Thursday, April 21, 2011

New food feature: My produce box

So for probably about a year now, I've been realllllly interested in co-ops, CSAs and online farmer's markets. I'm not some crazy nut about my food - but I think it's increasingly important to know where your food comes from, what you're eating, how it was raised/made, and supporting local farmers. Mass-produced food only really became a big thing starting in the 60s (thank you, McDonald's) and has changed the way we eat... and not for the better. With the sudden and alarming rise of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. over the years, it's important to be making educated decisions about your food choices (especially if you're in charge of food within your family!)

During the warmer months, Chad and I are really good about going to our local farmer's market to get lots of fresh fruits and veggies. But during the the cooler months (or weeks where we're just too busy), we often end up falling into the rut of liking the convenience of going to a grocery store 5-minutes away.

But that didn't keep me from every couple of months looking at some local CSAs and wanting to try them. I would bring it up to Chad, he'd semi-listen and agree that it was interesting, but never really give me the "Yes! We should do it." that I was hoping for.

Finally, I decided - especially after he made the point that what we eat/cooking/buying food is my domain in the house - that I was done thinking about it and it's time to take action. One of my good friends joined a local "online farmer's market" - Papa Spuds - and I think I had been just as excited as she was every week to hear what goodies she got.

The way it works is you can pay (for the service we're getting) $23/week and with that we get 20 credits to buy fresh, locally/and-or/organically grown produce that is delivered weekly right to our doorstep. Then you choose whatever items you want to buy for your 20 credits - sample list here - from a variety of in-season veggies and fruits, plus meats, cheeses, breads and more... all either local and/or organic. The site gives you the option to filter by category, local-only, local-and-organic, organic-only, pesticide-free, etc.

Yes it might be a tad bit more than what you'd pay for in-store (assuming you'd buy local/organic anyway), but you get the added satisfaction that you are getting to choose exactly which farm your food is coming from and you are supporting local farmers with your purchase!

The reason I think/hope that the bit more in cost will be made up for, is that hopefully it will significantly decrease our trips to the grocery store, and thus purchases of stuff we REALLY don't need. We will eat for lunches and dinners what we have purchased for the week from Papa Spuds (perhaps with a few supplemental things from the grocery store - like pasta if we want to use that, grits, cereal, etc.). Especially now with our little boy coming in the next few months, I am even more determined that I want to know what my child is putting in his mouth - so I will be making my own baby food with produce that I know is organic and pesticide-free.

So why is this exciting for you? Because each Wednesday (I'll get my deliveries on Tuesdays), I'll post a picture of my produce box and let you know what I'm cooking for the week based on my box. During summer months, it will be easier to get produce that I'm used to working with, but - being the adventurous eater I am... and a husband that luckily will eat just about anything once - buying in-season will force me to pick items I'm not necessarily used to and hopefully learn new recipes to share!

If any locals in the Triangle area are interested in hearing more about Papa Spuds, holler at me. If you sign up thru PS using me as your reference, both you and I will get an extra 4 credits!

And for my non-local readers, I encourage you to explore if there are any groups like this close to your home!

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