So it’s 2020 😅 – officially the year of chaotic melodrama.

For most of the pandemic, I’ve been stuck at home (inner introvert – 😏), trying not to go outside, and trying my best not to get bored out of my mind! Yay Netflix!

Like most, I’ve been looking for alternative ways of getting my groceries without getting off my couch. Call it laziness, I call it a love for all-things-convenient. Being in Toronto, there are a vast number of options available for those that just can’t bare with the queues, commuting, and whatever else that makes that trip to the grocery store so-totally-not-worth-it. The question though is, which service is the best? Which service will squeeze my mangoes to make sure I am getting only the freshest? Will they deliver on time? Which will uphold safety standards? Offer great customer service? Hmm…

Let’s start with ‘Grow, Gather & Co‘. I stumbled on this grocery delivery service on Reddit in one of those, “What’s happening in Toronto this week” sections. From their website, they are family-owned business that previously supplied produce to restaurants, but due to the lockdown, they started supplying individuals – maintaining that support for local farmers and suppliers.

How it works:

One can either choose from a pre-built basket or customize their own basket.

Each pre-built basket comes with a variety of meat, produce, dairy, bakery and pantry items, (more detailed itemized list on their website). The different basket types are:

Small: $100 – Enough food to feed 2-3 people for 2-3 days

Medium: $210 – Enough food to feed 3-4 people for 5 days

Large: $285 – Enough food to feed 4-6 people for 7 Days

Now, I don’t know about you – but I like determining the particulars of what I want, just so that I do not get duplicate items sitting in my fridge. So I went with the customized basket.

Ordering – Website: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️__ (4/5)

The website is sleek and pretty intuitive to use. Their product offerings are limited – and also bulked up into pantry, meat, produce sections, so everything sits on one page. I appreciate that! I love knowing all that I can possibly buy, and then being able to just focus on the things I want.

I dinged a star because the website does not allow a user to create an account. This makes it hard for my commitment-phobic arse to add things to cart and return once again at a later time. It also makes it hard f or me to keep track of my previous orders without looking for a receipt.

Checkout & Order Confirmation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️__ (4/5)

The checkout process is pretty straightforward, it could be shortened if the website allowed storing addresses & account information. So get ready to fill up your shipping and billing information every time you want to check out! 😫

You can check out with a Credit Card (Visa, Amex, MasterCard, Discover) /Apple Pay / Google Pay. So lots of options.

Grow Gather & Co.'s Checkout page

Immediately I ordered, I got an email confirmation with an itemized list of all the products I ordered. The delivery window was 1-4 days to deliver, with a notification on the day of delivery.

Delivery: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️_ (4/5)

Cost: $5

Cost of delivery is relatively lower than other major grocery delivery companies:

Grocery Gateway: $9.99
Sobeys/Voilá: $7.99
Walmart: $7.97
PC Chef: $5
Instacart: $3.99
Healthy Butcher: $0

My order was scheduled for 2 days after ordering! Not too bad considering demand! I got an email the day before notifying me that my order was on the way.

On the day of, I got a text message giving me a delivery window of 1 hour!

Text Message from Grow Gather & Co
"Hey there!
It's Grow Gather and Co.
Looks like were are going to be between delivering to you between
12:00 - 13:00
If there's any problems let us know.
[Number Redacted]"

15 minutes before they arrived, they sent another text message letting me know they were 15 minutes away!

Were they within the window? Yes! Knock on the door and ta-daa! Order delivered.

Unfortunately, my order was missing 2 items. I immediately texted the number provided, and a couple of minutes later received confirmation that there would be a re-delivery the next day.

Text conversation regarding the missing items.

The products: ⭐️⭐️⭐️_ _ (3/5)

Photo of dairy and meat products
Arranged dairy and meat products.
2 Mattachioni’s pizza doughs, 2 cartons of Nature Plus Large Eggs, 2 Buca’s Tiramisu desserts, 1 NY Strip, 1 Maple Syrup and 1 Eby Manor Chocolate Milk

I ordered a medium basket for produce, valued at $45, this is what it contained.

Photo of produce items
1 cucumber, 370g of yellow plums, 3 tomatoes, 315g of grapes, 1 cauliflower, 3 shallots, 1 bunch of mint, 1 bunch of sage, 1 avocado, 1 mini seedless watermelon, 1 cauliflower, 2 apples, 4 corns, 1 bunch of lettuce, 1 leek

I was really excited for this order, mostly because of the chocolate milk and Tiramisu. 😋

I was also excited because I would be supporting local Canadian farmers. However, some of the products in the produce box were not from Canada. So a ding for that! 😕

Most of the products were really fresh, especially the fruits – no complaints there. Some of the veggies (lettuce) /herbs (sage) looked a little wilted. I had to toss the corn two days later because it went bad. Everything else was great. So another ding for the not-so-fresh products!

Thinking about value for money… most of it seemed priced in line with the market. I could probably have squeezed a bit more produce with $45 if I was shopping at my grocery store.

The NY Strip was $33 for 1 lb, and a good steak can go anywhere from $25/lb – $40/lb in the market, so this was priced on the higher side. The two packs (24) of eggs went for $14, free-run organic eggs usually go for $6.99 at my local Food Basics, so at this point the $0.01 difference would probably not make a difference. The 1l jug of Maple Syrup was priced at $20 – this is also in line with the market. Also pizza dough for $3 each! Now that’s a steal! Not having to knead your dough, AH-MAZING!

Summary:

Would I order from Grow, Gather & Co again?

Probably not. They don’t offer a wide variety of items, so I would always need to supplement products they don’t have either with my local grocery or with another grocery delivery service.

I also like having control of what I buy, and the produce boxes do not allow that. It’s hard to plan for a meal if I don’t know what is coming until it arrives. I also think that the produce boxes could lead to food waste if I cannot utilize a particular item I received.

If they increased their inventory variety, ensured all their products were local and allowed customers to pick and choose their produce, this would be an easy sell for me.

I love that they are a small family-owned company that stepped up to fulfill demand for groceries at a time where Canadians couldn’t go outside. Their prices seem okay at an overview level and their delivery service and communication is top-notch. However, this is probably a one-time order.

ElementRating
Ordering – Website: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️__ (4/5)
Checkout & Order Confirmation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️__ (4/5)
Delivery: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️__ (4/5)
The products: ⭐️⭐️⭐️_____ (3/5)
Total15/20
Apollo napping in the empty produce box

15 OUT OF 20… CAME WITH A GREAT BOX TO SLEEP IN

aPOLLO, THE CAT

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