Beet & Pear Salad

April 2, 2009

Courtesy of BC Fresh

8 medium BCfresh BEETS, cooked and peeled
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt 125 mL
2 Tbsp. liquid honey 30 mL
1 tsp. Dijon mustard 5 mL
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg .5 mL
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint 30 mL
Grated rind and juice from 1 orange
Salt and pepper
8 large BC LEAF LETTUCE leaves
2 BC BARTLET or ANJOU PEARS
Watercress sprigs

Instructions

In large bowl, combine yogurt, honey, mustard, nutmeg, mint, orange rind and juice and salt and pepper to taste. Stir beets into yogurt dressing.

Arrange 1 lettuce leaf on each of 8 salad plates. Spoon beet mixture onto the top of the lettuce. Thinly slice pears. Arrange pear slices and watercress sprigs on top of beet mixture.

Makes 6 servings.

Grocery delivery businesses have become increasingly popular Vancouver over the past few years, especially those offering organic produce.  A few of these businesses include Spud!, Stong’s Market (not exclusively a delivery outfit), Organics@Home and Green Earth Organics.  Haven’t having tried the former three, I would like to talk about the one I did sampled, Green Earth Organics.

The company was started in Vancouver and expanded to Toronto.  How it works is Green Earth Organics makes available a number of different produce options, of which some items come as part of a standard “bin” package and some are customizable.  In Vancouver, we have the advantage of a favourable climate which allows for a lot of fresh, local produce options (relative to Canada) year-round.  These selections include white button mushrooms, red beets, Asian pears and granny smith apples.  Here’s an example of this week’s bin, which is advertised as a portion for one and costs $27:
3 Gala Apples (BC), 1 field cucumber, 1 tomato, 2 navel oranges (CA), 1 green chard (CA), 1 romaine lettuce, 1lb banana, 1lb yellow onion (WA), 1 Star Ruby Grapefruit, 1lb red chieftain potatoes (BC), 1lb carrots.

They also offer medium bins which include a few more selections for $35 and are geared towards couples.  The family bins are $46 and include additional selections such as red beets, Oranghetti squash and white sweet potatoes.  The bin is a plastic Tupperware-esq tote and is available with a $20 deposit.  They switch out your bin every week or two weeks, depending on the requested frequency of your delivery.  In addition to produce, cleaning products, breads and cereals, and snacks are also available, which can be viewed upon creating an account which Green Earth Organics uses to manage your delivery schedule and payments.

I researched the company and discovered they employ a collection of very smart and cost-effective marketing strategies:  tout the benefits of the products within the context of the industry, make contributions or announce support on behalf worthy organizations, advertise through testimonials, have members of the company and community blog on their behalf, and write articles which cite research and sources that reinforce the importance of their endeavor.

“Studies have also shown that the average family spends about 2 hours grocery shopping per week.  This adds up to approximately 104 hours per year.  I’m sure you will be able to find something else to do with your time!”

They also clearly understand their industry and target customer base very well:  socially conscious, environmentally-minded progressives who are active in promoting causes, and who may or may not have the income to support the cost of convenience, but believe enough in the idea that they are willing to make it work.  I can say with confidence that their marketing acumen drives the success of their business, and congratulations to their executives for earning it through their intelligence and business sense.

I was compelled to try the service because I had a 50% coupon from the Green Zebra Book (a $30 book and well worth the price).  The website has been recently revamped and looks much more professional (the old one was very amateurish, almost campy, and even though it reflected their customer base, I agree with the changes they made).  I created an account and could have placed an order online, but I was feeling impatient with technology and decided to order directly over the phone (very 90’s, I know).

I was greeted by an indescribably enthusiastic girl named Melissa, who as I have discovered from subsequent conversations, is an expert customer service professional who never has a bad day.  If she doesn’t love the job and company with all her heart, then create an organic Oscar and read her name from the envelope at the microphone.  Melissa explained that their delivery schedule put their driver in our neighbourhood on Monday, and we would receive our bin (we ordered the family size at $23 with the coupon) after 5:00pm.

The delivery arrived at 8:00pm the following Monday.  My first impression of the bin was that it didn’t seem like that much food for $46, though I understand the cost of delivery and convenience is also included in the price.  I was happy with everything except for the condition of the apples (a little bruised and mealy), the pears (slightly bruised) and the onions (a few were moldy only a day after delivery).  Since I have time to go to the grocery store, and didn’t really want to pay the convenience charges, I decided to cancel my order after one delivery.

I had signed up for the bi-weekly delivery option, and I called the next week to cancel before the Thursday deadline so as to not lock in the next delivery.  I told Melissa I was discontinuing service, and unlike some instances when this can change the tone of the conversation to become condescending, less friendly or uncomfortable, Melissa maintained her cheerful rapport and I felt no pressure or awkwardness after stating my decision.  She did ask why I wasn’t continuing service, at which time I mentioned the deficiencies in some of the produce.  Without asking that I relinquish the items, she offered to replace them for free when her driver came by to pick up the bin.  I was so impressed with the gesture that I declined the replacement offer (which surprised her, I think) and told her to keep them for the next person.  I noticed later that this is company policy, which will further win over the support of their customers.

By focusing on the intangible details i.e. exemplary customer service, spot-on marketing and targeting and impressive guarantees, Green Earth Organics has built a successful operation that is primed for longevity and steady growth.  This company has all the components of a successful business, and proves that with the right approach you can sell just about anything.  Green Earth Organics Ketchup Popsicles?  I won’t even take off my white gloves.

Please visit www.greenearthorganics.com to place your order.