Q1. why are local premium clean vegetables the same price if not more expensive than imported vegetables when I order them online?
Every box of Homegrown Food vegetables is strictly quality-controlled by our team. We monitor every step from the collection and sorting to the packing and pick up process. Additionally, our manager visits the farms twice a week to meet with the farmers to discuss: What is available for harvest each week. We source produce from small farms that have more farmers per square foot. The more farmers per square foot of land, the better the vegetables are because they receive more care. This adds to the cost of the vegetables. In order to provide more customization for our clients we have a full time team in place to manage the inventory, availability and ensure orders are taken and vegetables harvested in real time when orders are received.
Due to their delicate and often fragile contents, the transportation of our boxes needs to be handled with care. The cost of on-the-ground logistics is the same it is for overseas importation.
Additionally, we provide re-usable packaging. While we consider the material we use and avoid Styrofoam and other non-biodegradable material at all costs, we are now deliver vegetables in customized wooden crates and cotton totes. The totes are for our customers to keep and reuse
Q2. Are all your farms certified?
All of our farms are certified in Hong Kong by HKORC, except for one unusual farm that we consider beyond organic. They do not believe in certificates but rather a close relationship with their consumers. This is actually one of our favorite farms because of the methods used to cultivate some of the finest veggies in HK. Our farm in China has USDA ( USDA's National Organic Program NOP – USA) and BCS ( BCS Oko-Garantie Gmbh – Europe and BCS Oko-Garantie – Japan ).
Q3. Why do you avoid the word "organic"?
We feel that over the last 10 years the word organic has lost much of its meaning and prestige. We prefer “premium clean” to refer to local vegetables that are not cultivated with chemicals and are produced by farmers who nurture the land in a sustainable way delivering produce that is full of flavor and nutrition.
Q4. Why do you source from multiple farms?
We source from multiple farms in order to provide a consistent supply of a variety of vegetables. There are many small farmers in Hong Kong, each specializing in their own unique varieties of vegetables.
Q5. Why does the weight of the box fluctuate?
It fluctuates because prices change seasonally and certain vegetables weigh more than others. Every week we try to balance the variety of vegetables in each box to ensure that you receive a good portion of each variety. Sometimes it may seem like you have less vegetables but you may have gotten some heavier varieties like beetroots and potatoes.
Q6. Why don't you include more fruit in your box?
We are working with local farmers to develop orchards but unfortunately over the last decades Hong Kong has lost much of is fruit producing capabilities. As Homegrown foods currently only sources from the region of South China there is limited supply of clean fruits available. However, in order to meet your requests we have started to look further afield in neighboring provinces for a stable supply of high quality premium clean fruit.
Q7. Why do I have to be committed to my vegetables deliveries?
This allows us to work with local farmers and plan production accordingly. It creates stability in the local organic agriculture community.
Q8. What about the soil and water contamination we have heard so much about in Hong Kong and China?
This is also a major concern for us and our families. We do not provide any goods that we ourselves do not eat daily. Additionally all our farms’ produce is tested annually by Enviro Labs for pesticides and heavy metals. If we come across a product that does not meet standards accepted in the US or EU then we do not continue to purchase from this farm. We will re-evaluate this farm after 90 days with further testing. However, we have not come across any farms in our network that have failed our tests.
Q9. What do I do if I am traveling?
Three deferral services are packaged with every 12 week delivery plan. Six deferrals are available with every 24 week delivery plan. To defer your delivery, simply fill out the online deferral form here. There is a minimum deferral period of 7 days for each defferal.
Q10. Can I leave the vegetables at my door if I am not home?
We strongly recommend you to be home to receive your vegetables as we prefer not to leave them unattended and without proper storage. If unfortunately you are unable to do so, please contact us. We are able to deliver the vegetables within a 2-hour time frame to suit our customers’ requirements. The vegetables keep best if kept slightly chilled, especially in the summer.
Q11. How many kilograms of vegetables are in regular and large boxes? How many people and for how long do you expect that to last?
There is on average 4 kg – 4.5 kg of vegetables in each regular box that generally feeds 1-3 people for 3-4 days. This calculation is for reference only, as the amount of vegetables consumed, differs from household to household. This of course also depends on the type of cuisine you cook. Chinese cuisine usually includes more leafy greens and vegetables in the ingredients. A large box has an average of 7.5 kg - 8kg of vegetables that generally feeds 3-5 people for 3-4 days.
Q12. Why don't the vegetables last a whole week?
We strongly recommend that the vegetables are kept for a maximum of 4 days only and the leafy greens should be consumed within the first two days. Our vegetables are not treated with pesticides or preservatives hence their shelf life is much shorter than conventional vegetables.
Q13. Why do your vegetables have bug bits / spotty leaves or are much smaller in size than the ones I'm used to buying?
This is actually evidence that our vegetables are premium and clean, and that we eliminate the use of pesticides. These vegetables are totally natural. Our farmers do not use any chemical fertilizers or hormones therefore the vegetables are their natural size.
Q14. Why do I receive some of the same vegetables week after week?
Every week we evaluate what is freshest and ready for harvest. The seasons generally last about 3 months. Part of eating seasonally is enjoying what’s available at those times every year when they are at their ripest, as Mother Nature intended. All of our vegetables are harvested at their peak ripening period and have the most flavor and nutrition. We will always try to change at least 20% - 30% of your box each week.