Farm Fresh to You

I enjoy fresh produce - honestly I do, but as I have gotten older I have started to fall into a rut. I buy the same peppers, the same cucumbers, the same lettuce and I'm pretty happy. For several years now, I had heard about CSA programs (community supported agriculture) for a while now but never did anything. Essentially how these programs work is that you sign up for a weekly delivery of produce fresh from the fields and it's a bit of a pot luck special with what you'll actually get. I've just never signed up because I assumed it wouldn't be as great as it sounded. On the other hand, I'm a big fan of the monthly "box" sites. They are great for getting surprises and frankly while some of it isn't useful, it is always fun to experience something that is new and different. That's exactly what I found when I tried our Farm Fresh To You. 

Sure, I got some staples like onions, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, and potatoes ... but the onions weren't the ones I would normally buy and I got exposed to a totally new type of pepper that I'm already creating recipe ideas such as the one below.

shishito peppers

In case you are curious what I did with the Shishito Peppers was turned it into a healthy little snack by tossing them around in a frying pan with some olive oil till there was a bit of char in spots and then tossed them in a bowl with fresh squeezed lemon (that also happened to be in the box!) and a few sprinkles of sea salt.

It's the perfect bar food since it goes great with a margarita and easy to eat since it naturally comes with a handle :) 

types of boxes

One of the things I liked about Farm Fresh To You was that they offered more than just a "standard" box. In fact you can choose from several options or even create your own. Once you make your selection, they will tell you when your neighborhood is scheduled for delivery. It was very easy to select the options and I chose the "Traditional CSA" since it seemed to provide a good selection of different items.

produce box collage

The only hitch I discovered in this is that if you live in an apartment building or another location where you don't want things left by your front door then you will want to make other arrangements such as having it delivered to your work or a friend's house.  The way their delivery works is that the box arrives overnight. Because of this, if you are in a building like mine that is gated they aren't able to deliver unless you give them a key code or buzz them in (which you may not want to do at 3 a.m. :).

Luckily, my friend Bill's condo was accessible and he was gracious enough to have them deliver it there (in exchange for a cut of the bounty of course!). 

produce assortment

Once back at my house, here's the stuff I found in the box (minus 3 of the red peppers).

butter lettuce

Finally, despite the fact that this is not a local company, I was impressed that the produce was extremely high quality and some items (others were not packaged so I can't confirm) came from truly local farms. These are not "regional" farms but ones that are within a 30 minute drive of my house.

While I am sure that the company is presenting itself as an alternative to going to the grocery store (and certainly the quality and convenience merit that positioning), I found the price to be a significantly higher cost compared to what I can find by going to the local farmers markets in San Diego. However, if you value high-quality and are willing to pay for it, this is a great service. Despite that, where I think this really excels is as a gift for any guy who loves to cook. 

Farm Fresh To You is part of the Capay Organic Farm in the Capay Valley - 90 miles northeast of San Francisco that was founded in 1976 as one of the first organic farms on the west coast.