Our Man Sietsema: ‘Does Hummus Really Come Out of the Bovine Teat?


This week, Our Man veers off his usual topic to review Fresh Direct, about which he admits to having some pre-formed opinions:

Five years ago, when Fresh Direct trucks first hit the streets, certain people I knew洋ainly lawyers and advertising types who worked hard, stayed late, and had little time for the minutiae of life謡ere elated at the prospect of ordering groceries online. I was instantly pissed. I get around town on a bike, and Fresh Direct trucks soon appropriated bicycle lanes as their personal parking lots.

Sietsema goes on to criticize the excessive packaging FD uses in their deliveries, and we have to agree with him on that count. He also takes issue with the fact that the delivery service is only available in certain neighborhoods:

It was clear, too, that Fresh Direct was redlining much of the city, refusing to service neighborhoods based on what seemed like race and class considerations.

We happen to have just moved from the FD-sanctioned Chelsea to off-limits Bed-Stuy, and while we’re infinitely more freaked out that Time Warner won’t come here, it doesn’t feel great to be banned from yuppiedom. Or maybe it does, a little. But then again, can we really blame the company? We don’t react when a traditional, stationary operation like Whole Foods opens where they have a built-in customer base. It wouldn’t be worth FD’s while to come to Bed-Stuy just for the pioneering yuppies here, would it?

But most important, at the end of the day, is the food. Sietsema, like any food lover, cherishes the time he spends picking out his groceries up-close and personal, but for those who just don’t have time, he gives FD a passing grade. Some things, like the steak, faired a lot better than others, like the par-baked bread. The fresh produce was hit-or-miss.

Personally, we have only ordered on occasion, but we generally see it as a good option for heavy staples like flour, canned goods, milk, and beer in bulk, or, when we’re feeling nice, chicken in bulk for the dog. But we’ve also done well with the pork chops and pork shoulders, whole organic chickens, and briskets. Here are some picks from Chowhound. What do you think?

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 23, 2007

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