Eat Well and Be Well with Azure in 2017!

Note: As always, there are no affiliate links. Why? I don't like them.

2017, wow! Another great year to eat good, clean food and Azure can help you!

I am still working on getting a new drop started in Southern Middle Tennessee. Meanwhile, I have some things to share about Azure.

Buying from Azure was much easier in San Diego as the drop was right in front of our house! It made it easy to be there for drop members who couldn't meet the truck, it was easy for drop members to jump on and off the freeway to pick up orders, and folks could loop in other errands with picking up an Azure order. But, still it took effort, capital EFFORT to order from Azure! Now that we are in rural Tennessee, I want to be sure to set up a drop that is as easy as possible for folks in our community, so I'm still working on it!

Getting started with Azure: First, get the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry coordinated with an Azure route and drop (Find an Azure Drop). Browse the Azure website or paper catalog. When I started with Azure I read the entire product catalog just to familiarize myself with all the offerings! Start making a list of items that Azure carries that you ordinarily like and use, then coordinate your budget, quantities, meal planning, and pantry stocking. Also consider a back up plan if an item doesn't ship or keeping sufficient quantities on hand so that you can simply try to order the item again next time. Second, if you are not part of a drop with splits (members splitting cases for even better prices), you might need to shift your meal planning and such a bit. It's good to have a plan for a case of grapefruit before you pick it up! 

So, if you are wondering how to work Azure into your life. If you are unsure of how to take the leap and order from Azure, here are a few tips on getting started with Azure:

  1. Check Azure First. Any time you run out or low on an item, shop the Azure website. Compare the prices to what you would typically pay in the store. Do you need it right now? If you don't need it right now, add it to your cart and push your patience button. If you do need it right now and maybe you have to run to the store, consider how often you need the item. Can you order it now and save a trip next time? Is Azure's price terrific and you are bummed that you can't wait? Add it to your favorites list so you will remember next time!
  2. Stock the Pantry & Meal Planning. Do you dream of half-gallon jars filled with all sorts of beans and grains? Do you have dry goods that got lost and now there are weevils, pantry moths, or other pests? Listen to How to Prevent Pantry Pests to stop those buggers before they ruin your pantry!  Shop the Azure website and try and new bean or grain or other dry good. Maybe start with only a small 1# bag. Go ahead and look for recipes to use the beans or grains before your order arrives so that you are all set! Having a meal plan before the order arrives can help you not just stash that new wonderful bean in the cabinet only to forget until next year. Tip: I recommend a regular pantry clean out and rotate session. I pull out all the little bits of this and that and put it all on the counter to work into meals ASAP. I check for pantry pests. I know there are plenty of cute jars but beware that not all jars, bottles, and containers keep the pests at bay. I cannot recommend proper storage highly enough! If I had a dollar for each time someone told me "yeah, yeah" and later reported "eekk", I would buy a Gamma vittles vault! Again, listen to How to Prevent Pantry Pests for more on this topic!
  3. Food Preservation & Maximize Purchases. One way to leverage Azure to your advantage is to buy and preserve. For example, five pounds of dry beans can be pressure canned and become 18 pints of beans on your pantry shelf ready to use! Set aside a Saturday morning for this magical project. Buy beans, nuts, seeds, and grains to sprout on the counter! Hydrate! Grow more food! A couple tablespoons of seeds grows into a nutritious and wonderful addition to your sandwich or salad. Maximize the season, buy apples by the case then you can make apple sauce, apple butter, dehydrated apples, apple pie filling, and use all the scraps and make apple cider vinegar. Then you can use the vinegar to make fire cider. Winning.

As you get in the swing with Azure, you might find that you are shopping with much more intention, you are planning meals, you are working in a bit of food preservation, you are running around less, and you have more time to enjoy wonderful good, whole food!

Awesome Items

Azure prints six sales magazine annually and for each magazine I select a few things that I think are awesome and on sale.

  • COFFEE! Azure has added coffee to their offerings! Laird Superfood Coffee
  • Yes, you can buy cheese from Azure. And yes, wild cultures and cheese can be lovely but if you are looking for start cheese making or kefir, or yogurt learning with reliable cultures can make you a happy experimenter! Cultures for Health
  • Kick those smoothies and tonic up a notch with hemp, barley juice powder, or cacao powder. Earth Circle Organics.
  • If You Care's products are a decent step in the right direction if you skip the plastic bits. Foil, parchment paper, unbleached cheesecloth, unbleached coffee filters, and so on that can make life a bit easier. Yes, we use foil and reuse it! Here's an idea, mark the package with the month and year that you open it and make it last as long as possible! We use one roll of foil every 2.5 years. Honestly, I'm okay with that!

Peace.


What is Azure Standard?

Azure is a supplier of natural, organic, and earth-friendly foods and products. Along with distributing products that you might see on the shelves at a natural food store, they also distribute food grown on Azure's 4,000 acre farm in Dufur, Oregon. Yay!

