News from The Veggie Bin: January 12, 2012

What’s in the bin this week?

Top row left to right: Brussels sprouts, green kale, baby bok choy, watermelon radish

Bottom row left to right: Blood oranges, green onions, strawberries, lemon, carrots, green leaf lettuce

(green text indicates organic produce)

Organic Bin: includes all organic items above plus Sunburst tangerines and blueberries

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.

The New Good Ol’ Days

For most of us the very definition of nostalgia includes the family-run corner grocery store. Far from today’s slick supermarket, these stores had giant jars of red pickled eggs on the counter manned by a WWII vet who asked how our “Mom & Them” were doing as he rang up an RC Cola (in a glass bottle!) and maybe a MoonPie if we had an extra quarter in our pocket.

These stores had fresh seasonal veggies and fruits grown by local farmers. They may have closed long ago, but we’re striving to bring you a slice of the personal service, attention to detail and neighborhood spirit that we felt back then. We know you have many options when it comes to your food supply, it’s going to be folks like you that save the local farmer.

In the last census, “farmer” was no longer listed as an occupation. We want to change that but the choices can seem overwhelming and confusing. It is vital that we continue to use our dollars to send the message that we care about local, sustainable practices – not just feel-good green-washing, labeling lies and profiteering conglomerates. What the Veggie Bin does is simple – we visit local farms, pick up produce in season, assemble your bin and deliver it to your door. We don’t own a giant warehouse, a restaurant or a fleet of semi-trucks. We’re just local folks passionate about local food.

We might not deliver pickled eggs, but you can bet that we care about where your food came from, how it was grown and how your Mom & Them are getting on. We believe preserving the one-on-one connections between you, us and the farmers we partner with is vital to maintaining the kind of society we want to live in. Thank you for sharing these new “good ol’ days” with The Veggie Bin.

This week’s Veggie Unearthed: Brussels Sprouts

Your Brussels Sprouts came to us directly from County Line Farm just as you see in the photo above. You’ll find this statuesque beauty along with your bin AND you’ll find their greens still attached. This is a rare treat that is new to us too! You can see how to prepare those greens by clicking here.

Storage & Prep:

We know that Brussels sprouts get a bad rap. We’re asking you to give them another chance. When fresh and properly prepared they are just as yummy as any other green!

Brussels sprouts keep best if they stay attached to the stalk. Our drop-off point customers have theirs cut in half to fit the bin, but either way, you’ll want to keep them whole until you’re ready to serve them. Wrap them loosely in plastic and place them in your fridge. They should keep for at least two days, but as with most greens, we suggest using them as soon as possible for best results.

Here’s a helpful video about prepping your Brussels Sprouts.

Exclusive Recipe:

This week’s recipe comes to us from our own Veggie Bin member, Shannon Russell.

Smoked Applewood Bacon and Cider Brussels Sprouts

From Shannon, who had once been dubbed “Russell Sprout” by a gym teacher: “The tragedy has been the misfortune of our (insert family member here) boiling and overcooking those adorable little bundles of baby cabbages to their unfortunate and most certain deaths. And if that doesn’t sell it, there’s bacon in there. ENJOY!”

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels Sprouts, halved
  • 1/4 lb good smoked applewood bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
  • Kosher salt (1/2 tsp, or to taste)
  • Freshly cracked pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup real apple cider (You may also substitute the cider with chicken broth. Try adding in some fresh thyme and toasted pine nuts as well!)
  • 1/4 cup Sharp cheddar cheese (grated) (You can also experiment with a fancy, hard cheese, like Mimolette.)
  • Optional: Whole cloves or other mulling spices (for adding to cider)

Directions:

  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, then add the bacon and garlic. Saute until crispy and beginning to brown. Remove the garlic and crisped bacon from saute pan into a separate dish to the side. Leave bacon grease in saute pan.
  2. While the bacon and garlic are cooking, cut your cleaned and dried Brussels sprouts in half with a pairing knife, discarding any yellowed leaves.
  3. Add the halved Brussels Sprouts to the saute pan and incorporate with the small amount of bacon grease that remains. Continue to cook over medium heat, periodically rotating the Brussels Sprouts in the pan with a spatula to ensure even cooking and color. Continue for 5-10 minutes, until the color of the Brussels Sprouts have brightened and begin to take on a little golden color.
  4. To the saute pan of Brussels Sprouts, add the cup of apple cider. (Optional: You may add in a few whole cloves or other mulling spices here. Remove them at end of cooking). Continue to cook the Brussels Sprouts over medium-high heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until the cider has reduced and the Brussels Sprouts are tender. Add salt to taste.
  5. At the last moment, incorporate the bacon and garlic with the Brussels Sprouts into a serving dish so that the bacon remains crispy and adds texture to the Brussels Sprouts. Add some freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  6. Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese as a garnish to add a little color and a little contrasting flavor with the sweetness of the cider. Serve.

Thank you Shannon!


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.

Simple Kale Chips

Roasted Baby Bok Choy

Green Leaf Lettuce, Pomegranate & Almond Salad

Blood Orange, Beet & Fennel Salad

Buttered Watermelon Radish & Carrot Saute
(they use white carrots for this, but your carrots will suit just fine)

Strawberry & Blood Orange Smoothie

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

Earn Veggie Bucks by referring folks in January!

Our goal is to add 30 members in January and we’re already well on our way with 15 new members joining us in the past two weeks. As a special thank you for helping us reach that goal, you’ll earn $15 in Veggie Bin bucks for every new customer you send our way in the  month of January – up to five! That means you could earn up to $75 in Veggie Bucks to use for any of our delicious add-on products. (May we suggest the delectable French Pantry bread?)

Remember that we deliver to any business or group in our delivery area, so you could earn those Veggie Bucks with just one group sign-up! Best of all, you’ll be sharing the healthiest way to kick off a new year. Thanks again for being a part of the Veggie Bin!

Why local? Why organic?

It seems that every day the agricultural and medical communities are changing their minds about what is safe. Deep down, we know what is best for our bodies. Humans are animals and the plants we eat grow naturally here on Earth. Because we are smart animals, we’ve invented a lot of ways to “fix” the problems we have cultivating those plants. Many of those inventions help us feed the world, but all too often, those inventions work to make us sick.

Right now, a fungicide called methyl iodide is being debated in the state of California. Unfortunately, it has already been recently shown to have contaminated the water here in Florida. Chances are you’ll hear about this in the news and we want to assure you that the strawberries in your bin this week are organic and have never been treated with this fungicide. We know the news can be scary, but we think your berries shouldn’t be.

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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