Yesterday I received my first delivery from From the Farmer DC. What’s that you say? The organization describes itself as “a weekly farm-to-consumer delivery company with an emphasis on fresh, high quality, local produce and an added dedication to connecting farmers with their consumers.” I’ve always wanted to participate in the recently booming CSA (community supported agriculture) trend. Also known as “subscription farming” with a CSA you essentially sign up for weekly deliveries of produce from a farm of your choosing for the whole season. Without knowing what you’ll get each week there’s an element of surprise as well as knowing that everything in your basket is fresh, seasonal and local. A little wary of signing up for a full season of deliveries without testing out the goods first, I was thrilled when a Gilt City coupon popped up providing 4 weeks of single bushel deliveries with bread from “From the Farmer” at half off.
After reading various food related books (Omnivore’s Dilemma, Tomatoland, The Dirty Life) I’m pretty much ready to get into farming myself and growing everything that I need, but thankfully with From the Farmer around I don’t have to (just yet). The way the process works is that on your designated delivery day an insulated basket with a coldpack is delivered right to your doorstep between the hours of 4 and 7am. They currently deliver to the DC/MD/N. VA area and hopefully will keep expanding their zone. Their goal is to have the fruits and veggies picked and in your hands within 48 hours – a welcome change from the grocery store produce which could have been traveling for a full week before sitting around on the shelves. There are 3 ordering options; the half bushel for $35 a week, single bushel for $45 (feeds 1-2), or the double bushel for $55 (feeds 3-5) and for an extra $10 they throw in some artisanal bread. They currently work with 2 farms, Garner’s Produce (in Warsaw, VA) and Emily’s Produce (in Cambridge, MD) and it would be interesting to find out how they split up the weekly assortment.
Now on to what I actually received this week!
In the basket I found:
- 3 tomatoes
- 2 cucumbers
- 3 summer squash
- 2 flower squash
- 3 white eggplants
- bunch of rainbow chard
- bag of green and white beans
- basket of blueberries
- basket of blackberries
- loaf of artisan sour dough bread
A wide variety of vegetables and two types of berries, the basket was brimming with different colors, textures, shapes and sizes. No disappointments at first glance. I used to visit my grandmother in Russia every summer including trips to the country house where she grew both fruits and vegetables, so I know what real food should look like. Strawberries should not be the size of your palm nor do they need to be void of minor flaws or imperfections. Tomatoes do not need to be perfectly round nor cucumbers perfectly symmetrical. It is true that with natural growing methods the blueberries are smaller and the cucumbers are slightly bumpy, but I’ll take that over tasteless genetically modified lab grown produce any day.
I haven’t sampled everything in the basket yet, but of the things I’ve tried they have exceeded expectations. The berries burst with the right balance of tart and sweet in your mouth, while the cucumbers have the right crunch.
For dinner last night I wanted to prepare the rainbow chard – something I’ve never cooked with before.
A quick search on Foodgawker led me to Fuss Free Cooking’s Quinoa and Rainbow Chard with a Sunny Side Up Egg. A sunny side up egg with dinner? Intriguing. Another first for me. Though not a big fan of the gooeyness and runny yolks in sunny side ups eggs for breakfast I had a feeling it would work with the quinoa. Oh and it did.
Garlicky quinoa with crispy rainbow chard, smooth mushrooms and creamy eggs turns out to be a winning combination. A simple, vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free meal.
Not going to lie, I fully enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast this morning. It works at all hours of the day.
I look forward to the other recipes I’ll create with the remaining contents of my From the Farmer delivery.
Want to support the local economy and decrease your carbon footprint? If you’re in the DC area be sure to look into From the Farmer DC.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 7 cloves of garlic, chopped, divided
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- a bunch of rainbow chard, 10-12 stalks, washed, ends trimmed off and sliced
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces baby bella or portabella mushrooms, sliced
- 4 eggs
- salt, pepper to taste
- Over medium heat, heat ½ tablespoon oil in a small pot. Add half the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add quinoa and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add broth to quinoa, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
- In a pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and cook remaining garlic with red pepper flakes for 1 minutes.
- Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add a litte more oil if needed. Add rainbow chard ends and cook for a couple minutes then add remaining rainbow chard leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a separate skillet over medium heat heat drizzle of olive oil or cooking spray. Crack 4 eggs in the skillet and cook for a few minutes.
- Mix quinoa with mushroom, rainbow chard mix. Serve topped with a sunny side up egg.