Looking to make eating healthy more convenient? Tampa Bay Organics delivers the goods.
The Land O' Lakes-based company, which celebrated its first anniversary this week, delivers fresh produce from local certified organic farmers to homes throughout the Bay area.
Co-owner Al Tizer started an organic produce delivery service in Pennsylvania 15 years ago, then sold it a partner, he said. When he moved to Lutz about a year and a half ago, he decided to start something similar.
"We love offering organics to everybody and the easiest way to do it is home dleivery," Tizer said.
"It's the convenience factor that a lot of people really like," co-owner Jessica Papesh said.
Something else sets them apart from grocers and co-ops, she said: a guarantee. If you don't like what you get, Tampa Bay Organics will give you a credit for something else in your next delivery.
"You can't eat an apple and take it back to the store, " Papesh said."We want to provide customers with peace of mind."
The company differs from Community Supported Agriculture because there are no commitments or contracts. Customers can purchase what they want, when they want, based on a menu of available items that changes weekly, Papesh said.
With CSAs, "you get what they have," which may be a box full of nothing but cabbage, she said.
A box from Tampa Bay Organics is personalized based on a customer's preferences, Papesh said.
The company also has access to fruits and vegetables a customer may have never heard of such as pluots—a cross between a plum and an apricot— and Nubia eggplant. The company provides recipes for some of the more obscure items, she said.
The owners of Tampa Bay Organics said a lot of their business also involves educating people, especially in a time when the public school system classifies a french fry as a vegetable, Papesh said.
"We believe it's really important for kids to be eating organically," Tizer said.
Not only is the taste of organic produce better, but "I believe it's healthier," Papesh said.
Papesh acknowledged that eating organically also means spending more money, but said that the prices are getting better.
It's very labor intensive on the farmers, and certified organic sprays are more expensive for them to use, she said.
Still, the health benefits outweigh the costs, she said.
Want to give Tampa Bay Organics a try? Menus are released on the company's website on Fridays, and new customers who sign up by Thursday are able to customize their selections for the following week. Otherwise the first order will include a general variety of available items, Papesh said. Once registered, a customer can make substitutions and additions to an order anytime before 10 p.m. on Sundays.
Orders are delivered on Tuesdays and come complete with an ice pack, however Papesh recommends customers put out coolers for their delivery to be placed in if they are not at home.
Prices vary from $29.50 for a small box to $47.50 for a large box, which includes delivery cost.
Deliveries are made throughout the Bay area, from Dade City to Ruskin, Port Richey to Palm Harbor, Papesh said.
To learn more or to place an order, visit www.TampaBayOrganics.com.