By Thursday afternoons, providing vegetables for my family often means scrounging around in the back of the freezer for some organic peas. Or, if I am lucky, I am sometimes able to find leftovers from our Saturday trip to the farmer’s market. However, this Thursday, I came home to this: If you look closely, you can see that the bounty included: 2 huge cartons of strawberries, red leaf and boston lettuce, bok choy, garlic scapes, Japanese turnips, radishes, French Vinaigrette Mix, mixed herbs, scallions, flaxseed and brioche from B and R Artisan Breads in Framingham, coffee from Karma Coffee in Sudbury, Local Honey, organic syrup from the Natick Organic Farm.So, where did this gold mine of delicious food come from? From a local woman named Maureen and her company, The Farmer's Cart. For Maureen, the idea for the Farmer's Cart originated after listening to the frustration of friends. Like our family, they loved the idea of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in which you advance money to a farmer in exchange for weekly pick-ups of fresh produce. However, the pick up times were not always conducive for busy parents. After a trip to California, Maureen saw a model that was appealing: someone else did the pick ups. I know that our experience in the Dover CSA was one of the best we've had. It was a joy and challenge to not know which produce we would pick up, or how the weather would affect that weeks selection. However, they closed for this summer season. So, without any CSAs that were easy enough to reach during the weekday, I planned to spend the summer visiting the farmer's market even more often. Yet I already missed the thrill of figuring out what to do with piles of swiss chard, or having a close sense as to what was growing in the local fields. (You can read more about our experience with the Dover Farm CSA here and here.)
And then I discovered the Farmer's Cart which is the best of all worlds. Each week, Maureen picks up a range of fruit and vegetables from local farmers. She packages it with options such as bread from or coffee and then, to top it off, drops it off at your doorstep. Maureen offers two sizes of deliveries: the "Family Package" for $48.50 or the "Personal Package" for $35.00.Maureen kindly offered to drop of a bag so my family and I could get a taste of her deliveries. I am excited about this for so many reasons. The convenience can't be beat as the mid-week drop off meant wonderful fruit and produce for my family. My sons loved having the fresh strawberries, and I loved a simple dinner of a light salad with radishes, lettuce and vinaigrette with a dessert of bread and honey. The 3 year old even devoured the flax seed bread slathered with cream cheese for breakfast. I also appreciated the little touches. Maureen included a recipe for garlic scape pesto, demystifying this beautiful vegetable. The scapes themselves were part of what made this such a pleasure-I can't imagine I would have typically bought them on my own. Finally, it just felt good to know that the farmers, rather than the chain grocers, were the beneficiaries of this.
The produce and fruits will vary each week. For example, by next week there may be arugula and peas. Maureen also plans to continue to seek out local producers of other goods.
There are those of us that are lucky to be in her drop off area. I hope, though, that this becomes a model for others.
The Farmer's Cart firstname.lastname@example.org 508-333-6233