For two summers in a row now we have shared a fresh produce pack with some friends. Every week we get a banana box full of seasonal vegetables, fruit, eggs and bread from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) called Dave's Produce Packs. We split it between us, since full box would definitely be too much for our household of 2. The cost of the box ranges from $40 to $50 a week, which we split. It has been so great to have local, organic produce in our fridge all season. I usually only buy a few extras from the grocery store - meat and dairy products and treats, etc. to supplement our summer diet. I recommend finding a CSA near you and getting in on the local food action! There are more and more farmers who are selling directly to the customer rather than trying to go through grocery stores. It's cheaper for them and gets us, the consumer, in touch with the hands that make our food.
Next spring we hope to plant our own garden (in our new backyard!) so we may forgo the produce pack next year, but we have thoroughly enjoyed it these past two summers.
We get weekly emails telling us what seasonal produce to expect that week, including pictures of the farm and the crops, and what extras we can order such as boxes of blueberries or organic meats from partnering farms.
As the seasons change, so do the meals we create with our weekly pack! It has been interesting to discover new ingredients such as garlic scapes and kale, which encourage creativity in meal planning. I've discovered the fabulous taste of fresh garlic! It turns out the garlic we get in stores is dried and I find it has quite a different taste.
Here is an example of what we received in a recent produce pack:
Zucchini or cucumbers
Tomatoes or Eggplant
Red Free Apples
Free Run Eggs
Whole wheat and honey bread
Throughout the summer we have received so many different types of vegetables and fruits - all types of berries, lettuces and herbs, as well as swiss chard, radishes, beets, cabbage, broccoli, kale (LOTS of kale) and even purple potatoes! There is always some funky stuff, like these different types of tomatoes:
As more and more people become aware of how far most of our food travels to get to our table, for example strawberries come from California and avocados from Mexico, the desire for locally grown food is growing. It tastes better since it has been allowed to ripen, and usually contains fewer chemicals (since it doesn't have to survive a cross-continental road trip). Not to mention that when we buy produce from halfway around the world our money is going to huge food corporations instead of to NB farmers :) If you go to the Kingston Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, or to the occasional Queen Square Farmer's Market, you will see crowds of people deciding that local is best.
If you are interested in receiving a produce pack, here is Dave's contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on other CSAs, here is a great website if you are looking for local food providers in New Brunswick.