Fresh organic food in winter

It’s been about a year now that I’ve belonged to an organic food delivery service. I took a break from it for a few months, and we’re back getting our orders twice monthly (or rather, bi-weekly, which isn’t quite the same thing), and I have to say I’m very glad.

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Although I don’t shop with organics specifically in mind, if there is a small price difference between an organic item vs a ‘traditional’ item, I tend to reach for the organic one. I know, partly from my own research, and partly from educational dialogue with my Naturopath doctor, that not all items we consume must necessarily be organic. For example, squashes don’t need to be certified organic. In the case of squash, I go for local (grown nearby, in my own backyard, or at least in my province) rather than, say, imported from Argentina. (Why do we need to import squash from there? We have plenty of squash in Canada). Same with garlic, although non-pesticide garlic is extremely hard to find in Ontario in winter. Garlic grows like weeds….don’t need spraying, and you can eat the shoots that come up and curl.

Garlic_scape

Yet for some reason, the bulk of Ontario garlic is imported from China. Didn’t China recently make the news about their air pollution problem? So why are we eating Chinese garlic? I grow garlic in my backyard and if I don’t keep on top of it, the entire garden would be infested with garlic. That’s how easy garlic can be grown in temperate climates like ours. (freezing cold winters, sizzling hot summers, and everything in between).

There’s another reason why I chose to get a food delivery service: I’m sick and tired of grocery shopping.

There. I said it.

So anyway, I get this box delivered every other Tuesday, and it looks something like this:

organicsbox2

I get the standard, basic box, which means they select what I get. They send a lovely little email, twice before my delivery date, to remind me that I can modify and add items to it (for additional pay). But mostly, for the $37 I spend every other Tuesday, I have been happy with the produce I get. The picture above was a delivery sometime in January I think, but my last two deliveries have had a lot of greens in it (which is what we’re out of constantly), as well as fruit. This is a big fruit eating family, so that’s been helpful. (Organic fruit in February is not cheap so I do tend to purchase my own bulk apples and other fruit that are not organic, and just wash them really well.)

In the past few times, I’ve gotten something interesting that had met thinking of doing my own sprouts. One item was called Organic Live Kale and it was basically kale grown as sprouts.

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You just snip them into your salads, on top of sandwiches, as eatable garnishes….

The live container I got last Tuesday was pea shoots. The idea is ingenious and you can grow them yourself. All you need is a flat container with sides, some sterile earth (or possible even just cotton), seeds, and water.

I really like the box delivery. The service I use is called Front Door Organics, but there are many different ones, and I recommend it for people who love their fresh food. Shopping isn’t eliminated, I still need endless other stuff, constantly, it seems, but it certainly has helped keep us fed well over the dull winter months. And the surprises like the live trays of sprouts has been a great addition to our dinner table.

Sprouts!

Those of us who consider ourselves avid gardeners, we tend to do this crazy thing come January. Instead of just taking down and stashing away the Christmas decorations, and enjoying the newly-found space, we replace them with something else.

Gardening stuff.

For me, this means seeds. I’ve been meaning to sort through my many packages of seeds I’ve been hording, some of which are so old the price tags indicate 49 cents.

Anyway. While occupying the particularly trying toddler with the old seed packs, I came across some sprouting seeds. Mung beans, Broccoli seeds and Alfalfa seeds. And since it’s in the middle of winter and there is hardly an edible plant to be seen anywhere, I showed Sonja how to pour the sprouting seeds into mason jars and cover them with cheesecloth.

She was so happy! Now she’s helping me every day with the rinsing of the jars, and both kids are very interested in watching those seeds split and grow.

Wonder if they’ll eat the sprouts when they’re ready? Stay tuned and find out.