Monday, August 31, 2015

Raising a Foodie: Developing an Appreciation for Fresh, Seasonal Ingredients

SPONSORED POST: This is a paid post. The Road to The Good Life chose to work with Farm Fresh to You because of their commitment to encouraging strong roots for a better food and agriculture system for all. All opinions presented are my own.

My great grandparents were farmers. They churned their own butter. My mom and her siblings and cousins played in their apple orchard. Before Alice Waters pioneered California cuisine, my great grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother all used local, seasonal produce with Mediterranean and asian cooking techniques to nourish their families.

Carrying on their tradition is important to me. But living in an urban environment doesn't make it easy. If I want Gates to grow up with an appreciation for fresh, seasonal ingredients, I need to know what's in season when and I need to plan ahead. If I get too busy, we can miss out for the year (for example, Gaia melon this year). Luckily, Farm Fresh to You makes planning and eating right easy.

Organic, California-grown Fruits from Farm Fresh to You


How do you train your palate?

Eating right can be a challenge with hectic schedules. I want to introduce Gates to a variety of fruits and vegetables and I want to be selecting the freshest produce available. When it's crunch time at work, I don't have time to check to see what's in season in my area or make it out to the neighborhood farmer's market.

With Farm Fresh to You, an organic fruit and vegetable delivery service, I don't have to worry about missing out on apricot season. I simply set up my subscription and my family receives a sampling of what's in season each week. I can then customize future boxes with more of an item we like and less of those we don't like.

Developing An Appreciation for In-Season Ingredients


Three Ways to Develop an Appreciation for Fresh, Seasonal Ingredients

Gates looks forward to the end of the week when our Farm Fresh to You subscription box arrives. Before breakfast and before she heads out to preschool each Friday, she and I sit down and unbox our goodies. We then do these three things before the weekend ends.

Organic, California-grown Fruits from Farm Fresh to You Organic, California-grown Fruits from Farm Fresh to You


1. Handle your ingredients.

Touch them. See them. Smell them. Taste them. Gates and I open our weekly box from Farm Fresh to You together in the kitchen. We line the bounty up on the desk, grouping by type and by color. Then as we put each away, we examine each. If a fruit or vegetable is new to us, I’ll grab one of my reference books and we’ll learn together about the best way to store and consume the produce.

2. Learn about your ingredients.

Discover where they come from. Are they an heirloom varietal not typically found in groceries because fruit production is lower or they bruise more easily so they can’t be shipped? Were they cross-bred over several generations, like pluots, or selectively bred, like some seedless watermelons?

Farm Fresh to You includes a newsletter with each box. Included in the newsletter is history on one of the seasonal ingredients, sample recipes to try, and other educational information.

Organic, California-grown Fruits from Farm Fresh to You Organic, California-grown Fruits from Farm Fresh to You


3. Play with your ingredients.

How you prepare your ingredients changes how they taste. And not everyone prefers ingredients the same way all the time. For example, depending on where you are in the season for Summer Squash you might not want to eat it raw. (At its peak, I love it raw with apples in a slaw. At the beginning and end of its season, I prefer it grilled or sautéed.)

When you get a regular subscription you can be more laid back about being on top of which produce is in season in your area. With Farm to Fresh you can set and forget your subscription or you can to (or remove from) it weekly. I typically see a new fruit in our box and add more of it the coming week so that Gates and I can try a different preparation. For example, the first time we try a fruit, we eat it raw. The next time we try the same fruit, we bake it, sauté it, or steam it. This approach was how we discovered sautéed pluots and mushrooms paired with raw apples were delicious wrapped up with vermicelli noodles in a spring roll.

genuinely eden

Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

DISCLOSURE: While I was paid to write this article, I did not receive a subscription for my review. I currently have a weekly Organic Snack Pack, Mini Box subscription that I have delivered to our home. I frequently add to the basic subscription depending on my family's preferences. All opinions presented are my own.