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Service Review: Boston Organics

December 29, 2021 Leave a comment

Boston Organics is an organic only grocery delivery service for homes and offices. They focus on local whenever possible and supporting other small businesses. They are committed to sustainability, including recycling and composting.

Their service area includes towns surrounding Boston such as Billerica and Waltham. See their full delivery area here.

I originally signed up for Boston Organics in October 2012. I put my account on pause when my work location and schedule meant it was easier for me to get to the grocery store. When the pandemic arrived and grocery stores in the Boston area were largely out of stock of a lot of produce, I was thrilled to be able to unpause my account and resume my deliveries in March of 2020. I am not exaggerating when I say when my first delivery included a fresh pepper – I cried.

When you sign up for Boston Organics, you choose what type and size of box you want. They range from small to family size. Many sizes let you choose the proportion of fruits to veggies. There is also the “dogma box,” which is the local foods only box. Cost of boxes ranges from $27 to $60. You can choose every week or every other week delivery. My family of two gets the small box with every other week delivery. The produce lasts us one week, but we alternate this service with another for increased variety.

When you sign up, you set up your produce preferences. You can change these at any time. There’s a set list of what boxes are getting what produce each week, but these are adjusted to suit your preferences. Your options are dislike, neutral, like, and love. If you set dislike you never get that produce item. If you set neutral, you sometimes get it in smaller quantities. You can set a whole category of produce, like I do here:

Or you can expand a category and set the items individually, like I do for alliums.

The basic boxes are just produce, but you can order “add-ons.” You can do these one week at a time, or just add them to every week as a subscription. The add-ons are really fun. They include pantry staples like pasta and beans to beverages to eggs to tofu. What I really like about them is how thoughtfully sourced they are. They come from mostly small local businesses, like my subscription tofu delivery is made in New York state. You can also add on produce itself. This is part of why my family does the small box because then I add on produce I know we want every time, like spinach. This gives us both consistency and variety. You can also add-on a tip for your driver. These are in $1 increments, so you can add on whatever you think is appropriate. I really appreciate they added this feature. You have until noon the day before your delivery to make adjustments to your subscription/account for most items. There’s a special deadline for bread and dairy.

The produce gets dropped off in a reusable green box. They will leave it wherever you want, including inside your front door if you give them a key. They are insured to do this. We have ours left on our porch.

They pick up the previous delivery’s plastic box at the time of the next delivery. You do need to remember to leave it out for them. I love that they use a reusable box. It’s more sustainable, and I don’t have to mess around with crushing down a giant recycling box. If it’s summer and hot, you can leave a cooler out for them. The Boston Organics driver will put any chilled items into that cooler. Obviously from the snow on our porch, that wasn’t necessary for us at the time of this delivery!

If you ever have any issues with your delivery, it’s incredibly easy to report. There’ s a “report order issues” button on your account. You fill out a quick form, and a person gets back to you. Human beings run this business, so of course sometimes errors happen. They are not common, though. I would say we see an error once a quarter. The response is always speedy. You usually get a credit toward your next order equal to or more than the amount of the item with the problem. Sometimes you also get that item as a free add-on next time if it’s produce. Better than that, though, is the issue manager tells you exactly what they’re going to do to address it so it doesn’t happen again. I really appreciate how transparent they are and wonderfully easy to deal with.

Overall, Boston Organics makes eating fresh, organic produce and groceries year-round convenient and easy. The customer service is A+, and I’m happy to recommend them.

Sign up for Boston Organics here. Be sure to use my referral coupon code for a 10% discount off your first delivery. Coupon code: 2163boa9b9

Although I do receive 10% off my next delivery when someone else signs up, please know that I only recommend services and products that I have tried out for a significant time and can wholeheartedly recommend.

Have questions about the service? Feel free to leave them in the comments section!

Book Review: We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

December 9, 2021 Leave a comment
Image of a book cover. A floating eye looks down a city. It notes there is an introduction by Margaret Atwood.

Summary:
In a glass-enclosed city of perfectly straight lines, ruled over by an all-powerful “Benefactor,” the citizens of the totalitarian society of OneState are regulated by spies and secret police; wear identical clothing; and are distinguished only by a number assigned to them at birth. That is, until D-503, a mathematician who dreams in numbers, makes a discovery: he has an individual soul. He can feel things. He can fall in love. And, in doing so, he begins to dangerously veer from the norms of his society, becoming embroiled in a plot to destroy OneState and liberate the city.

Set in the twenty-sixth century AD, We was the forerunner of canonical works from George Orwell and Alduous Huxley, among others. It was suppressed for more than sixty years in Russia and remains a resounding cry for individual freedom, as well as a powerful, exciting, and vivid work of science fiction that still feels relevant today. Bela Shayevich’s bold new translation breathes new life into Yevgeny Zamyatin’s seminal work and refreshes it for our current era. 

Review:
The history of this book is fascinating. Smuggled out of Soviet Russia and only ever published in translation in exile from Russia. Published before 1984 and Brave New World and said to have been at least some level of influence on both. So it’s absolutely an important read from the perspective of scifi history.

A what-if version of automation and industrialization. These successes have led to a society where humans no longer have mothers, fathers, or even real names. Instead they have numbers. D-503 is our narrator. He’s designing a rocket ship for the space program. He falls in with I-330, a woman working with a kind of back to nature resistance.

I’m not sure I liked either society depicted. It kind of reminded me of one of the societies depicted in The Time Machine that I didn’t like all that much either. But I was definitely moved and engaged and wanted to find out what happened. (The ending is bleak. I’m not sure why I hoped for anything else!)

One thing that made this a challenging read is that D-503 refers to I-330 as I. This made some sentences confusing since it’s also narrated in the first person from his point of view. It was not unusual for me to have to re-start a sentence after realizing it was actually about I-330 and not D-503 or vice versa. It’s unclear to me how much of this is a translation choice and how much of it is authentic to the book as originally written in Russian.

Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way is how the Black character is described. There’s a large, recurring focus on the size of his lips. On the one hand, the depiction of this character is very open-minded and equal. He and D-503 are both sort of married to the same woman, know it, and all consider themselves friends. But, on the other hand, the focus on his lips repeatedly was jarring. I’m again, not sure if this was in the original Russian or an awkward translation.

A creative world building element that I enjoyed is how this totalitarian regime keeps watch on its citizens. This was written before much technology, and so the citizens all live in glass homes. They have to get a special ticket to be able to pull the blinds. These are only issued for sanctioned sexual encounters. Thus to have private meetings, you must get tickets to have sexual relations with the person you want to meet with.

Recommended to those with an interest in the trajectory of scifi dystopias over time or with an interest in Russian literature.

3 out of 5 stars

Length: 256 pages – average but on the shorter side

Source: NetGalley

Buy It (Amazon or Bookshop.org)

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