If you saw this tour of The Chef's Garden, an unusual family farm in northern Ohio that grows exotic microgreens and tiny beautiful vegetables, and if you had a yearning to try some of that delicious produce for yourself, the good news is that you can. The Chef's Garden focuses primarily on restaurants and chefs, but they do offer a very, very nice box of vegetables for home cooks. After I visited The Chef's Garden, they sent me one of their home produce boxes so I could try it out for myself. A very big box showed up on my doorstep — bigger than I expected. I could smell it as I walked up to my porch; the fragrance of basil wafted out into the sunshine. I hefted it up onto the table and opened it up. I was shocked at how full it was.
I opened it to find a mass of vegetables, packed into separate bags. On top were mature yet extra-small heads of red speckled and bright green lettuces. There were tiny bulbs of fennel, and a packet of mixed cherry tomatoes. There were red and orange carrots, and small pattypan squash. There were string beans, baby beets, and a huge bundle of basil. It went on and on.
Everything I ate out of that box was extra-fresh and tasty, and I especially liked the lettuce. I liked how small the leaves were; you didn't have to cut or tear them up for salad. (They were extra sandy, though; even two rounds in the salad spinner didn't quite remove all the grit.)
Their website is also not terribly user-friendly; it is clear that they view these delivery boxes more like in the way of community service and outreach than as a keystone of their business. I'd love to see a little more info on what is getting shipped out in the boxes (it changes every week and every month). But I do realize this level of detail is a challenge for all CSA and farm box providers, given daily changes in what can be harvested.
Given that this produce is grown in Ohio, and I've seen where it comes from, I feel rather differently about the coming winter and the lack of fresh, local vegetables. Also, shipping is free inside Ohio, which makes one of these boxes a very good deal for me. Come the dark days of January, I will probably be ordering a box or two of fresh greens from The Chef's Garden greenhouses!
One other perk: You can include some add-ins, like exotic little popcorn shoots and
• Buying information: Home Delivery Boxes from The Chef's Garden. Boxes start at $25 for a veg-of-the-month sampler, and go up to $40 for the family box. Monthly subscriptions are also available.
• Shipping info: Shipping in Ohio is free. Shipping outside of the state has to be overnight, and is therefore expensive; I got a quote of $38 for shipping to New York City.
Related: How to Get the Most Out of Your CSA
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Faith Durand)