Fall is here! And with it here in Providence, RI comes the Farm Fresh Fall Veggie Box. It’s a bi-weekly food delivery of a big box of fresh veggies from farmers around southern New England. $25 for each box, and it’s enough to feed you for two weeks, if you throw in some of your own grains and things. I enjoy the challenge of creating dishes with everything in the box.
This last box contained Butternut squash, 6 ears of corn, an array of small spicy peppers, radishes, apples, potatoes, tomatoes, and some other greens (if my memory serves me correctly). The first dish I made was a hearty stew that will serve as this weeks’ lunch. It has a base of lentils, corn, carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes. For the spices, I put in garam masala, salt, black pepper, chopped spicy peppers, olive oil, cinnamon, apple and a few raisons. I forgot to measure things, but it came out delicious!
The Veggie Box isn’t completely plastic free – they wrap some small things like peppers in plastic wrap or plastic bags. I could write them and request that my box just not have any of the plastic wrapped goods in it ( or just put them in a paper bag ).
I tried talking with farmer’s at our weekend market at Lippitt Park here in Providence about using plastic to wrap some of their greens, and their answer was, “how else do we package things like arugula?” I didn’t have an answer ready, but now I know that you could have a big bin of arugula, and just dish out paper bags full of it, or fill a customer’s container with it after you weigh it. If there’s a will, there’s a way. And if more consumers ask for plastic free veggies, then I’m sure it’ll reach the vendors’ ears.
Farm shares and markets have a big chance to influence thinking and behavior about how we eat, re-use and recycle our food and food waste. Those organizations are reaching those of us who are closest to the earth, and thus have the most to gain or lose from it’s health. What ideas could we start promoting at farmer’s markets and through food shares related to environmentalism? Any small gains we could do this Fall? What about bigger plans that may take a year to implement?
I’m curious to hear how your market / CSA has taken steps to reduce, reuse and recycle, and what you have in store for the future. Remember the power of one, and try asking a vendor for a plastic-free package the next time you’re out shopping. I bet your request sticks with them, and they’ll mull it over for a few days. Who knows, next time you see them, they might have some fancy new non-plastic packaging!