Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fresh Seasonal, Local and Organic Farm Produce

Where do you shop for Organic produce? Trader Joe's? Whole Foods? Vons? While these all carry organic produce, these fruits and veggies sometimes come from other countries, where the regulations around pesticides and toxins are different. Getting these produce also means that they had to travel, which means that they were picked before being ripe, and that a lot of gas was used to drive these foods into your plate.

All that to say, buying local means that you are being better to the environment, supporting local farmers, and eating foods that actually give your body what it needs for the season. You can buy local at your Farmer's Market, which is a great option, but not always a practical one if you have little kids in tow or your schedule doesn't match the Market's schedule.

We have been using the services of some of the local farms, who for a fee, either deliver a box of produce to your house, or have you pick it up at a certain location. It is an economical way of getting authentic organic, local food, and also eating things that you might not otherwise pick up.

For those of you living in LA, here are a couple of options:

 South Central Farmers:
This organization offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes. Each box is the same size, big enough to feed a family of four for a week (and we usually have leftovers!), but they ask you to pay the price you think is fair for your income, starting at $20, to $40 or more. This is the biggest box of produce I have ever gotten. 

- In terms of frequency, you can sign up for one time, monthly or seasonal subscription. I usually keep it to one time, and order a box whenever I want to supplement what I bought from the other services or from the market.

- You can choose the location where you will pick up your box. Each location has a specific delivery day.

- You get an email a few days before you need to sign up for your box, telling you what will be in the box, and giving you a few links for recipes

- I find that I usually get a lot of leafy greens from that box, and sometimes items that I do not use or like, such as 15 chilies or a huge watermelon, which won't even be open in our house until the next box comes, which contains another huge watermelon. However, if you are watching your budget and can't usually afford organic produce, this is DEFINITELY worth it and the best deal in town.

Farm Fresh To You
I love this service, because they deliver right on my door step and I have a lot of options to choose from. 

- First, you can choose between the home or office delivery options. 

- If you'd like to turn your office into a healthy environment, you can order a box of fruit and nuts in snack packs, in mini, small, medium or larges sizes ranging in prize from $45 to $110. 

- If you choose the home delivery option, you have a choice of mixed fruit and veggie, veggie only, fruit only, and easy to prepare services (no cooking required). Within those options, you can choose the size of your box (small, regular, more, monster, valley box, more valley box). For a mixed box, which is what we get, prices range from $25 to $44.  We usually get the regular size for 31.50, every other week, and it lasts us for about 5 days.

- Though you don't know ahead of time what you will get in your box, you have the option, when you sign up for the service, to opt out of certain produce. So for example, if you don't like mustard greens or eggplant, you can cross that out, and they will make sure to never ever put that in your box. 

- With each box delivered to your house, you get a sheet with two recipes, using the ingredients that are in the box.

- You can choose the frequency at which you receive the box, and you can cancel at any time.

Equitable Roots:
This service contracts with schools and healthy living communities. They require a minimum of 30 weekly subscribers, and they give back $4 per box to the organization. Each box is $21 and contains a mix of fruits and veggies. It usually lasts us about 4-5 days. We get an email a few days before, telling us what's in the box, with a couple of recipes. This is a great way to raise money for your school or your organization while eating healthy!

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