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Although you may be unfamiliar with the name Azure Standard, it had its start in the early 1970s in a little town called Dufur, Oregon.
Years ago, founder and CEO David Stelzer and his family decided to stop using pesticides and herbicides on their farm’s commercial crops, garden, and orchard.
For several planting seasons, the soil, which had become dependent on chemicals, only produced meager harvests. However, after removing pesticides and focusing on producing nongmo food, the soil became more healthy and fertile.
The Stelzer family became healthier as a result of eating organic products and started selling nongmo food to other families. Thus, the Azure Market began to take shape.
Over the years, the demand for their organic products became so high, the family needed to find other ways to deliver the additional produce that was requested – items they didn’t grow on their own farm. So, in 1987, Azure Standard was formed.
What Types Of Food Does Azure Standard Sell?
The main goal of Azure Standard is to make affordable, healthy, natural food available to everyone. To support that goal, Azure farms produce the majority of the health food they sell.
The farms grow grains, beans, fresh produce, fruits, berries as well as garden seeds and plant starts for gardens.
In addition to produce, they also raise cattle, chickens, and lambs.
Organic Food: Is It Really Worth It?
Organic foods are vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, and dairy that are grown naturally, without chemicals, and are not processed or refined. Although people know that organic is “better for you”, many often say that nongmo food is so much more expensive than “regular food,” that it just isn’t worth it.
However, the USDA indicates that organic food only costs between 10 and 30 percent more than conventional food. There are so many advantages to organic food, that additional cost pales in comparison.
The Advantages Of Eating Organic Health Food
First, whole foods are healthier to eat because it has not come into contact with any pesticides and herbicides that can be harmful. Organic food is also preservative-free.
This makes organic food safer to eat, since the use of chemicals and pesticides have been related to leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, immune disorders, cancer, and other diseases. In the long term, you may save money by not having to deal with the aftereffects of contaminated food.
Second, organic food tastes better than non-organic food. Many non-organic foods contain additives which change the taste and sometimes have an impact on the nutritional value. Organic foods don’t have additives so they taste more natural.
Third, organic foods contain higher levels of antioxidants than non-organic food. In recent years, we have learned that antioxidants are molecules that fight compounds in the body that can be harmful if their levels are too high. So, eating foods that are high in antioxidants reduces the risk of conditions like heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Fourth, organic farms protect the environment. Rather than chemical fertilizers, the farmers fertilize using manure and nitrogen-full plants. Not using chemical fertilizers helps keep the water supply clean, as no chemicals leach into nearby bodies of water.
Finally, when you purchase local products, you support local farmers. “Buying local” helps keep farms in business and creates jobs, which supports your community’s economy.
Azure Standard Products
Azure Standard has grown significantly from its first deliveries of organic grain in the 1980s. Today, they sell wellness products (like herbs, nutritional supplements, and essential oils), health and beauty items, personal care products, clothing, laundry supplies, garden products, pet food, paper products, kitchen supplies, and more.
Their biggest category of products, by far, is natural food. Azure Standard also sells frozen food (like frozen vegetables, frozen dinner entrees, and ice cream), meat of all kinds, and refrigerated foods (like cheese, eggs, butter, and milk) – all healthy, natural, and organic.
In addition, they also have a great selection of gluten free items that we order to combat my wife’s Celiac Disease.
Bulk foods (like flour, pasta, cereal, nuts, sweeteners, and more) are also in Azure Standard’s repertoire, as are conventional groceries (canned foods, beverages, snacks, and boxed meals). They have also added special diet foods to the mix for people who prefer gluten-free and non-GMO products.
How Much Does Azure Standard Cost?
There is no fee to join the Azure Standard service. There is a $50 minimum cost on each individual order and the total order of a drop site, which will be discussed below, must be $550.
When you visit the Azure Standard website to place an order, be sure to check out the Sales area and the Clearance area under the Shop tab at the top of the page. In those areas, you can find products that are 50 to 75 percent lower than the same organic products in your local grocery store.
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Azure Standard Uses “Drops” To Get You Your Orders
Azure Standard is located in Dufur, Oregon, but you do not have to live there to be able to take advantage of their service. You can have their food delivered to you!
To get started, first create an account on the Azure Standard website. Then, you need to join a delivery drop near you.
So, What’s The Catch?
