One of our first decisions was to keep our grocery box that we get from Full Circle Farm. We had this delivered to our front door when we lived in the Seattle area before purchasing our home, and we initially thought that keeping the box may be too much now that we're in Bremerton (especially since they don't do home deliveries here - yet).
For those of you that haven't heard of Full Circle Farm - here is a quick recap of how it all goes down and why we like it:
- We get a box of fruit and vegetables once every two weeks, for a total of $32 per box. That's about a dollar per day for each of us, which in my opinion is a pretty good deal for our fruit and vegetables when looking at the actual cost of the box.
- The fruit and vegetables are always organic, and some items come from the farm located in the Snoqualmie Valley. Other produce comes from other farms or producers in Washington, while some comes from other states. Check out more information regarding their story and mission here.
- We get an email from Full Circle Farm a few days before we go get our box and the pick-up site (we pick up our box every other Monday, and get our email the Thursday before we pick it up). The email has a recap of new items that are in, grocery specials, recipe ideas, and then you login to the website to see exactly what will be in your box. On the site, you can then swap items out if there is something you don't need, and you can usually also double up on some items as a substitute for others. For those of you that want only food grown in WA, you can swap the items out that come from other states so that you only get fruit and vegetables from farms here in the Northwest.
- You can also add additional non-vegetable or fruit items to your box, such as cheese, milk, eggs, nuts, coffee, meat (chicken, beef, pork, etc.), seafood, chocolate - it's wonderful. Although I usually add items and therefore spend more money on our box than the regular $30, I feel that we also spend less money overall on groceries since we're in the store less frequently. I am a bit of a compulsive shopper - it's hard for me to go shopping at the store when I'm hungry, because whatever I'm craving is put into our shopping cart. This makes it easy for me to only order items that we need for the upcoming two weeks.
- I don't know about you guys, but the idea of finding local meat and eggs seems somewhat daunting in the larger grocery stores. Things have gotten easier in terms of buying organic food, but it's much harder to find local meat products. Buying our meat online at Full Circle Farm helps me feel better about our purchases, and it makes it easy because I don't have to do quite so much label reading and research on what we're eating. All the meat products come from local farms - love it.
- Because we were spoiled and used to get our box dropped off at our front door (so easy!), I was worried the trip to pick up the box would be annoying after taking the ferry and bus home. But, the drive is only about 5 minutes from our home and I'm able to just go in and out - and luckily our pick-up location is open until 7pm, so I have plenty of time to get home and make the trip out without feeling rushed.
- The best part of the box, is opening it up and seeing all those great goodies. There is nothing like having a bounty of fruit and vegetables in your refrigerator, helping inspire you to eat better and cook more often.
Besides getting our box at Full Circle Farm, Kyle and I are making more simple meals on weeknights. We'll make more pasta dishes that we can easily whip together, and then make bigger meals on the weekends.
One idea we haven't tried, but I heard about recently and I'm definitely interested in checking out, is Smith Brothers Farms. It's the same idea as our vegetable box with them doing home deliveries - but it's just milk, eggs, cheese and other dairy products. In this program, you create a standing order that is just regularly delivered to your front door by the milk man. When I heard about this program, I was at a craft fair and got to taste some of the milk - it is so tasty and wonderful! According to the Smith Brother Farms website, it only takes 24-36 hours to get the milk from the farm to you. Now that is fresh! All the milk comes from local Washington cows, and all are free of artificial growth hormones.
Since Kyle and I moved to Bremerton in the fall, I am really looking forward to the Spring and Summer when the Bremerton Farmers Market opens back up. I also look forward to hopefully getting items direct from local farms - I found this Kitsap County Farm List created by Washington State University that I can put to use when I start checking out farms once it warms up a bit. I also look forward to learning more about the Kitsap Community Food Co-Op that is currently in the works.
For any of you currently looking to make a change in the way you eat - I would highly recommend the movie Food, Inc. It's great because it's (in my opinion) a very objective documentary that gives us realistic ways of not only eating better food, but contributing to our local communities and farmers. The movie is available on Netflix, and you can check out the trailer here.
So what about you guys - what are you eating these days? Is there anything you do in the winter months to keep things easy, but still tasty and healthy?