Monday, August 6, 2012

Green BEAN Delivery: When Life Gives You Lemons. And Zucchini. And Bibb Lettuce.

I love grocery stores, but I have terrible grocery shopping habits. I wait until the situation is dire, when my coffee maker is coasting on fumes, after I've scraped the last bits of almond butter from the jar, to make the trip.

Some people are disciplined grocery shoppers. They make a "budget," I guess, before they enter. They only go grocery shopping once or twice a week. They buy ingredients with more than tonight's meal in mind. They find a good deal on free-range chicken and put it on the menu, or they see some perky looking kale and whip up a salad. Me, I head for the freezer case. Or I buy a bouquet of cilantro and only make one batch of guacamole before the rest of it turns into brown slime in my refrigerator. I try, I really do, but lately I've been leaving TJ's with more frozen pizzas and coconut-mango popsicles than actual fresh food.

For those of us who don't buy as many fresh vegetables as we should, who in moments of weakness allow the ketchup on the side of a grilled cheese sandwich to pass as the night's serving of vegetables, for us there is Green BEAN Delivery (Biodynamic, Education, Agriculture and Nutrition. Clever, right?). You've probably heard of it, this is the service that loads up a bin full of organic produce every week (or every other week) and delivers it to your door on a day of your choosing. You can customize your order or leave it to chance.

I tried out a bin recently. Green BEAN sends you a list ahead of time of what you can expect to see when it arrives. When mine arrived, I became the proud owner of a well-rounded assortment of vegetables including squash, zucchini, some mushrooms, a head of local bibb lettuce and some on-the-vine tomatoes, among other things. Panic washed over me. What to do with it all?

I went to the place I go to when I feel lost - Google. Plotting out a week's worth of recipes, I started with the zucchini.

It's been an awfully long time since I met a real zucchini face-to-face. I found a recipe on the Kitchn quickly enough for a Mediterranean yogurt spread using zucchini, greek yogurt and the lemon that was also included with my bin. If you find yourself in possession of these ingredients, I highly recommend trying this out.

There, one ingredient down, one delicious dip whipped up and ready for a few day's worth of snacking. As my week went on, I made thick sandwiches loaded with vegetables. I made salads and soup. I ate sliced peaches with my breakfast. When fresh produce is close at hand, it turns out to be quite easy to find things to do with it. 

Green BEAN isn't terribly cheap - a small produce bin costs $35 every week. I didn't do any precise math here, but I'm willing to bet you could get more produce for your dollar at Daisy Mae's, and there you'd be able to pick out and inspect everything ahead of time. I doubt you could make it out of Whole Foods with everything I got in my bin for $35 though.

However, Green BEAN really can't be beat on convenience. All of the produce I received was in great shape and stayed fresh through the week. Spending a little money on the service might pay off if it replaces a lot of repeat trips to the store to find something - anything - for dinner. You can invest a little more and make Green Bean your primary source for groceries - they stock tons of pantry items, proteins, dairy products and local items like Carriage House Farm honey.

Disclosure, my produce bin was provided at no cost. It was pretty darn nice of them to do it. They've also generously provided a discount code for all of you to use if you'd like to try out the service - use the code "15CPml" and they'll knock $15 off your first bin. The code is good for a week so don't slack off.

Many thanks to Green BEAN for the opportunity to try the service!