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Monday, August 2, 2010

A Boston Organics Challenge

I want to recommend—and generally celebrate—a great local business, which is also one of my favorite food sources: Boston Organics  This wonderful company works hard to source organic produce from an array of farms throughout the year, using as much locally grown produce as they can, and then...get this...they deliver the produce to your door!  Click here to see if you're in their delivery area.
All you have to do is sign up online or by phone -617.242.1700-, and every week (or every other week: your choice) the green plastic crate magically appears, full of ripe and carefully chosen organic veg.  Yes, it's safe, yes it's affordable—probably less than you'd pay Whole Foods for the same amount and quality of food—and yes, Virginia, apparently there is an organic Santa Claus. 
I've been a subscriber since December, 2008; I signed up for the so-called 'Dogma Box', a $29 crate of produce sourced as close to Boston as possible, and containing at least eight different items in each delivery.  Given the geographic constraints—pickings can be quite slim in New England in the wintertime—you aren't allowed to register preferences for the Dogma Box, or to place any foods on a 'no list' as you can with the other Boston Organics plans.  You find out at the beginning of the week what your box is going to contain, and that's that.  It's been an adventure, and mostly, for me, it's a lot of fun.  I've discovered new favorites, like celery root and garlic scapes, figured out novel ways to use beets, sweet potatoes and winter squash (think latkes, risotto, etc.), tangled with bitter greens with varying degrees of success, and become terminally bored with Jerusalem artichokes.  This experience offers a way to think outside my usual repertoire; it also gives me an inkling of what it was like in the days before refrigeration and long-haul trucking, when people in this region lived largely on root crops all winter long.  Yes, I do sometimes buy organic lettuce and other produce from the supermarket during the winter—I'm not a saint or an ascetic.  But still...those first weeks in early May when green things begin arriving in my crate again are indescribably wonderful after the long drought!
Right now, in midsummer, all sorts of great items show up in each delivery.  I thought it would be fun to use what's coming this Wednesday as an inspiration, to create an unconventional summer menu for the week ahead.  I'll have my recipes and menu plan in the upcoming posts.

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