In the name of efficiency, I have been trying out a variety of grocery delivery services over the past couple of months. This past week I had the opportunity to try Farmers to You, a co-op of Vermont farms that will deliver in my area. Farm fresh produce and meat, without an hour plus drive. Yes, please! Don’t miss your special discount code at the bottom of this post.
What is Farmers to You?
Here’s how Farmers to You works. A wide variety of farms in the Vermont area provide their best quality produce, meats, syrups, and more to be delivered to Boston area families. We go online, choose what we want, then it gets delivered at a predetermined pick up location one day during the week. I was able to pick up my order at the Wellesley Farmers Market, which is now 100% served by Farmers to You.
One of the most important lessons I have learned as a culinary nutrition expert is to understand where your food is coming from. The shorter the distance from farm to table is always going to be in your best interest. Vegetables grown on small farms, where they truly care for the soil and the land, gives you more nutrient density in the food on your table.
If I have a choice to spend money with a small farm family business versus big agra, the small farm will always win. I know that someone has nurtured what they have grown, whether it’s fruits, vegetables, or animals. That positive energy becomes part of your food, and then part of us.
Food, if you can call it that, which has gone through processing becomes dead food. Same goes for food that is picked before it’s ripe. The most important step I teach my private clients is how the quality of the food they eat affects their health and energy level.
Is Farmers to You all Organic?
Here’s another tidbit worth remembering, you don’t always need to buy organic. There is a time and a place for certified organic, but if you are partnering with a small farm that uses old-school methods of farming, they don’t need the costly organic stamp of approval for me. Organic farming has become a big business, and just because it’s labeled organic does not always guarantee it’s the best choice.
How do I prioritize what I buy organic versus not? Here’s my cheat sheet:
- Choose grass-fed, pastured raised meat from small, local farms. You will get a better quality meat than a factory farm organic chicken. Yes, that’s what Perdue is doing to the organic business. Choosing the highest quality meat you can afford is the most important thing. I would ask you to spend the extra money on meat and dairy quality, and buy all your other veggies non-organic if your budget is tight.
- Dairy is next in line. I’m comfortable with non-organic if the cows are pastured the majority of the year. Here’s more info on how to make smart choices about dairy…and guess what, it doesn’t include fat-free anything.
- Eggs-pastured raised, small farm is best. Even organic standards allow for large scale chicken coops with very little outdoor exposure. Farm fresh eggs all rate higher for Omega 3, a key nutrient for anti-inflammatory diets.
- Root vegetables-if it’s not local and you don’t know the farm, choose organic. The veggies absorb everything that’s in the soil. If that includes Round-Up, then you get that too. Farmers to You partners with River Berry and Dog River Farms. You can grab some certified organic root vegetables with them.
- Strawberries- top of the charts for the Dirty Dozen so I don’t make exceptions here. Always buy organic.
- Apples- they tend to be heavily sprayed, but you can find good non-organic apples that have been grown with Integrated Pest Management practices. From Champlain farm owners,
Bill and Andrea at Champlain Orchards are committed to ecological practices and are Eco-Apple certified. Due to challenges of our Northeast climate, they use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and minimally spray their apples to manage pests in conjunction with natural methods.
- Leafy greens- an avid reader informed me that leafy greens attract lots of bugs so they are sprayed heavily with pesticides. I’m sticking with organic here, unless I hear the farm follows a non-toxic protocol.
- Corn-buy organic, otherwise it’s most likely from a GMO seed.
- Red peppers- organic, top of the dirty dozen list.
- Balance of fruits and veggies-grab organic if you can if in a grocery store. I’m comfortable without the organic label if it’s from a small, trustworthy farm.
Here’s a peek at how Farmers to You connects you to the food you serve your family.
How do I sign up for Farmers to You?
Super easy to test out if you are in the Boston area. Check here on this page to find delivery sites in your area. Want one in Needham? Let me know if there is enough interest and I’ll do a test run! While I love supporting my local farmers market, time is tight as a busy mom with three little kids and a husband who travels. Let’s not even mention the craziness of the kid’s sports schedules over the weekend. If I can make my cooking/grocery shopping a little more efficient right now, I’m all for it.
I created an account, placed an order by Sunday for a Thursday pickup. I got a text reminder and an email about when and where to pickup my order. It was super simple. *You do need to update your order for the following week as it automatically creates a reoccurring order. I adjusted mine to reorder basics and suspended it for a week to allow me time to process what I already received. Next week I’ll update it and see what new items are available.
What am I making with my delivery from Farmers to You?
There are some recipes on the Farmers to You website, but here’s a few more ideas based on what caught my eye last week.
- Balsamic Braised Short Ribs, Organic grass-fed Ribs from Tilldale Farm. Paired with roasted butternut squash and sautéed kale.
- Braised Asian meatballs and cabbage from 100 Days of Real Food. Instead of pork, you can sub in grass-fed ground beef from Tilldale Farm.
- Rainbow chard and leeks-gorgeous combination!
- Sweet Potato and Apple Soup- my own recipe coming to the blog this week. So, so good.
- Frittata with fresh eggs, shredded greens and a little feta. Served with a side of pork maple sausage from Snug Valley Farm.
- I made my own yogurt in the slow cooker with Cream top milk from Kimball Brook Farm. It came out amazing!
Ready to check it out?! Head over here to place your order with Farmers to You. My readers are getting 15% off their first order! Use the code: ER15. This expires Sunday, Dec 17th. Just think about how extra special Thanksgiving can be with fresh ingredients.
Come back here and leave a comment sharing what you are excited to try first!
Note: I partnered with Farmers to You and was provided free product to facilitate this story. I had a great experience and look forward to placing orders with them again on my own.
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About Emily Roach
Emily Roach is a culinary nutrition expert and works with clients to create a healthy lifestyle design. She loves teaching her kids how to cook, playing tennis and inspiring women to take control of their health. Emily does one-on-one consulting, cooking workshops and speaking engagements.