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G Magazine

Eating ethically might not cost the Earth but it can eat into our time

online groceries

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With increasing evidence that organic fruit and veg is more healthful than the conventionally farmed variety, it's enough to make you stock up on organics the next time you pop down to the supermarket.

But what if the selection of organic fruit and veg on those fluoro-lit shelves is - at best -woeful?

The answer, it seems, is - as just about everything else these days - on the Web.

With the increased uptake of broadband and advances in online security, Australians have embraced the idea of online sales with gusto. We have the third highest number of online shoppers in the world.

And organic produce is no exception. The growing ranks of organic online retailers operating throughout Australia have set up shop in the cyber world to do the hard yards for you - handpicking the finest and freshest seasonal organic produce and delivering it to your door.

Most of the people behind these burgeoning family businesses started out as conscientious consumers, frustrated that there wasn't a one-stop shop for high-quality sustainable food.

"We started looking into where we could buy organics for ourselves around the time when our son started eating solids," says Sarah Butler, co-founder of Melbourne-based organic retailer Organic Angels.

"We couldn't find a company that met our needs." So in mid-2006 Sarah and her husband Scott opened their own online business.

How does the service work?

Each organic provider has their own ordering process, but they all endeavour to provide a quick, convenient and high-quality service.

The primary method of ordering is online; however, many providers allow you to phone, fax or email your order through.

Alternately you can place a standing order, delivered weekly or fortnightly. Naturally this order will be subject to what's in season and shoppers might be asked to substitute items accordingly.

If you're not savvy about what's in season, you can ask the experts to make up a box of their best for you.

Most services offer three options at various price ranges, including boxes containing fruit, veg, or a mix of the two. Sydney- and Melbourne-based business organicfood.com.au, offers three staple boxes: the 'classic', 'eat your greens' and 'fruit fantasy'.

"People love variety and to try different things that maybe they wouldn't buy themselves," says owner Amanda Fraser.

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