What can you order?

Organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains and flours, nutritional supplements, gluten-free products, herbs and spices, dried fruit, health and body products, chicken feed, goat feed: over 12,000 products and foods!  

Why do folks bother to order from Azure?

Yes, it's true, Azure isn't for everyone. You can only order once every four weeks and you have to go pick up your orders. If you live in Portland, Oregon, Azure delivers every week! 

So, why bother?  Saves trips around town. Product availability. Prices.  Eliminates or reduces impulse purchasing. Easier to manage a food budget. Order one pound or 50 pounds. Minimize packaging. Transparent supply chain. Save shipping cost of heavy items. Terrific customer service.

How do I order?

Set-up an account at www.azurestandard.com.  There is no cost to sign up and no membership fees to order. $50 minimum order is all that is required. A small handling fee may apply to orders less than $50. Keep in mind that inventory isn’t allocated to your order until it is packed for shipping and inventory levels change frequently. 

How can I get even better prices?

You can join the Azure Advantage Membership Program. Keep in mind that Azure doesn't require membership to order. But, the Advantage Membership Program offers bonuses for what I like to call Azure Fans! The fee is $180/year which seems super steep. Which I totally get! Hey, Costco is only $55/year. But, here's the special deal: You will receive six boxes annually stuffed with organic goodies for you to try! You will receive even deeper discounts on foods and products! You'll be getting the best deals when you order by the case or in bulk. We are talking discounts up to 30%! These are discounts that are only offered to Advantage Members!

Okay, interesting, I get some boxes if I become an Advantage Member. But, what's in the box?

March 2017 – Azure Vendor Samples
May 2017 – Organic Ancient Grain Variety

Each of these boxes has a retail value of at least $30 and will ship with your regular order in the month listed.

What's a drop? What's the drop number? 

A drop is a designated stop for the delivery of Azure orders. Our drop number is 797041. Omit the "D" that you see on the drop map when entering the drop number manually.


When do I order?

Order cutoffs are approximately every 4 weeks (Route Q2).

When do I get my order?

  • Azure emails a delivery schedule two days after the order cutoff. You will not receive any other delivery update unless there is a delay.
  • Delivery day: Orders are typically delivered the week following the order cutoff on Wednesday.
  • Delivery time: Orders are typically received between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. 

How do I get my order?

  • Meet the truck at the delivery location at the time of delivery. We generally wait a bit after the delivery for folks to grab orders. What does this mean in real life? We will be expecting you at the delivery location. If you are running late, you must let us know ASAP. And keep in mind we are not able to wait for an extended time after the truck has departed as we must get stored orders into the fridge or freezer!
  • Pick up your order at the drop coordinator's house within 3 days. What does this mean in real life? You'll need to let us know when you place your order that you'll need storage. You'll need to coordinate a pick up with us, drive about 10 minutes north of Pulaski, TN, and grab your order. We will store your dry, frozen, or refrigerated items for at least 3 days. Keep this additional storage time in mind when ordering perishable items.
  • Ask about a delivery option. We understand that schedules, transportation, and so forth don't align all the time. 

I placed my order, now what?

We'll be in touch with you to welcome you to the drop. Azure will email the delivery schedule after the order ships. You'll receive a text (or phone) reminder on delivery day. Please see the Member Rules below.

I have more questions, who can I ask?

You can contact us or contact Azure directly:  info@azurestandard.com or 971-200-8350.

Carbon Footprint Note

Azure delivers via 18-wheeler trucks serving routes all over the United States. Azure also back hauls, in other words empty trailers do not arrive at the Azure warehouse (yay!) instead the trailers haul products to the Azure warehouse to then be distributed to you! Plus, one trip to pick up your Azure order might save you dozens of trips over the hill and around the bend.

Southern Middle Tennessee Community Drop Member Rules:

  • All members must agree to receive text, email, or phone updates regarding delivery. We need to be able to contact you regarding your order! We value your privacy so your contact information will never be shared.
  • All orders must be picked up as agreed. We will provide alternative pick-up options when there are delivery delays. We will do our best to make it easy. 
  • It is your responsibility to let us know how you'll be getting your order. Why? Because it's considerate. We strive to help all our members have access to Azure! We want it to be easy for folks, but you've gotta help us, help you! So, to that end, you agree to meet the truck, request storage, or coordinate delivery. 
    • Meet the truck. You agree to meet the truck within an hour of the delivery at the delivery location. 
    • Storage and pick up within 72 hours. You request storage at the drop coordinator's house for up to three days. You agree to request this option in advance and pick up your order at the drop's storage/pick-up location. 
    • Delivery. Ask about delivery. If we work out a delivery option for you, you agree to be either available to accept the delivery or provide a safe place for us to leave your order. 
  • If you do not pick up or accept delivery of your order as arranged and agreed three times, we will no longer be able to accommodate your member status with our drop.