General

Good Food comes in Boxes

I recently discovered the wondrous phenomenon that is the Good Food Box. It is a program started by FoodShare, designed to bring cheap, fresh, and high-quality produce to Ontario residents. They source locally whenever possible and choose their products based on quality, sustainable agricultural practices, fair trade, and environmental conscientiousness (i.e. less packaging). The UTSU organizes this service specifically for U of T students – it is a service that I had no idea existed until now which was surprising considering how neat it is.

A selection of fresh produce on my dining table including a bag of carrots, potatos, bananas, pears, applies, spinach, lettuce, a bag of onions, and a singular tomato.

What I received in my Good Food Box: more than enough produce for me and my two roommates. The one tomato was very amusing.

The Good Food Box service is a bi-monthly affair where students can place orders online for different Food Box options ranging from $13 to $34. The boxes contain a mixture of fruits and vegetables; there’s even an organic option and a Wellness Box where the produce is already cut and baggied for your convenience! And for every 10 boxes ordered, there is a Box that gets donated to the U of T Food Bank.

Screenshot of the order form for the Good Food Box on the UTSU website.

UTSU offers six different Good Food Boxes to order: http://utsu.cfs-services.ca/en/good-food-box

You place your orders one week before pick-up at the UTSU Office. You can also choose to have them delivered to Woodsworth Residence, the Faculty of Kinesiology, and other locations on campus. This was the big selling point for me: not only do I not have to worry about grocery shopping, I don’t even have to venture very far to pick up my food! THE FUTURE IS NOW, PEOPLE!!

The UTSU Office where you can pick up your Box. Photo source: Julia Malowany, The Varsity.

I chose to purchase the most basic and popular box: the Small Good Food Box – a slightly misleading moniker considering it was neither small nor brought home in a box. Luckily fellow blogger Taryn warned me that I would need to bring bags, as the FoodShare program reuses the green bins that the produce is delivered in. The UTSU does have large paper bags for you to pack your food but I would still advise bringing something more durable, especially if you plan on walking home with your goodies. Even though I picked the cheapest and smallest option, I was very surprised at how much food there was! One Small Good Food Box was enough to feed me and my two roommates for at least a week and a half. Side note: it was also super heavy to carry home (that rutabaga was the size and weight of a large newborn) and I promptly took a nap when I get back to my house.

A cutting board with a knife, two whole beets, and sliced sweet potato and rutabaga.

I’ve actually never cooked with rutabaga so I thought a safe strategy was to disguise it as fries, something that is ubiquitously delicious. They turned out really well, along with the sweet potato fries and roasted beets!

My roommates and I proceeded to go on a university cooking adventure that involved two of our communally favourite things: garlic and drawing inspiration from Chopped. For one of our meals, we made roasted sweet potato and rutabaga fries and sautéed spinach using some of the produce from our Box.

Our dining table and plates of food.

The completed fruits (and vegetables) of our labour, including a garlic aioli in a Cereal-labelled bowl and roasted root veg fries.

I had grown very excited in anticipation of receiving my Box the same way you anticipate getting something in the mail. It was a pleasant surprise, not knowing what kind of produce you would be getting… like the Mystery Basket in Chopped. I’m going to order another Box soon, maybe if I even manage to get through all the food in my first order!

Photo of a kale salad with feta, sweet potato, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

Next on my “Learn how to make” list and also on my “Ways to hop on the kale bandwagon while ignoring the fact that it tastes gross” list. I like using http://www.tastespotting.com/ to find recipes! (Source: http://www.tastespotting.com/)

What are some of your favourite recipes, U of T? Show off your cooking skills and let us know on Twitter and Instagram! Be sure to keep an eye on http://ueat.utoronto.ca/ for recipes and occasional cooking events on campus!