To be able to fill the many orders that they receive, Azure Standard uses a co-op in order to buy in bulk. A co-op is a food distribution source that typically offers healthy, nutritious, organic foods, along with foods that support a special diet (like paleo or gluten-free).
Co-ops are owned by their members; members pay a flat rate for membership, along with dues. The co-op members make all of the decisions, including what foods and products they would like to sell.
How Co-Ops Can Save You Money
In general, members of food co-ops are committed to community development, social awareness, and obtaining organic, high-quality foods and products to sell.
Positives Of A Co-Op
For example, in most co-ops, you do not have to be a member to shop there. Members usually have benefits that are not available to non-members, but anyone can shop there.
Consistent access to healthy, organic produce is the main advantage of shopping with a co-op. Members usually work with local suppliers, so the produce is fresh and crisp.
Because local farms and agricultural businesses are the suppliers, costs are much lower than the same products in budget supermarkets that have products shipped from all over the world.
Negatives Of A Co-Op
Although co-ops have advantages, there are also some challenges. There is not usually the same variety of products that you would find in a typical grocery store. Additionally, a few household products – like laundry detergent and cleaning products – are not available in bulk.
Depending on the location of the co-op and its suppliers, there may be challenges in obtaining high-quality, fresh produce at certain times of the year.
For instance, it may be difficult to find fresh tomatoes or seasonal tropical fruit in January. You may need to go to your regular supermarket for produce that has traveled from warmer areas.
Finally, the local co-op may be less convenient than a regular supermarket in terms of hours. Many mega-supermarkets stay open 24 hours a day and co-ops tend to have a more limited schedule.
Delivery drops are locations where the Azure Standard trucks regularly deliver orders. Azure Standard delivers to more than 3,000 drop locations across the United States, so there is likely one near you. Check out their website and search for the nearest drop site here.
Azure Standard has drops and truck routes in most areas of the United States. In fact, Azure Standard delivers to Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific through different barge lines!
Unfortunately, the one area that does not have a drop site is the Northeastern U.S.
If you do not have a drop near you, no worries! Azure Standard offers home delivery for an additional shipping and handling fee. Another option would be to become a drop coordinator yourself.
Drop coordinators are responsible for choosing a drop location on an established route, ensuring that each individual customer order meets the minimum order of $50 and the total order for the drop is at least $550.
Drop coordinators are responsible for communicating with their members when the delivery day and time will be.
Rumor Control: Is Azure Standard Going Out Of Business?
A rumor circulated some time ago that Azure Standard would be going out of business. In Oregon, individual landowners – even those that own thousands of acres as Azure Farms does – are required to control the spread of harmful or unpleasant weeds on their property.
The county government found that they were in violation of this ordinance and gave the farm 30 days to submit a plan for destroying and controlling the weeds.
Azure Farms refused to use herbicides, as they are a certified organic farm, and they refused to submit a management plan. Eventually, they did submit a weed control plan and began to work with the county government to resolve the issue.
So, Azure Standard is alive and well.
Azure Standard Challenges: Customer Service
Azure Standard has experienced some challenges, but they are no different from the challenges experienced by one’s local food co-op. One challenge is the inconsistent availability of products. Since orders can be placed 30-60 days ahead of shipping, some products could go out of stock before someone’s order is filled and shipped.
Another challenge – and a welcome one for most businesses – is that Azure Standard has experienced significant growth. Due to this, they have had difficulty keeping up with on-the-spot customer service. However, many members report that they have had good experiences with the follow-up by customer service representatives in response to an email or phone call.
Why Azure Standard May Be Perfect For Your Family
With the busy lives that we all have, Azure Standard may be the perfect service to help you obtain high-quality organic food for your family. For some people, particularly those who live in rural areas, it is very difficult to find healthy food nearby.
Azure Standard eliminates that problem with its convenient drop sites.
Azure also ensures that everything they sell meets their high product standards with clean ingredients. Providing nutrient-dense foods that are grown in healthy soil at affordable prices to anyone who wants it is the main goal of Azure Standard.
They also are proud to support small, local farmers and suppliers who need an outlet for their healthy products.
Get Started With Azure Standard
If you’re interested in trying out Azure Standard, you only need to order $50 worth of items on your first order. I encourage you to give it a try – buying organic produce doesn’t need cost an arm and a leg every month and Azure Standard is there to meet your needs.