Since my post on natural sweeteners, a handful of people have asked me where I find them. Well, folks, one BIG answer is finally here.
In a few hours, I'll head off to the Rose Bowl to pick up my monthly order from Azure Standard, a family farm that specializes in "natural, organic, earth-friendly foods and products." Finding this company was like finding a small gold mine. We've been ordering from them since March and have been absolutely thrilled with their commitment to what's real. Here's what they have to say:
"We chose to call our business Azure Standard, to signify by the name what we are attempting to do. Azure is a shade of blue which has been associated with law, justice, and honesty. In raising an azure standard, we want to place an honest standard in the marketing of food. We feel that the correct way to effect a positive change is not to attack the way it is being done, but to begin to do it right."
Azure delivers to drop points in most of the western states. They currently have routes through Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. That's nearly half the states! (Keep your fingers crossed, East Coast -- they're always expanding...)
If you can't reach a drop point, you can order UPS from their website. I don't know what the shipping fees are like. (See Policies.)
The Drop Point
If you live in one of the above states and wish to start ordering from Azure:
- Call a customer service representative at 541.467.2230 to locate your nearest drop point. They will give you the name and phone number of the drop point coordinator.
- Call the drop point coordinator. Ask if you can join the drop and get the drop point number.
- Use the drop point number to place your order online (you can also order by phone or fax or mail... do people still do this?). Whenever I place an order, my drop number comes up automatically as I'm checking out, so I don't have to remember it. :)
The order deadline is generally seven days prior to the drop day. If your order is below $50, there will be a small order handling fee, otherwise delivery to the drop points is free! Trust me, you'll have a hard time keeping your order under $50 once you discover this place. If you want to start your own drop point, you have to have a minimum order of $550 (can be a combination of people). There are a few dozen people who usually meet at my Pasadena drop point. The truck pulls up, unloads, you grab your stuff and skedaddle. It's a 15-minute affair. It's also a nice way to meet like-minded people.
Things I've Ordered
Azure Standard carries a HUGE variety of products, all high quality and reasonably priced. Much of it comes from their own farm, which is "dedicated to the 'organic principle' of cooperating with nature." They also sell many other brands of natural and organic products. One of the things I love the most is what a great resource they are for expanding food storage. They sell a lot of bulk items! To give you an idea of what's available, I went through my past orders and compiled a list of what I've ordered so far (I make new discoveries every month). This is just a drop in the AS bucket:
- Whole Grains: hard white wheat, hard red wheat, soft white wheat, spelt, kamut, teff, quinoa
- Legumes: small white beans, green lentils
- Nuts: walnuts, cashews, (truly raw) almonds
- Seeds: chia, sunflower, pumpkin
- Sweeteners: rapadura, sucanat, maple syrup, date sugar, sorghum syrup, molasses
- Seasonal Produce: apples, garlic, oranges, leeks, apricots, peaches, onions
- Other Foods: coconut milk, raw cheddar cheese, beef bones, beef liver
- Baking/Cleaning Necessities: baking powder, baking soda, raw apple cider vinegar, 100% beef gelatin, arrowroot powder, nutritional yeast, coconut oil (I usually order this from Tropical Traditions), Redmond Real Salt, kelp powder, peppercorns, ground cinnamon, unbleached parchment paper, Charlie's Soap
- Supplements: fenugreek, Rainbow Light prenatals, potassium iodide
- Essential Oils: lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, bergamot, cinnamon, clove bud
- Other: organic strawberry starts, Desert Essence shampoo and conditioner (red raspberry), 5-gallon buckets, gamma lids, clamp-on lids
Now, you're not guaranteed to get everything you order each month (they don't charge your card until they load the truck). Though I have received complete orders before, I generally get everything except maybe one or two items. So I just try for them again the next month.
If you've ordered from Azure, I'd be very curious to know what you've found. Or -- if you know of another company like this, please share!
- If you want to browse prices on the website, you have to register first (free). Their prices don't show up in google searches or anything. I bet you that when you see them, you'll be hooked.
- The only Emails I get from Azure are my monthly order confirmations. Yippee!!
- I have been very happy with the fresh produce. (The truck has a refrigeration unit for anything that might require it.)
- While writing this post, I discovered the Links page on their website, which lists the many suppliers they deal with outside their own farm. Below that is another list called "Health-related Sites," which I drooled over for a few minutes.
I am touched that there are people out there, like the ones who run Azure, committed to helping others access good products at such fair prices. I whole-heartedly recommend this company!