Friday, November 14, 2008

The weekly produce box: Finito

We are through, my organic produce box and I. For the first time in nearly three years, I will not be picking up my weekly box this Friday afternoon. It's not that we are giving up vegetables. We love our vegetables, but I have some issues with my box.

1. My box has a policy that if you want to cancel a Friday box, you need to let the farm know the previous Friday. Which just seems a little early for me. A few weeks ago we were going out of town and I realized I had forgotten to cancel our box. I emailed first thing on Monday asking if I could cancel that Friday's box. "No! Sorry! That's our policy!" they chirped back at me. WTF? They neither pick the produce nor pack the boxes on Monday. Do they need to change how much they are growing for that week?? No, I think they are just being inflexible and unreasonable. So I told them I am aware that is their policy but their policy really does not work for me. I said I hoped it would not be too late to cancel my subscription altogether.

2. I have on occassion been less than thrilled with the quality of some of the produce. Would you pick out plums that looked like this?

Or basil that was this bug eaten?

I didn't think so.  The plums actually tasted alright, and the basil was fine in pesto, and I am aware that organic produce is not all about looking pretty. But still. And I've received moldy strawberries. 

3. I live nearby one of the most amazing produce markets ever where I can buy reasonably priced organic produce that looks pretty. It is sometimes fairly ripe, but that's ok because I tend to shop like a French housewife: one meal or so at a time; in other words, quite often. 

Look at some of the pretty stuff I got the other day:

And given the quantity contained in a typical box (I love it when they give me two zucchinis), I have to go here anyway. 

4. I simply cannot bear the thought of another winter of all those greens. Don't get me wrong: I like greens, and we eat plenty, but in the middle of last winter, there were times when there was hardly anything in my box except greens. It was just too much. And I have decided that I am a big girl: I will buy greens when I want greens. 

But I will miss my box. All those greens did encourage me to develop some pretty good ways to deal with them. Greens cooked in a coconut curry sauce over rice will remain one of our favorites. Our box also introduced us to some produce that I might not have bought. We now love Tokyo turnips, and they'll be on our winter shopping list forever. And the box caused me to fall in love with rose geranium. A large plant now grows in my yard and finds its way into ice water, quince preserves, and other concoctions. 

So long, box. It's been nice.


adozeneggs said...

I'm glad you posted this because I was thinking of joining a CSA in our area. But I usually make a menu for the week and do my shopping at the farmer's market and the regular grocery store once a week. Wish I could go daily, the nearest super market is 30 minutes away. I'm thinking I wont join the CSA and just buy what I need/want, when I need it.

Skinner said...

Made me chuckle. Thanks!

Purple Flowers said...

I smiled when you mentioned a "french housewife" because years ago my Mother shopped that way. She would go to the bakery for loaves of Italian & French breads, Father & son homemade sausage store, the butcher, where the German lady always gave my brother and I a handful of wrapped chocolates. And even back then, there was a farmers' market. Sadly, all of the stores listed above have gone out of business, except the farmer' market. She still asks one of us to buy her produce every few days, not having forgotten what is fresh and good to eat (she's 87).

Sabina said...

oh don't do it...CSA's need us. just try a different one. we can put our subscription on hold if we notify them 2 days before they pack boxes...i'm such a fan of ours, i could never live without my riverdog.

sara said...

I love what you got from the local market! Beautiful picture!

Rachella said...

I'm glad you did that! That's the greatest power you have as a consumer. If you don't like a company policy - don't buy their products.

Kat said...

I recently read another article very similar to this.

KSK said...

wow, the basil looks like lace. I don't blame you for punting the box!

Ginny said...

I've been enjoying your blog for a sometime and while I have never commented so many of your posts sound like me. I too belong to a veggie pod and have gotten some awful looking stuff. For the sake of supporting some organic farmer, I end up forcing myself to eat bruised fruit or soft berries because I don't want to throw it out. Although I have been exposed to some great new veggies, it isn't always worth it. Maybe I'll get the nerve to give it up too.