Right now, as I type this, I’m taking breaks to eat baked apple slices topped with whipped cream and maple syrup. Mmmm. It’s the perfect mid-winter treat, and my entire home smells like cinnamon. This delicious concoction, made with mini Gala apples from Algoma Orchards in Ontario and drizzled with Forbes Wild Food Dark Maple Syrup (again, Ontario), is just a hint of the bounty I received from my very first Mama Earth Organics box.
Let me back up to the beginning. Because we partnered with Mama Earth Organics to do a contest giveaway, I decided it would be a good idea to test out the local food delivery service too. So, last week, as I was bundled with a scarf up to my eyes, walking home, the first surprise arrived: a big brown box sitting quietly at my door. I practically squealed with delight because A) I was fucking cold and kinda miserable, and the thought of a box full of healthy fruits and veggies awaiting my discovery was exciting, and B) beyond receiving the fresh produce, I was excited to see what exactly came in the box, because each week’s delivery varies depending on the season, or what the fine folks at Mama Earth believe would make for the best assortment of organics.
We were signed up for the Regular Basket but with a few added customized options, including extra ingredients for the Baked Apple recipe, and one large jar of Sarah Britton’s Fully Loaded Kale Salad. (Beyond the regular produce delivery, there’s a great selection of add-ons you can choose from in the Mama Kitchen area. Hearty prepared meals, nutrient-packed side dishes, baked goods, healthy snacks and more! Everything is made each day with organic produce and lots of love.)
Here are the gorgeous organic delights that awaited us (and which my four-year-old son also enjoyed discovering).
Broccoli Crowns (Mexico)
Garlic from Zephyr’s Organics (Ontario)
Apples from Algoma Orchards (Ontario)
Fair Trade Bananas (Ecuador)
Swiss Chard (USA)
Lettuce Romaine Hearts (USA)
Mama Earth Organics co-founder, Heather Billingsley, works directly with over fifty local organic farms, all located within an hour or two of Toronto. In season, almost 90% of the produce is local. In these colder months, when local produce isn’t available, Mama Earth’s team looks for the best, closest alternative. I like how each item shares where it came from.
So, how did we eat it all? In this family, avocados are most often eaten in sandwiches or scooped straight from the fruit. (I always think of avocados as a veggie, but they are in fact a fruit.) Bananas are eaten on our breakfast oatmeal, apples (my favourite snack on earth) are eaten around the clock (same with clementines), lemon was squeezed into hot lemon honey tea (we all had a cold), and tomatoes were thrown into cannelloni pasta. As for the romaine lettuce, I used one of the recipes provided by Mama Earth: Grilled Caesar Salad. I’ve never before warmed my salad leaves in a frying pan, but it actually turned the salad into more of a comfort food, which was perfect for a -19 day in January. And, of course, you know what I did with the apples: I sweetened them up, shoved them in the oven, and enjoyed them with a pot of Earl Grey.
The only prepared food that arrived in my box was Sarah Britton’s Fully Loaded Kale Salad, and it was consumed with absolute pleasure on a Friday night, before I headed out the door to my regular recovery meeting. It was extremely tasty and made me feel really healthy. I especially loved all the seeds for added crunch.
I’m not great at eating mindfully. I’m definitely the type of person who, when hungry, will jab a spoon in a tub of peanut butter or eat a bowl of cereal at 10 p.m. It was nice to have the fridge stocked full of healthy, colourful fruits and veggies, and there is a sense of comfort knowing that the Mama Earth team is dedicated to finding the highest quality produce, which takes a bit of the guessing game out of grocery shopping, where it’s challenging to get the backstory on everything you pick up while pushing a cart around crowded aisles.
I think what I appreciate most is the real dedication to the environment. Mama Earth Organics doesn’t layer their food in plastic, unlike several of the food-delivery competitors out there that seem to make zero effort when it comes to the environment.
I received my goods in a box, as I was only trying it out for one week, but regular customers can choose a Rubbermaid bin. The bins are washed and reused, and you just put your old bin out on your delivery day, and it gets replaced with the new bin. Inside, the only inedible items are the water bottle of ice, which is used to keep bins cool (again, reused each week), and the bulletin that outlines the fresh, organic, local produce in your bin, and any additional goodies you may have selected.
So, would I recommend Mama Earth Organics? Hell yes! Health is paramount, and it starts with a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Plus, have you seen the new Canadian food guidelines? Fruits and veggies are where it’s at!