I love Fridays. Yes, I know it’s Sunday today, but I’ve had a busy couple of days and it’s taken me a while to post this. I love Fridays because every Friday around 2pm, a man rings my doorbell and gives me a big box full of fresh veggies. I take it upstairs into my kitchen and immediately unpack it to see what awesome presents I got. This week I got:
– green beans
– sweet potatoes
– brussels sprouts
– red capsicum
– button mushrooms
– and inexplicably, a tin of black bean soup
I’ve tried getting a veggie box before, but it didn’t really work for me – it was a local co-op scheme, which I’m all for, but there wasn’t much variety in the offerings, and transporting a big box of veggies without a car was a little more than my arms (and shoulders, and back) could manage. But I was reading back through the archives at Where’s The Beef, and I was inspired to give to give the box another go. So I hopped over to Green Line Organic to check out their boxes. I figured with free delivery on the first box, it was a pretty risk-free investment, so I jumped in with a $35 box of the week. There was lots of variety, but heaps of fruit. It was amazing fruit, sweet and delicious, but I prefer much veggies to fruit, so I switched to the $40 veggie box for my next order (I might go back to the fruit & veg mix in summer, though). I’ve been getting the veggie box for a just over a month now, and I love it. The $40 box is way too much for me to get through in one week (even with some help from Awesome Housemate and The Socialist), so I now have a really good stock of freezer meals for busy days.
My main reason for wanting to get a veggie box was that it would be a time saver – between a full-time PhD, a part-time job, two blogs, a social life, a relationship, writing, sewing, and everything else that goes into making a life, I was struggling to get regular shopping done, which meant I never had food in the fridge, and ended up eating heaps of take-out. Getting the veggie box means I cook more often and more creatively.
I was worried there wouldn’t be much variety, but there’s heaps. I was worried the whole box would be full of things I don’t like, but that hasn’t been the case at all. There was a fairly solid run of cabbage and celery, neither of which I’ve cooked with much in the past, but it’s been a great creative challenged me to cook things I normally wouldn’t (this okonomiyaki, for example, was an excellent use of cabbage, and I’m planning to make these spring rolls very soon). But I requested a break from cabbage and celery for a bit, and sure enough, there’s none in this week’s box.
Mostly, though, I was concerned about the lack of control – that I couldn’t just decide on a recipe and make it, because I’d have all these other things I’d already bought that I had to use first. But that hasn’t been a problem either – in fact, what it’s done is sent me looking for recipes for things I have, and I’ve discovered all sorts of new things I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. It’s changing the way I cook, eat, plan, and think about the daily work of feeding myself (and a few others). I’m quite fascinated by the management and meaning of eating – what we do, how we do it, why we do it that particular way, what influences us…I can see some food theorising in my academic future, for sure.
I try to follow this advice from Limes & Lycopene on how to use up a veggie box, but I’m not always so good at it – I tend to get more excited about substantial veggies like potatoes and pumpkins and want to cook those up first, leaving the greens til later. It’s not a great strategy given that greens don’t keep as well as potatoes, but I have been super-impressed with how well the produce has held up – a bag of mixed salad leaves has lasted just over a week so far, and I’ve only had to pick out two or three bits that are starting to yellow, I’ve got zucchinis that are two weeks old in the crisper, and they’re still looking perfect – the quality is far superior to supermarket stuff (it’s even better than my local greengrocer), and the flavour is just so good. Whatever the benefits of organic food, environmental, health or otherwise, it’s the flavour that ultimately convinces me.