A while back I wrote about a friend and my quest to get an organic vegetable box here in Madrid. I thought it might be worthwhile to post a follow-up because both my friend and I are so pleased that we decided to do this. All winter we’ve received boxes of very tasty fresh fruit and vegetables from Recapte and it’s really changed the way both of us eat (and, to some extent, live).
For starters, I’d say that the primary component of most of my meals this year has been vegetables, complemented by a good amount of fruit for dessert or snacks. Secondly, while some vegetables are ready to eat, most take a bit of preparation, which means we have to dedicate more time to getting meals ready and investigating ways to use vegetables that we haven’t cooked with before. I do believe that this is time and energy well-spent. One of the best changes is that I’ve greatly reduced the number of trips I make to the supermarket. In fact, I hardly go. I usually go to NaturaSí for basics like oats, yogurt, rice, and pasta, and to my local panadería for loaves of bread. My cousin taps maple trees in upstate New York and makes syrup, which I always bring back from the States and for the past few months I’ve been using honey from a friend of a friend’s bees and sheep’s cheese from a student’s finca. The time I save by not going to the supermarket is probably reinvested in cooking my vegetables. Fifteen euros a week has really never been more valuable.
All of these experiences were reaffirmed as good things by my reading Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma last November and really starting to think about where my meals come from. It’s good to care (peanut scare: case in point). By no means do I feed myself the perfect diet, but I think the changes brought on by the box are a step in the right direction.
I leave you with highlights from the veg box, October-February:
– Boniatos (sweet potatoes): easily our favorite product of the fall. Mashed or as oven fries, there’s never been such a vast improvement on the potato.
- Granadas (pomegranates): another fall treat, great in salads and out.
- Calabaza (squash/pumpkin): I turned a big one we got into many cups of purée and made two pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving and froze the rest. Last week I defrosted it and made pumpkin soup and three loaves of pumpkin bread.
- Aguacates (avocados): we’ve been getting the most amazing ones for maybe two months and haven’t tired of them yet.
- Chirivías (parsnips): started appearing sometime in January. Love ‘em roasted!
- Acelgas (Swiss chard): a staple for months now and a green I’ve grown to love, steamed or sautéed.