Eating fresh fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides and produced locally is a goal for many families including mine but it’s also a challenge. We don’t want to spend a fortune or become urban farmers. This summer, my family is one step closer to realizing our goal without having to resort to either of those choices.
Recently, we signed up online for a bi-weekly summer fruit and vegetable basket delivered by an organic farm in the region. The drop-off is at the parking lot of a local grocery store. There’s also a weekly option but we’re neophytes and didn’t want to over-commit. In late May, we collected our first basket from Tourne-Sol Cooperative Farm in Les Cèdres. The farm is part of the équiterre network of farms committed to ecological and equitable farming-practices.
I didn’t know what to expect but I received an email from the farm a few days before delivery telling me what would be in the basket that week. I brought my own bags and optimistically drove the 1 km to the grocery-store parking lot. I spotted the van and once my name was checked-off the list, I began packing my own bags. A sign indicated exactly how much of what vegetable I was entitled to.
The delivery schedule for the summer is emailed to you and you receive either weekly or bi-weekly email reminders of the delivery dates. The cost varies depending on the number of baskets chosen and start at around $340 for 11-weeks. The farm claims this is about 15-20 per cent less than store prices. Time will tell.
The first week I got: A bunch of asparagus, rhubarb, chives, kale, mesclun, bok choy and a basil plant.
I used all the vegetables, even the bok choy, for which I had to Google a recipe. Turns out you can sauté it like spinach. It was delicious and easy. I froze the rhubarb because I wanted to make a strawberry-rhubarb pie and I had no strawberries. I re-potted the basil and it’s on the deck growing well. I’ve used a handful leaves in a recipe already.
This is the first meal I cooked with vegetables from the market; grilled asparagus and sautéed kale with store-bought wild salmon and couscous.
I’ll receive seasonal fruit in the next delivery and I’m hoping it includes strawberries.
So far, the only caveat is that you don’t get to choose your vegetables and you may get stuck with something you don’t eat. You can always barter with other clients or like me, try a new recipe and broaden your horizons!
I’ll post updates throughout the summer.