Fresh Parsnip: Vegan, Healthy Delivery

Fresh Parsnip is a so called "Eierlegende Wollmilchsau": it's a healthy, vegan and gluten-free delivery service that sources its produce right from a next door farming project. We tested the cooking alternative. Edit 2016: Fresh Parsnip have somewhat changed their programs and offers, so check out their website for up-to-date news.
13 Nov ’15 by Sara Food, Making Berlin

Delivery-food is rarely an option for me. It’s rarely actually healthy, usually soggy and full of tastemakers and calories. Especially when you’re on a (more or less) strict diet, then it’s just ridiculously hard to stay on track without the luxury of timeFresh Parsnip are trying to cater to people like me, which is why I happily accepted their offer of reviewing their services.

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Local, Healthy, Low-Cal Delivery Food

Fresh Parsnip is a healthy, vegan, gluten-free delivery service. It’s scheduled, so you can’t spontaneously order, but you could order lunch for yourself or for the whole office a night ahead, or you can use a very stressed out phase to order a weeks worth of full-day prepped meals. Most of the greens and the foods come from an urban farming project right next to the HQ of Fresh Parsnip. There is no restaurant or café attached: it’s delivery only, and it’s super fresh. A full day’s meal is also always between 1200 and 1500 calories, which means it is perfect for people who are trying to lose weight (although it is not perfect for people who want to build muscle or for men who are trying to simply get by). For me, it was perfect: my current diet is on a (more or less) strict 1200 that I could never keep if I didn’t cook for myself.

I was also intrigued by the product from a cultural perspective, as Fresh Parsnip is a very good and vivid example of how the technological possibilities are influencing our physical mobilities and infrastructures, making delivery food more scalable and profitable than ever before; but also because they’re so exemplary of the on-going food hype in Berlin, and how most of us are trying to identify through the developing food scene. I wrote about Fresh Parsnip in that context already for Daily Bread Mag while Modest Department made a killer video of the production-and-delivery process, but unfortunately, the text is German only (for now).

The Fresh Parsnip Food

For three consecutive days, Tandiss and I tested Fresh Parsnip’s full day package delivery. Every morning, a sweet person would ring my doorbell and leave two bags with all of the days meals in there. Every day, we were excited to see what’s next on the menu.

I’m not a vegan. I’m not even vegetarian. I love meat and my mom’s ghost would come to haunt me if I ever stopped being a carnivore. But I am fascinated by the vegan lifestyle specifically. I try to document my protein-intake regardless of what I eat, and I’m curious as to how people on such a restriction manage to get by.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t an ultimate breakdown of all the macro-ingredients (carbs, fats, proteins) or even calories, so I had to drink a protein-shake every day just to be on the safe side.

The food itself was delicious. I definitely loved the desserts, but the quinoa salad and the rutabagas soup were outstanding as well – and adequate for a light lunch. Every day, we had a different smoothie as snack, too. There was a distinct, fresh flavor to the ingredients that even philistine mud-eaters like me can recognize. I didn’t really “need” to have any of the salads, though, I thought they weren’t enough for a snack but also too much to accompany a full meal, so there’s that. Dinners were also varied enough to be exciting, although you could also get a hint of the limits to delivery food.

Breakfast was on the sweet side. I love eggs on bread in the mornings, and Tandiss usually eats porridge, so she was happy. It was incredibly well made, though, so I can’t complain. That said: sometimes you’d feel really full from the meals, and on other days I felt like I could easily eat a whole pizza to go with the program. I don’t know if that was my individual hunger or if it’s really a little imbalanced, but I thought it was really easy to point out whether you had 1200 or 1500 kcal after a full day.

The food comes in plastic and paper, and that’s my only real issue. Most of the delivery programs don’t have this problem under control yet, but Fresh Parsnip is conceived with long-term schedules for people (up to 6 weeks!) in mind. I think you could easily substitute some of the packaging for regulars with tupperware, thus cutting down on the resulting piles of trash.

Fresh Parsnip: Program & Pricing

There are different products you can order via Fresh Parsnip: lunch for your office (4 pax minimum), the smoothie detox program or the daily schedule. There are also catering and event services, but obviously, I didn’t test those.

The basic daily schedule runs from a minimum of five days up to six weeks and costs 209,- for one week (5 days); it gets a little less when you order more. You can choose the time of arrival and order ahead, including breaks in the schedule. There is no weekend service.

I find that a little bit pricey, personally: it’s about 40 Euro per day for food.

At the same time I know many, many people who spend way more than that on worse food, and occasionally I’m included. So for a very stressful phase, this can be a lifesaver. Not only do you already have your meal ready in the fridge, just waiting to be heated up (if at all), but also you don’t have to leave the office or think about another annoying decision to make in regards of pricing and food and health and logistics. And yeah, vegans and those who’re not keen on gluten will love Fresh Parsnip for obvious reasons.

You won’t be hungry (as a small and average-sized woman!) after a full day, but my feeling was that you also won’t be full. I go to the gym every 2nd day, though, so I completely understand that I might be the exception.

The Verdict

Tandiss and I both believe that the price is absolutely justified in terms of food quality, taste and convenience if you spend that much money on food regularly anyway. Fresh Parsnip easily beats scrambling snacks from cafés and mediocre lunch places on Oranienplatz. I am actually a little bit shocked that it’s not more expensive to prepare and deliver food for a full day, which is probably only possible because the ingredients are locally sourced.

Still, I personally wouldn’t do this on a regular basis, because I like my own food (and meat) too much to completely depend on someone else’s cooking. But I can definitely see the attraction for people who can’t cook and want to eat more consciously, for vegans who want a decent lunch during office times, and for people like me who have stressful phases and don’t want to give up their dieting schedule or compromise on their restrictions.

There is an incredible offer for 3 days that costs 100 Euro to test the product, which I think is well worth it if you want to try the service. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed testing Fresh Parsnip and we hope the company grows to become a real killer for Berlins food scene. Among all other Berlin delivery options, their product is actually unique and almost ideal from any perspective. Fresh Parsnip is not ideal for everyone, though (hungry men and people who don’t like plastic will probably have some things to complain about), so keep that in mind when you decide to finally eat healthy with one click.

Fresh Parsnip

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