This will be good for me, I think.
That’s my internal monologue as I go about my latest assignment: being the first to review Good Eggs, an ecommerce grocery site that launched today, and lets users buy from local, sustainable food producers, like an online farmer’s market.
The amusing quirk of the situation? Lately, I’ve embarrassingly been subsisting entirely too much on processed foods. (That’s what deadline writing will do.) So I am way out of my element here. At the very least, I’ll get some food that doesn’t make me feel like a horrible person.
First, some background on Good Eggs. It was cofounded by a small team based in San Francisco, including Rob Spiro, the company’s chief executive. Spiro cofounded Aardvark, a question and answer search engine acquired by Google in 2010 for $50 million. After Google killed the product, Spiro joined the Google Plus team as a product lead. But before Spiro got into technology, he worked on a farm in upstate New York raising chickens for eggs and growing heirloom tomatoes, says Spiro.
His team, which has grown to 20 people, started piloting Good Eggs last summer, and now the service is available all throughout San Francisco and a few neighboring regions in the Bay Area, including Marin and the East Bay. Investors in the site are Harrison Metal, Baseline Ventures, Collaborative Fund, Westly Group, Correlation Ventures, New Island Capital, Max Ventilla, Mitch Kapor, and other angels.
So let’s buy some groceries. First, the site asks you what day you’d like to receive your order. The soonest is two days. Coincidentally, I’m writing this from a combination café and organic market near my apartment in San Francisco. It feels like a Berkeley co-op in here, and the food selections on Good Eggs look like they’d be available on the shelf to my right.
Categories include “Winter Fruits & Vegetables,” “Sustainable Meats and Seafood” and “Just Baked Breads and Sweets.” There’s a decently large and diverse selection of items, from organic baby bok choy for $2 a bunch to beef marrow baby food for $3.50 a jar to pork brats and sausages, all $14 a pound.
As I’ll have PandoDaily expense my order, I decide to get something sharable, which will stay fresh until the next time our staff gathers. So I go for a $2.75 small bag of dried fruit and mixed nuts from Yolo Farmstand. (I almost begin to deduct points for the vendor’s name, until I realize it’s named after Yolo County. So if you get nothing else out if this article, at least you know there is a Yolo County. Did you know that, Drake?)
I try checking out, to see if there is a buying minimum. To purchase just from Yolo Farmstands, the minimum is $25.00. So I keep shopping.
I also try the vegan muffin of the week from Bread SRSLY bakery for $3. The type of muffin is not listed, and I am intrigued by the mystery of it. I hope it’s banana nut. (It was not.)
I attempt checking out again, and it works. You can choose to pickup at a few places around the city, or have it delivered to your door for $3.99. So that brings me to a grand total of $9.74. The checkout process is standard and painless.
I ordered my food late night on Tuesday and it arrived the next evening. The delivery was very quick, but might not be representative of the true experience. The team expedited my order so I would receive it in time before the site launched today. I know I’m getting the restaurant critic treatment because my order comes with a half dozen eggs on the house. Maybe they will make one sustainable foodie entrepreneur happy at our next PandoMonthly. (Which is March 7, by the way. Shameless plug.) Note to self: check on the legality of that. Don’t want any lawsuits.
The price tag is pretty steep for the amount of food I got. But that’s to be expected with organic food. The bag of mixed nuts was tiny. To the team’s credit, the commitment to distributing sustainable local food seems genuine. There is a long list of criteria a food producer must meet to become a member vendor. For example, they must sell locally, use no processed additives, and pay their employees a fair wage. The vendors seem to be the good eggs the site’s name is referring to. Good Eggs makes money on transaction fees for each purchase, Spiro says.
It’s obviously got more of a social bent then Fresh Select or Instacart, which just picks up food from Safeway or Trader Joe’s. But it’s pricey and probably not practical for everything you might need when shopping for the week. Final takeaway for the service: If you can afford it, have at it.
Oh and the mystery muffin was chocolate gingerbread, by the way. It was rather tasty. Take that, processed foods.
[Image courtesy Cowtools]