Friday, April 15, 2011

Azure Standard- Affordable Healthy Food!

I was so excited to pick up my Azure Standard order yesterday. A little giddy even. As you know, one of my goals this year is to make some lasting, healthy changes to our diet. I started by going gluten-free in January, and I can tell such a difference already. The downside is that eating gluten free is costing us significantly more. And that's where Azure Standard comes in.

Azure Standard is a company/farm out of Dufur, Oregon. They sell just about anything healthy/all natural/organic that you can think of. It's literally like an entire natural foods grocery store in a catalog. (They do sell a variety of non-food items as well). They ship UPS, but the best way to get the food from them is through their truck routes. They currently deliver to 22 states. If there's a drop point near you, then ordering is pretty simple. You can order online, by phone, or by mail. And then once a month, Azure's driver will drive your route and drop off your groups food at your drop point.

This month was my first time ordering from Azure. I've never experienced anything like it. I would have been nervous if it wasn't for all the outstanding reviews I've read online and the company's A+ BBB rating. On drop day, right at 3PM on a Tuesday, 12 or so cars pull up into the parking lot in front of a random tractor supply store in Porter. A couple of people worked quickly with the drop leader to get the organization system set up so that would be easy to separate everyones orders. And then everyone stood around for a bit, chit-chatting about breastfeeding and who knows what else, waiting for the truck to arrive. Then it happened- a big white 18 wheeler pulled into the parking lot, and everyone started cheering. (Apparently I'm not the only person who gets a little giddy about the thought of low prices on whole foods.) The back of the truck was opened, and there it was- the pallet with all our orders! Everyone worked together to get the food off of the truck and separated by name to each person. Then each person checked to make sure that they have everything they ordered, and it was off to home.

It felt like a huge undercover whole foods drug deal.

So there's my order. I was so thrilled to unpack everything and spread it out cornucopia style on the counter. I even told DH as he was helping me bring everything in, "I want everything right on the counter in the kitchen!" 

What did I get? 
*25 lbs of Lundberg long grain brown rice (split with my sister) Lundburg rice is awesome because it's gluten free. Yes, rice in general is gluten free, but cross contamination is often a concern with grains, so I like to play it safe and get something that's certified gluten free. I got it for less than a dollar a pound- Lundberg rice at my grocery store is $2 a lb! Big savings there.
That's what 25 lbs of rice looks like. 

*Amy's Gluten Free frozen mac'n'cheese- These were on sale this month! (That's another cool thing about Azure- each month there's a whole catalog's worth of stuff that goes on sale.) I love Amy's meals. I try to make most of our food from scratch, but there are just some days when that doesn't happen- and there are no leftovers in the fridge! I keep a couple of Amy's meals stashed in the freezer for days like that. Amy's uses all natural ingredients, and even packages the food in paper bowls instead of plastic. Love that. Sure, not the healthiest choice in the world, but it's a whole heck of a lot better than running out for a burger on a busy night. It's a convenience food I can feel good about. 

*2lbs walnuts- Just some walnuts. I like to keep them around for snacking on. 

*1lb flame raisins- I had never heard of flame raisins before. I usually eat golden raisins. But when I was placing my order, I noticed that the golden raisins were sulfured(love that Azure discloses this information- and the golden raisins I was getting at the grocery were sulfured too, for the record). I love them, but I decided to take another step towards healthy and eliminate the sulfur, at least this time. I'd never heard of flame raisins before, but the description said they were made from red flame raisins and had a unique flavor. Plus I could get a pound of them for just under $3. Let me tell you- they are the most amazing raisins I have ever had! Very delicious. 

*12.5 lbs organic fuji apples (5 lbs to my sister)- I'm using these to can applesauce for the first time! I did sneak one or two though, and they're very tasty. 

*5 lbs organic carrots (going to my sister for baby food)

*Family sized bag of Yummy Earth lollipops- We love these. Amazing taste, and no artificial colors or flavors. I have a hard time keeping my husband out of these! These obviously aren't a source of nutrition, but I think everyone should get an occasional treat, and I love having treats on hand that I don't have to feel guilty about giving to my kids. 

*2 lbs Sucanat- To my understanding, sucanat is the most natural sugar you can get. It's pure cane sugar juice, dried and ground. I'm planning on trying it in my baked oatmeal! 

*Pack of Newman-Os- These are for the hubs. I can't have them since they're made with flour. Hey- they're better than Oreos. 

*5 lbs organic frozen corn- I'm excited to be getting some affordable organic frozen corn, especially since corn is one of the crops that's often genetically modified now. 

*6 1/2 gallon glass jars- SO excited about these. I love containers of any kind, but especially gorgeous glass ones. I immediately filled a couple with my rice, oats, sucanat, and walnuts, and then just stood back and admired them. When it comes to containers, I just can't help myself. More on these when I share my pantry reorganization. 

*Biokleen lavender fabric refresh- This is for the hubs too. Without fail, every morning as he's getting dressed, he'll spray his shirt with Downy Wrinkle Release. Drives. Me. Crazy. I shudder to think about all the chemicals we're breathing in every morning! He just can't give it up though, so I'm determined to find a healthier alternative. Technically this is "fabric refresh" and not wrinkle release, but I'm going to have him give it a try and see if it works similarly. 

*Rosemary and Cilantro starts- One of the reasons we started ordering from Azure was to save money on groceries. And what better way to do that than to grow your own food! We're not in a position to have an actual garden this year, and since I've never grown anything before I've decided to do a little test run with some potted herbs. Hopefully I have a green thumb hiding somewhere. 

Cost for all of that, including the shipping fee? $115.

I absolutely loved my first experience ordering from Azure, and I'm already planning what to order next month. I'm thinking about getting several different types of dried fruit and nuts to make my own trail mix instead of buying Lara bars every week. Those are really eating up the grocery budget. I'll also probably get some coconut oil and olive oil. Have you heard that most of the main olive oil brands here in the US actually have other oils(like canola or sunflower) mixed in! The more you know, the scarier it gets! Can't we all just move to an island somewhere and run a gigantic organic farm together?

1 comment:

  1. if you have a Costco near by, you can buy the organic frozen corn and broccoli for about $5.00 for a 5 lb bag! I too just had my first order with Azure. The truck actually stops right outside my house! how convenient.!! My neighbors are the ones who got me interested in Azure.