I feel as if I have been a little negative about my weekly box of produce. So I aim to make up for it by listing all of the benefits of the box:
1. It is relatively quite cheap. We pay $36 a week for a very big box that is filled to the rim with fruits and vegetables. That is ridiculously less than I was paying for produce at the farmers' market, and much much less than I would pay for a comparable amount of produce at the grocery store.
2. I am also saving money in general on my food budget. I am basing so many meals on the vegetables in the box, that I don't need to buy much to go with them. There are, of course, things I need to buy at the grocery store, but not as much as there used to be. I even anticipate that this will increase as I find more ways to use the veggies and fruits. For example, I make myself a protein shake every morning for breakfast. Until now, I made it with frozen fruit that I bought at Costco. Lately I have been replacing some of the frozen fruit with kiwis and carrot puree. It is just as delicious, and it is stretching my frozen fruit out longer, by using things that come included in my box. I also used the carrot puree in the gingerbread. Of course that only saved 1/3 cup of oil. Not much. But, added up over time, it may help.
3. Of course, those are only financial reasons to buy the box. More importantly, the adults in this house are eating far more vegetables than we used to, and the kids are eating a little bit more. My dinner plate is now 3/4 vegetable matter, and 1/4 other. When I consider the two more willing kids, I have to count a huge success. They are eating much more vegetables. Like I have said, I didn't always serve a veggie with dinner before. These days, there are 2 or 3 different vegetables on their plates every day. Plus, snacks have switched over from granola bars or crackers to fruit more often than not these days as well. Even the reluctant eater is eating something. It may be a tiny portion, but it is more than it was before.
4. We are eating a far greater variety of fruits and vegetables than we used to. I never in my adult life bought kale, brussels sprouts, red cabbage, collard greens, daikon radish, turnips, parsnips, bok choy, or beets. Chances are, I would have gone my whole life without buying them, too. In the last four months, my family and I have eaten all of those things. And for the most part, I have truly enjoyed them. One night, I looked down at my plate and I noticed the sauteed red cabbage, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, cabbage, and spinach. They say you should eat a rainbow, and there it was: orange, white, green and purple. I've never managed to do that before!
5. I am having fun cooking, most of the time. Although the sheer number of new things, and the great volumes in which they come to me are very overwhelming, I am really having fun cooking them. I am looking up new recipes, listening to cooking shows on the radio, tearing pages from magazines, paying attention to cooking blogs and recipe websites. I have followed many many new recipes in the past four months. A couple were awful. A few have been okay, but I doubt that I would follow them again. Some were saved on my computer and are sure to make frequent appearances in my house. Importantly, though, it is fun to try new recipes. It is certainly taking the banality out of my meal prep.
6. Some of this stuff just isn't available to me otherwise. As I walked through the produce department of two different grocery stores the other day, I noticed that there really isn't that much variety there. Some of the things I have eaten lately just aren't in grocery stores. I saw no turnips, no parsnips, no collard greens. It is fun to become aware of how much variety is really out there!
7. The quality is just amazing! The food comes to us very very fresh, ripe, and delicious. Plus, all of the farms it comes from are certified organic. So, I know there are no pesticides on any of it.
8. It is also good for the environment. It all comes from local farms. It hasn't used up tons of fuel traveling from the other side of the world. It hasn't ruined the balance of nature with pesticides. This is the closest thing I can find to growing it all myself.
9. It supports small farms and the families that own them. It seems a shame that we mainly eat from factory farms, and we eat such a small variety of things from them. I am happy to help contribute to a small family business any time I can.