News from the Veggie Bin: February 2, 2012

What’s in the bin this week?

Top row left to right: Broccoli, strawberries, green leaf lettuce, Brussels sprouts

Bottom row left to right: Collard greens, rainbow carrots, cilantro, grape tomatoes, mini cucumbers

(green text indicates organic produce)

Organic Bin: includes all organic items above plus organic Klamath potatoes, grape tomatoes, orange peppers and Bosc pears.

Want to learn more about the sourcing of each item?  Here’s a video which walks you through every item in your box this week.

February’s Coffee

If you haven’t tried the delicious add-on coffees from Florida Coffee Roasters, February is a great month to start! If you buy two bags you’ll get $2 off a jar of delicious Waldoch honey. This month’s roast is Guatemala Atitlan – a creamy, medium toned coffee. It’s well balanced with hints of caramel and toffee. It makes a great afternoon cup and goes excellently with a little whiskey – if you’re into that sort of thing. We are. Visit our add-on page for ordering information.

Variety is the spice of life!

Even in the temperate environment of North Florida farming can be a challenge. In the past few weeks hard freezes have limited crop availability and will continue to impact the variety of produce on the market in February. Most produce businesses have the “advantage” of ordering from distant farms not impacted by weather conditions, but The Veggie Bin is dedicated to standing by our local farmers all year long.

We’ll continue to search out the best possible produce from farms right here in our community rather than shipping from the far reaches of the continent. This month we are introducing produce from a new (to us!) community farmer and searching out new local providers in the interest of keeping the highest quality and variety available to you. We’ll also continue to provide storage, preservation and recipe information which gives you the opportunity to try old favorites in new ways. Winter doesn’t have to mean boredom!

This week’s Veggie Unearthed: Beli Farms Grape Tomatoes & Mini Cucumbers

Your grape tomatoes and mini cucumbers came to us from Beli Farms, less than 80 miles from most of our customers’ homes. Emil Belibasis is originally from Honduras and studied at the University of Florida’s Horticultural Sciences Department. His farm in Wellborn, Florida features hydroponic technology which allows him to provide these beautiful grape tomatoes and miniature cucumbers in February. We’re excited about our partnership with this farm and we look forward to hearing your feedback about these tiny wonders! To learn more about Mr. Belibasis and his farm, please visit the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Feature Farmer website.

This variety of miniature cucumber is referred to as a Persian cucumber by producers because it originates from the “Fertile Crescent” where North Africa meets the Middle East. Though we treat them as a vegetable, they are actually a fruit. Weighing in around a petite two and a half ounces, they are virtually “seedless” (meaning they have very few small seeds) so they require no seed removal for recipe applications. Forget thick, tasteless, steroidal cucumbers with enough grease to wax a bowling alley. The skin on these little guys is so thin that they don’t require peeling, so a quick wash is all they need before jumping into your favorite salad, sandwich or cucumber recipe. Store them unwashed in your crisper drawer for up to a week.

Mini Cucumber Recipes

Minis work in any conventional cucumber recipe but are especially tasty in cheese and spice-based recipes.

As a produce aisle favorite, grape tomatoes don’t need much of an introduction. Beli Farms has provided beautiful, delicious grape tomatoes of a very nice size.  We recommend never refrigerating any tomatoes to preserve their flavor. Store yours at room temperature, lightly wrapped if you prefer. The sooner you use them, the better they will be. Grape tomatoes keep well, but tend to disappear under mysterious circumstances.

Grape Tomato Recipes

These tomatoes will work beautifully in any salad application. If you’re looking for something a little warmer, try one of these cooked grape tomato recipes.

Need Veggie Tech Support? Visit us on Facebook to share recipes and tips with other Veggie Bin customers and ask any questions you might have about the contents of your bin. You can also email us at info@theveggiebin.com.

Recipes for this week’s bin

We want you to get the most out of your Veggie Bin. Utilize every tasty bite with some of these recipes which feature every item you’ll get this week.

Finally, here’s a video for a great resolution-friendly carb-free recipe – Green Leaf Lettuce Fajitas.

Please feel free to share YOUR Veggie Bin creations on our Facebook page!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Please remember that you can re-use your Veggie Bin boxes. Just leave your empty boxes at your door or hand them off to our delivery folks to make yet another contribution to keeping your footprint small.

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