Harvest 2U delivers a bounty of deliciousness
by Susan Montgomery
We were like little kids at Christmas when our first Harvest 2U Family Harvest Box was delivered. We eagerly opened it and "oohed" and "awed" over the many vibrant fresh vegetables and fruit, including apples, carrots, arugula, celery, green beans, Italian parsley, kale, a beautiful lettuce mix, radishes, red leaf lettuce, summer squash and one big fat onion. We were especially thrilled because we knew this organic produce had been hand-picked very recently from local farms. Some of the items had undoubtedly been harvested mere hours before delivery. Now the challenge was to cook appealing, healthy dishes with all our goodies—and that wasn't hard.
The night of our delivery, we made a crisp, lovely salad with the lettuce mixture, radishes, arugula, celery, and onion. The result was a refreshing, flavorful, crunchy salad. We were reminded that fresh vegetables are always so much more tasty and nutritious than those that have been in transit from farflung locations or sitting around grocery stores for days.
We also made a delicious but easy pasta stirfry. First we sauteed the parsley and squash in a small amount of olive oil. Then after boiling the pasta al dente, we drained it well and mixed it with the veggie mixture, adding olive oil, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. The result was a simple, healthy dish that we savored.
Another night Todd used many of the Harvest 2U ingredients to create colorful and tasty stuffed peppers. In addition to leftover fried rice, these peppers were stuffed with chopped celery, onion, kale, and dandelion greens. We ate them with crunchy green beans that had been quickly sauteed.
The Harvest 2U delivery was so bountiful that we still had vegetables to use. One night we made a stew with beef we had stirfried with soy sauce and mild chili pepper seasoning. Once the beef was nicely browned, we added the vegetables, including green beans, carrots, onion and lots of greens. We also added tomatoes, red peppers and a bit of low sodium chicken broth.
On a Sunday morning, we made a delicious breakfast quiche chock full of vegetables. We whisked seven eggs, and added chopped arugula, kale, carrots, squash, crumbled cooked and drained sausage, diced potatoes and tomatoes. The result was a rich and healthy dish that filled us up for the day. Our overnight guests were so impressed.
It's hard to believe we were able to produce all these wonderful dishes out of one Harvest 2U delivery, but we did—and it was fun to figure out what we could make with so many different ingredients. Harvest boxes also include recipes. Harvest 2U offers a variety of size and frequency options to customers. To sign up, go to their website at www.harvest2U.com. Harvest 2U, based in Temecula, California, is part of Cultivating Good, the parent company which also includes the wonderful restaurant, E.A.T. (Extraordinary Artisan Table), and E.A.T. @Home, a service that delivers organic, artisan-prepared meals directly to homes.
Harvest 2U delivers to numerous locations throughout Riverside County for a nominal fee. Harvest boxes can also be picked up at convenient locations. If you do not live in the area, look for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) organization in your community. CSAs, like Harvest 2U, are a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with the farmer and to receive a weekly portion of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm or farms, people become members of the CSA.
So our next delivery is coming soon and we can't wait to see what our special box holds. Whatever we receive, we know it's locally produced and freshly harvested.
Photos by Todd Montgomery.