Editor’s note: We kicked off our first annual Food Loves Tech event last summer in Chelsea—here’s a recap. We’re bringing a taste of the food and farming future back this year, but just across the East River at Industry City. Leading up to the event, this story is part of an ongoing series about technology’s effects on our food supply.
It’s been almost two years since we last took a look at the city’s grocery delivery services, and a lot has changed. A few of those shuttered, and many new contenders have emerged, delivering you farm-fresh produce, sandwiches from Sahadi’s, and even wine, beer and booze. Are they all worthy of your time? We tried these ones out to get a feel for how they all stack up.
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For specialty shops: Mercato
This service brings together all the smaller merchants you might wish were available via Instacart. If you’re looking for specialty items—say, a selection of hummus, olives and pita from the aforementioned Sahadi’s, breads from Bien Cuit or a specific cut of meat from Dellapietras—this is where to go, and each shop has its own delivery charge and order minimum. Your selection of shops is dependent upon your ZIP code and the stores’ delivery zones, but most do offer same-day delivery.
The downside here is that you have to order from each separately, thus having to hit that minimum and pay that charge for each if you’d like an array from different shops. Still, this is the site to keep in mind for when you are party-planning and know you’re not going to make it over to the butcher or cheese shop.
For a farmers market feel: OurHarvest
Do you want to be a person who makes it to the farmers market every week, but you just can’t make it work? Here’s OurHarvest, which brings together offerings from local farms—not just for produce, but meat, sprouted legumes, clams, pasta, dips and more. The amount of food you get is all up to you, and it arrives packaged neatly in clear plastic or, in the case of meat, paper. You’re able to also pick up things like yogurt, broth, pretzels and sauerkraut made by local makers, so it replaces trips to small specialty grocers when you’re time-crunched. This service makes it simple to shop local on an everyday basis.
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For the bar cart: Minibar
When you decide you aren’t going to get through the evening without a bottle of wine but you’ve already started cooking, look to Minibar. The selection, which pulls from your local liquor stores, is vast and well organized and, in our experience, the delivery comes lightning fast. Your water won’t even be boiling before you’ve got a bottle of Lambrusco in hand. Depending upon how much you order, it will come in the same kind of bag you would usually walk out of the store with yourself, so there’s not much waste involved in packaging.
For everyday: FoodKick
You may have seen the bikes schlepping big purple boxes throughout Brooklyn. The FreshDirect-owned FoodKick is the delivery behemoth’s attempt at same-day delivery and it works (our order arrived in a little over an hour). They seem to have something for everyone: a seasonal farmshare box with quality local produce, eggs and cheese; prepared meals; a fairly stocked drugstore. You can get booze with your order, too, making the service a virtual one-stop shop. They have the most general, generic offerings of these four services with quite a few unexpected gems, like this standout cider collection, frozen Roberta’s pizza and Van Leeuwen’s killer vegan ice creams. It’s a hipper version of your local supermarket.