"Farmed Today" review: Can we go back to eating seasonally?
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that recently I opened a box full of fruits and veggies in my stories. It was all in-season, locally sourced, and provided by a new player in the food box field - "Farmed Today."
We all know that we should eat seasonal and local food to lower our carbon footprint. We also know that buying food directly from farmers is more sustainable than eating food that had to board a plane to get to our plates.
"Farmed Today" is trying to tackle these problems. They deliver local, seasonal fruits and vegetables to your door. You can either only buy what you need or opt for a mixed box. Boxes of mixed produce come in different versions and sizes, and the smallest one costs around 17 euros.
"Farmed Today" also offers other products from independent food businesses. Think longer shelf life - from meal replacement shakes to peanut butter, to jams to honey. Some of the products they stock I already love and buy, but it's easier to do it from a single website.
The idea behind "Farmed Today" is to provide an alternative supply chain. If a business chooses a direct-to-consumer route, it can offer better prices to both consumers and suppliers. And that's what enables a more sustainable approach to grocery shopping in the long run. Smaller food producers usually can't meet the demands of big supermarket chains. And smaller-scale food production is better for the environment than large-scale industry. Large-scale retail, understandably, favors the latter. In a traditional supermarket, there are many profit margins, and only a fraction of the cost is left for a food producer. Think fast fashion, just with food.
So, "Farmed Today" is trying to make buying local produce more accessible to the households of today. When I was a child, I went to a local farmer's market with my mother several times a week. Nowadays, when a week is hectic, I'm happy if I remember to eat something that's not deep-fried and coming from a kiosk.
My "Farmed Today" sample box contained a bit of everything: apples, pears, kohlrabi, rhubarb, sweet potato, a red bell pepper, honey from the Dutch Bee Collective, Jimmy Joy shake, and pumpkin soup from Kromkommer (made of "ugly" produce). "Farmed Today" doesn't provide recipes with every box, which worked wonders for me - I could improvise and mix and match with the groceries I already had.
The only problem I had with my box of mixed fruit and vegetables was that it was a mix. That's a good thing if you like surprises. I never remember to buy kohlrabi, but since it was in my box, we had a delicious apple-kohlrabi salad, which I hadn't eaten for probably twenty years. But then, I got only two sweet potatoes where I'd prefer four or six. Since I'm a big fan of cooking bigger dishes that can last us for two or three days, next time, I'll probably order the stuff I know I need and create my own box.
The food boxes ship with no plastic (apart from the packaging of ready-made products). It's literally just a box of produce with some tissue paper to cushion it. Great for all of us who are always frustrated with the amount of packaging we bring back from a simple trip to our local Albert Heijn.
I would, however, like to see some kind of information about the origin of my fruits and veggies included. "Farmed Today" claims that they source the produce "as locally as possible," but it would be cool to know at least which cities or provinces it came from. Of course, that wouldn't be a substitute for a personal relationship you can have with your local farmer, but it would be a nice thing to know. (Hey folks at Farmed Today, maybe you can also feature your suppliers on your blog? There's a content idea!)
The biggest question of them all is: can we go back to eating only seasonal stuff, even though we know it's better for us? Some of us still remember the days when we ate a lot of fruit and greens during the summer, and then bakes and roasts during the winter. Today, if you happen to crave fresh strawberries on New Year's Eve, you bet you could find them. It's just too easy.
"Farmed Today" sits in the sweet spot of food revolution: bringing us back to basics while offering contemporary convenience. Nowadays, everything is convenient if we want to make it that way. Will I be able to say no to occasional summer fruit in the middle of winter? Probably not. But there's always something else I can eat to redeem myself.
"Farmed Today" provided me with a sample food box. All opinions are my own.