Goodies: A CSA of Junk Food Sent Right to Your Doorstep

I know that "CSA" is the wrong term for what I received on my doorstep the other day. But, for the life of me, I'm not sure what else to call it. Maybe the name of the program -- Goodies -- says it all.

I've been on the waiting list for Goodies to begin delivering in the Miami area for a few months and almost forgot I had signed up with my credit card, so I was surprised when I received the cheery blue-and-white parcel.

I opened the box, which was wrapped like a gift, and looked inside.

An assortment of products rested on brown paper. Some were trial size, some were full size. There was a coupon for guacamole. Immediately, I tried to figure out a theme of the box. My eyes searched for a common denominator. I spotted a jar of Bronco Bob's roasted raspberry chipotle sauce, black bean chips, pumpkin seeds, and a coupon for a package of Wholly guacamole and thought, fiesta box!

But then I spotted the full-size container of Zico coconut water, Moroccan mint tea, and (even more confusing) two packages of Sour Power candy straws.

What the hell did I get, anyway?

According to Goodies' parent, Walmart, a host of products are sampled in a "tasting lab," with only the "wow-factor snacks" making it into the monthly "Taster's box."

Basically, Goodies is an invitation-only club. (It took me several months to get my "invitation.") Once a member, you're auto-shipped a Goodies box monthly for $7 (including shipping), with the assumption that you'll be enticed enough to buy more of the products. The Goodies website conveniently sells full-size products of everything in your Taster's box and offers free shipping.

How did the products fare? The black bean chips and roasted raspberry chipotle sauce were used right away and were decent enough for me to say I'd look for them again (but wouldn't special-order them). The two small packages of California Olive Ranch olive oil came in handy, and the pumpkin seeds disappeared during a chat on the phone. The Moroccan mint tea was delicious last evening after I got soaked in the rain while walking a pair of reluctant Chihuahuas, and I will absolutely use the $1 coupon to purchase a box at the market. Maybe I'll sneak the candy straws into the movies this weekend. I haven't yet redeemed my coupon for the guac, but I will.

Is the Goodies box worth it? I run a lot of marathons, and participants usually get some sort of a swag bag at race check-in. Filled with protein bars, nuts, and some sports drinks, they're a great way for a company to test new products on a targeted market. Goodies is more like the old I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy throws all her bills into the air and pays only the ones that land face-up. The products in the box and the people receiving the box are both random.

But sometimes, as in the case of the Numi Organic Moroccan Mint tea that I would buy again, products fall face-up. I suppose that makes Goodies worth it for both supplier and consumer. Besides, who doesn't like finding a box of goodies on their doorstep?

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss