Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Other than the SoCal Farmer's Markets, this has been my favorite food sourcing find so far. I've been nothing but super impressed with Azure Standard since I found out about them. They're out of Dufur, OR (Portland area). Weirdly enough, I've actually been to Dufur, OR. Anyway, they have truck routes that deliver goods around the Western States once a month. Their catalog is on their website but you have to give them your email address to see their prices.
This month I got 50 lbs of soft white wheat to turn into whole grain pastry flour, 50 lbs of organic rolled oats to use for breakfasts, 5 lbs of sea salt, 5 lbs of organic potatoes, 3 lbs of organic onions, 12 cans of coconut milk for curry, and 1 gallon of raw honey. It's enough cheaper than the local honey I get at the FM that I'm going to start using it in my cooked goods and keep the local stuff with the local pollen benefits for raw and low-temperature uses. And no, I'm not planning on using this all in the next month.
They have a ton of organic foods at great prices but I was most excited to see the bulk grain options. I had ordered some things previously from Walton Feed and was really happy with their quality, but the shipping was costing me as much as the goods I was ordering. If you can drive to Bear Lake, ID and pick up your order, they're a great resource. But since I can't, I was really happy to find Azure Standard.
They have drop off points that are already established (or you can start a new one if you have a big enough ordering pool). There's a drop off here that's only 10 minutes from my house so it is really convenient for me. If you pick up your goods at the drop off point, there is no charge for shipping. No charge! I am thrilled about that since most of what I want to order comes in 50 lb packages. For the record, you don't have to buy things in bulk from them, I am just doing that because it's a lot cheaper per unit. There is a $50 minimum order for the free shipping deal but there's no commitment to order every month and no other hidden fees.
I've ordered from them twice now and have been really happy with the results. Currently, I'm using my monthly orders to restock my food storage grains and buy some of my specialty items in bulk- like the Celtic Sea Salt and mung beans for sprouting. They have a ton of items available though. They also have produce available in bulk, seasonally. I'm debating using them for my tomatoes to can since I haven't been impressed with my upick options here. But I'll probably stick to the Farmer's Market for that. We'll see.
Eventually, I'd like to use Azure Standard to replace Costco in my shopping routine. I'm just not quite ready to give that up yet. I do realize that Azure goods are still being trucked in to me so they're not exactly local and I'm not necessarily buying directly from the farmer (though Azure does produce many of their products). But I am eliminating some of the middle man steps and that makes me happy. They are at least in the West even if they're not that close to me. They also have great selection and quality on the specialty-items I like and I've been happy with their prices. Plus, I've met the man who drives the truck with my food in it. I know his name. I've seen pictures of the farm that grew my wheat. I think that's very cool.