December 4, 2013

I Love My Box.

I love my box: it arrives once a week, full of fresh, organic fruits and veggies.

It inspires fun and creativity in the kitchen. It introduced me to the pluot, which is a hybrid of a plum and an apricot. (Yum!)

Prior to our weekly farm box delivery, my husband and I purchased our organic fruits and veggies from Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Then he mentioned this thing he’d heard about from someone at work—a delivery service that brings organic fruits and veggies fresh off the farm to your doorstep!

Naturally, I was interested, and we looked into it.

The particular service he’d heard about is called Farm Fresh to You. This is from the “how it works” page on their website:

“Farming organically since 1976, we grow more than 130 varieties on our farm in northern and southern California for delivery to your home or office. In order to ensure you have an abundant variety of local and seasonal produce in your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box, we create several service options and partner with other trusted organic farms to bring the season’s best fruits and veggies conveniently to you.”

Awesome, right? Locally grown, in-season, organic produce from nearby farms delivered directly to the comfort of your home.

We signed up, excited to try it out. We decided to go for the weekly delivery, although there’s a bi-weekly option and even an every few weeks option.

You can choose the size of your box (small, medium or large) to ensure you are getting the amount you need, not too much or too little. You can even choose if you want an all fruit, all veggie, or mixed produce delivery. Check online to see what will be included in your upcoming delivery, so you can plan ahead and get any additional supplementary cooking items you’ll need from the grocery store.

Hate brussel sprouts? Just tick the form online that says you don’t want them.

This way if there’s a particular fruit or veggie you don’t like, you won’t receive it. There’s actually quite a handful of veggies my hub doesn’t care for, so I expected him to go down the line checking the do not send list for mushrooms, zucchini, cabbage etc.

He surprised me when he said, “Let’s not check anything and see what we get. This might be a good opportunity to try new veggies and give another chance to stuff I haven’t loved in the past.”


Ok, cool. So that’s what we did.

We started this past summer, so we received peaches, plums, juicy grapes and delicious heirloom tomatoes. The hub tends to be a little finicky about tomatoes (he likes them, but not too much all at once), but we made bruschetta and margarita pizzas with them and it was all scrum-diddily-umptious. Oh, and you also get a newsletter with info about the produce you are receiving, as well as a couple recipes for those items. The pluots came with a recipe for sangria, fun!

When a box arrived containing zucchini, I wondered what we would do with them (remember, the hub doesn’t dig ‘em typically).

“I’m sure there’s something we can make that doesn’t make me eat big chunks of zucchini,” he mused.

Suddenly the answer was before us: zucchini bread!

We had a good time baking it together. I’ve never been a fan of cooking, but luckily I married someone who enjoys it! I’ve actually come a long way in the kitchen thanks to him. Cooking together has become a fun activity we can share, and I am a boss at picking and choosing different spices to add. The zucchini bread came out so bomb!

We shredded the zucchini for the dough and baked it with sharp cheddar cheese (anti-biotic free of course), cilantro and jalapeno. Nom. Our son loved it too; he even asked if we could serve some at his upcoming birthday party, so we did!

The boxes kept coming, and I discovered my family doesn’t care for figs, so marked to not receive them anymore, but only after giving them a try.

As we’ve transitioned into the fall and winter season, we’ve had boxes arriving with leeks, fennel and butternut squash. How do you cook a leek? And I thought fennel was a spice, what is this giant bulb thing? Oh, that’s the fennel? Ok Google, help me out here—how does one cook leeks and fennel?

Thank goodness for the internet!

I found a couple recipes using leeks and fennel that sounded interesting, but we hadn’t gotten around to any yet, so the leeks and fennel sat waiting in the fridge, along with the butternut squash.  I knew my husband was especially apprehensive about the squash, but my mind kept floating back to this recipe I had seen in October.  

We had received a butternut squash last week and another this week, so those two butternuts were sitting in my kitchen just waiting to be consumed.

On Black Friday, I woke up to a beautiful gray, rainy day. I scrapped my plan of getting my car’s oil changed, and decided to stay home all day, cozy and listening to the rain. The kiddo was at grandma’s and the hub was at work. I was feeling frisky and decided to get creative in the kitchen. Those butternuts were calling to me! The leeks and fennel were still in the fridge too, on the verge of going wilty.

It was time to get busy. I used the butternut-apple soup recipe as a starting point.

I had the two squash, but no onions (other than scallions). Hmm, what would my husband do? He would get creative and make it his own!

Well, I had four leeks—those are alliums like onions! I also had fennel, and it had a bulb! That totally works, right? I only had two  apples, but I also had two pears, so they all went into the mix. Pears are sweet like apples, so they’ll be fine. I put Pandora on Supersuckers radio, and fell into a cookin’ groove in the kitchen, all by myself!

I never cook alone! Not like this. I mean I can make myself a Boca burger, sure. But I was making a big vat of soup! With lots of fruit and veggies, and lots of chopping!

I decided to throw in red bell peppers, leftover from yesterday’s veggie platter.

Mmm, yes, the flavor of the red pepper will contrast nicely with the sweetness of the squash and fruit. I was having so much fun! Per the recipe’s suggestion, I added in curry powder.

Next, I threw in a couple of the kiddos apple juice boxes and paused. Something was missing.

Beer of course!

My husband and I love cooking with beer, so I poked through the fridge and pulled out an IPA. Into the pot it went. The brewing concoction smelled lovely. I saved the feathery bits of the fennel to use as a garnish when serving the soup. The afore mentioned scallion was also chopped to be used as garnish.

When the hub got home, he was shocked.

“You made dinner??”

I smiled coyly. Sure did, and I used all the fresh, organic veggies and fruit from our box! It was a yummy batch of butternut squash soup, and even the husband liked it. Keep it coming, Farm Fresh.

Note: I’m in California, but do a Google search for “Organic Produce Delivery” along with the state you reside in, to see what is available to you locally.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

{Photos: Courtesy of author.}

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