A couple of years ago, I reviewed Green BEAN Delivery, a company that sells bins of produce, most of which is organic, a lot of which is local, and delivers your bin right to your door (check out the review here).
I’ve been a customer since that review. Every other week, Green BEAN brings a small bin of fruits and vegetables to my apartment. I can customize what comes in my bin, so if I’m not feeling like Brussels sprouts, I can sub a butternut squash. You can also add grocery items such as locally sourced milk, meat and dry goods. The small bins feed my husband and I pretty well and run us $35 for each bin.
If you’re interested in trying Green BEAN (especially with the closing of Grasshopper’s Distribution fresh on our minds), the lovely folks at the company have offered a discount to new or reactivating customers who read this blog — that means you guys.
Use the code “15AEml” for $15 off your first order when you visit Green BEAN’s website and sign up for a membership (don’t worry, you can cancel if you don’t like it). But hurry — the code expires next Friday, Dec. 27.
Visit Green BEAN’s FAQ page for information about this service and how it works.
This vegetable never looked appetizing to me. Maybe because it looked eerily similar to a brain. Or maybe it was how hard the florets were. Either way, I managed to avoid cauliflower until it stared up at me from my green produce bin.
A co-worker passed along some links to encourage me to explore cauliflower. I decided to roast the head of cauliflower with some fingerling potatoes that also came that week. I used a recipe for roasted root vegetables from The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook. I tossed the vegetables and an onion with a mixture of olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic, dumped everything on a rimmed baking sheet, and roasted at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes.
Roasting the cauliflower softened the florets and gave the edges a little crispiness, or, as we say in my house, it put some stank on it. The fragrant thyme brought married the potatoes and cauliflower nicely. This side dish has entered the regular rotation of Ashlee Eats HQ.
I grew up eating mixed greens from a can. I had never seen greens in their pure form, when they look just like, well, greens. My Twitter buddies advised that kale greens hold up well in soups, so I threw half of my week’s bunch into a navy bean soup recipe from The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook. The greens bulked up the soup and transformed it from a side dish to a main course. Kale was indeed slower to wilt and wither in the hot soup than other leafy greens, and it froze well, too.
With the other half of the bunch, I made this quick and easy salad. As I said on Pinterest, this was an easy way to eat some veggies without pulling out a pot.
I never understood how something that starts like this:
Can end up like this:
I learned that it’s actually pretty easy to do this transformation. I peeled the butternut squash I had received and cut it in half lengthwise. I scooped out the seeds, then rubbed both halves in olive oil. I sprinkled the squash with some sea salt and roasted it in the oven at about 400 degrees until it was tender. The squash was savory and hearty. The pile of orange cubes also brightened up my plate at every meal.
I’m eager to discover more new fruits and vegetables. Have any suggestions on what to try next?
(Blogger’s note: For one week, Green BEAN Delivery is offering Ashlee Eats readers 50 percent off the price of a produce bin for new and reactivating customers. Just type in ACLapc in the promo code area. The deal doesn’t include grocery add-ins.)
I keep my life goals realistic. So realistic, in fact, that I don’t even call them “goals.”
I have “Middle-Class Dreams.”
My top Middle-Class Dream? To be the weekly recipient of a CSA bin.
A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
Sounds nice, right? But the price point of the CSAs I have come in contact with have kept me from signing up. So I was thrilled when Green BEAN Delivery contacted me to review their program because of my appreciation of CSA and similar programs and my love of free stuff.
Green BEAN (not a CSA, buy similar) serves Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio participants with bins of (mostly) organic produce, much of which is from local farms, and natural food. It’s easy to get started with the program. You pick which size bin you would like to receive (ranging from a $35 small bin to a $49 large bin) and the frequency you would like to receive your bin. You can also select certain natural food brands to add to your bin.
For my review, I signed up for the small produce bin that the Green BEAN website said is “perfect for 2-3 people.” The picture at the top of the page is everything that came in the bin, and here’s the list:
2 heads of broccoli
1 bunch of carrots
1 red onion
24 oz. klamath pearl potatoes
1 lb. green beans (the only non-organic item)
4 bosc pears
4 gala apples
3 navel oranges
1 head of bibb lettuce
The produce comes in an insulated bin complete with a cold pack, so everything arrived looking fresh out of the farmer’s market. Just opening the lid was like walking down the first aisle of the supermarket.
As soon as I washed and stored all the food, I peeled right into one of the deep-orange tangerines. It was juicy and tangy, a nice preview for the rest of the produce I would eat.
I spent the next week experimenting with all fresh food that packed the shelves of my fridge. Much like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get in the CSA bin each week, so a little research and flexibility are key.
After a call to my mom, I threw the green beans in a slow cooker with some bacon, onion, salt and pepper for a delicious side dish:
I also referred to my favorite cookbook and a recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens to create this dish of herb-roasted root vegetables that used the potatoes, carrots, red onion and a few sweet potatoes already in my house:
My husband and I ate the rest of the items in the bin straight out of the refrigerator in salads or just by themselves. Each piece of fruit or hunk of vegetable tasted better than the previous. Everything was fresh and fragrant, crisp and cool. Not a brown spot in the bunch.
The small bin is a great size for an adult couple and could last two weeks if you supplement your produce with other groceries. I also ate more fruits and vegetables during my time with the bin because I couldn’t escape all of the produce in my face.
The small $35 bin received on a bi-weekly basis is an expense I’m willing to work into my family’s grocery budget in exchange for healthier, fresher, more seasonal eating. There is enough variety and surprise in your selection to keep things interesting. I could easily seeing myself getting the majority of my produce from Green BEAN and The Root Cellar, another excellent resource for local, seasonal food.
The only thing left of my Green BEAN bin is the broccoli, and I don’t want my glimpse at achieving a Middle-Class Dream fade to black.
The turkey is sitting heavy in my belly, as is sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing and other goodness straight from my mother’s oven.
While I wait for the tryptophan to take its hold, there are a few people I’d like to thank for being amazing, thoughtful and kind to me as I’ve developed the Ashlee Eats blog.
My boyfriend, Rob. He loves food as much as I do. He puts up with me writing notes during dinner dates. Simply, he’s an amazing person.
My roommates, Susie and Samantha. They join me on $10 Challenges and share a love of Snuggies and Glee. And did I mention that they’ve taken up baking … from scratch? Take a gander at Sam’s homemade apple pie:
Mama Eats. See above. My mother knows her way around a kitchen.
My dog, Roscoe. He’s always willing to sample my dishes, even if I don’t want him to.
Waiters and waitresses. I’ve met so many servers who are patient while I study the menu and offer good advice on what I should order.
Michelle from the Consuming Louisville blog. She barely knew me before offering to publish my $10 Challenges on her blog. What a big heart.
Josie from the blog Yum Yucky. She was the first blogger whom I ever reached out to for advice. She was so helpful, and her blog is great.
All the readers. You guys are awesome. Thanks for reading, subscribing and commenting.