I am currently researching Bay Area organic produce delivery services, trying a new one out each week, and providing a ranking at the end. I just finished a substantial amount of local and organic produce from my Golden Gate Organics review. I enjoyed receiving a quality produce box that was filled with a ton of variety and sourced from several small local farms.
SELECTING MY THIRD PRODUCE BOX DELIVERY
Tara Firma Farms offers a robust CSA program. A 260-acre family owned and operated farm located in Petaluma, Tara Firma sells organic fruit and vegetable CSAs as well as a variety of meats, eggs, and cheeses. These products come from pasture raised, hormone-free animals at Tara Firma or from neighboring family-run farms.
THE WEBSITE EXPERIENCE
Tara Firma Farms’ dedication to cultivating high quality food and providing it to their community is vital to their mission. The website contains beautiful imagery of the farm and information on the different animals raised there. The Farm opens their doors to the community on a weekly basis, offering free weekend tours, educational resources, events, and workshops to help communicate the importance of local and sustainable farming. I am looking forward to putting together my order for my Tara Firma Farms review.
Once I selected my pick up location, of which there are many available options, I started to build my box for my Tara Firma Farms review.
PLACING THE ORDER
The majority of shares available for purchase on this site are meat-centric, a great way to provide individuals and families with antibiotic and hormone-free cuts of meat. Prices ranged from $26 for a 4lb. whole chicken to a large family share of mixed cuts for $95. For the pet owners out there, there is also a $15 share which includes offal (heart/liver/lungs/tongue/tail/kidney).
Regular Veggie Share - $25
Large Veggie Share - $35
Fruit Box - $10
For my Tara Firma Farms review, I did not include any animal products because I am focusing on comparing produce boxes, plus I am following a plant-based regimen as of late.
I opted for the large veggie share and a fruit box for a grand total of $45.
The farm sent me an email confirmation right away to let me know my order went through without a hitch. Over the next few days I received a few more emails allowing me to change my order two days before the pick up date. One final email arrived the day prior to my pick up confirming the address and details.
Before I picked up my box, I checked out the options for order customization. With my Tara Firma Farms review I could sign up for different shares I enlisted in (for example meat - egg - produce) but I could not add or subtract specific types of produce (for example cabbage for grapefruit, or basil for broccoli).
Tara Firma Farms offers a nominal produce box delivery fee ($5-$8 depending on location) or free pick up at one of their pre-determined sites that are located throughout the greater Bay Area. I decided to pick mine up nearby.
I set my produce box on my kitchen table, popped open the cardboard sides, and got to sorting. Upon first glance I could tell that I was receiving a ton of produce. I received nine different vegetables in total, a pair of apples, and a variety of oranges. I found it difficult to identify some of the produce, mostly the green veggies, as there was no product list that accompanied the box.
Here are the items I recognized:
Green Onions: This bunch contained six large stalks. I was able to use a few onions here and there, spread across several meals.
Rainbow Chard: Large, forest green leaves larger than my hand , sprouted from vibrant, colorful stalks that ranged from pink to red, orange to yellow hues.
Spinach (1 or 2 types): 1 bunch looked like the shape of spinach leaves that were familiar to me. The other bunch was another type of spinach with a different shaped leaf...I think!
Arugula: 1 bunch of these peppery greens. This type of lettuce is most definitely my favorite dressed with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper.
Lettuce: A small head of green lettuce.
Radishes: These were oval, very different compared to the circular ones that are commonly found at stores or served in restaurants.
Beet Root: The largest beet root I have ever owned, this one was probably 4-5 inches in diameter.
Apples: Nice size, and two of them.
Oranges: Eight in total, of a few different varieties. Due to the difference in shape, size, and color, I concluded that there were three different types.
The other greens I received looked like stalks of thyme.
With this delivery, I could barely fit all of my produce from my Tara Firma Farms review on one refrigerator shelf!
PREPARING THE FOOD
I did not do a great job storing these greens - this is something I want to learn more about so I can extend the shelf life of fresh produce in the future. I placed everything in the fridge the way it was sent to me and hoped for the best (I do not recommend this method).
I knew the apples and oranges I received for my Tara Firma Farms review would make healthy and hydrating afternoon snacks, which is very important in this California heat. I tossed the radishes with avocado oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted them in the oven for a few minutes. They came out flavorful and sweet, no bitterness to them. A few green onions also ended up in the oven, roasted, then sliced small and thrown on top of an Asian-inspired noodle stir fry I prepared for dinner one night.
I planned to save the beet root, spinach, and swiss chard for specific dishes that I had in mind - they were uniquely beautiful in their vibrancy and size. I wanted to spend a little more time creating something special with each.
I enjoyed coming up with a few different ways to incorporate my beautiful produce this week as part of my Tara Firma Farms review.
MEAL #1: CRUSTLESS SWISS CHARD & ONION QUICHE
This meal was not vegan, but it was extremely satisfying! I did my best to create a healthier quiche by nixing the pie crust and substituting half-and-half for unsweetened almond milk. I chopped about two cups of swiss chard and one onion. Then I mixed the veggies with eight cage-free organic eggs, almond ‘mozarella’ cheese, and the unsweetened almond milk. I let this combination bake in the oven until all was settled and firm.
MEAL #2: VEGAN SPINACH & ARTICHOKE DIP
I always search for ways to sub out dairy in recipes, and the traditional version of a spinach and artichoke dip definitely includes its fair share of dairy. To create the sauce, I ground up some dried oats to form a flour and stirred it in a pan on the stovetop with some almond milk. I grabbed one of the bags of greens that I believed to be a different type of spinach that I had simply never seen. I chopped it up with a can of artichokes, and added the veggies to the pan. This mix served as a great dip with crackers, spooned over rice, or simply by the spoonful!
MEAL #3: BORSCHT
Borscht is not a novel recipe, however it was new for me to prepare. I grabbed the massive beet root in my hands, cut off the top and bottom, and carefully began to remove its pink skin. To my surprise the inside of the beet root was white! I gave the root a rustic chop, along with potatoes, carrots, celery, cabbage, and onions. Then I stewed them all together in a big soup pan with vegetable broth and tomato puree. This was one of the heartiest soups I had ever prepared!
As a result of my Tara Firma Farms review, I confidently concluded that this CSA delivered variety. There was no produce sheet to cross reference which was a downside for me so I contacted the farm via telephone and email in hopes they’d be able to help me with the identification. Although they were not able to provide me with this information, I enjoyed experimenting with the items I received. Plus an easy solution for unknown veggies can always be to chop them, add some oil to a pan, and sauté them with a bit of salt and pepper just until soft.
It was great to see all of the ethical and healthy animal proteins offered at Tara Firma Farms. This is the only suitable method of consuming meat as far as I am concerned. Tara Firma takes the hard work out of sourcing the product for their customers!
Check out my final ranking found here!
FOR THE MEAT LOVER
GOOD FOR PETS
EASY TO CANCEL
EASY PICK UP
FAVORITES: SWISS CHARD, BEET ROOT, ARUGULA
COULD NOT IDENTIFY SOME PRODUCE...
THEREFORE DID NOT KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY STORE IT...
SOME OF MY UN-IDENTIFIED PRODUCE WENT TO WASTE :(
COULD NOT SUBSTITUTE THE PRODUCE (ITEM FOR ITEM)
LEAST FAVORITE: THE VEGGIES I COULD NOT I.D.!