Produce (Seattle) and the Organically Grown Company (from Oregon), not always or in most cases farm direct. If you take a look at their site most of the offerings are from California.

    Certainly a bit of marketing spin here for your benefit.

    Shop wisely.

  2. Hi Max,

    Can you please remove my last name.

    Thank you.

  3. Done. Sorry about that. As a courtesy I removed the other spud rep’s last name from the other post as well.

  4. Appreciated- thanks again

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