What’s in Da Box?

Not a sponsored post, I’m just really happy and enthusiastic about what The Hawaii Food Basket is doing!

“Da Box” is our local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program here on Hawaii island. More info here for residents. 

I’d been wanting to participate in such a program for awhile, so I was excited when I heard the radio commercial introducing Da Box as a new CSA. 

By participating, our money goes directly to the farmers who contribute local, seasonal produce each week. We pay up front and commit to 10 weeks at a time. In return, we pick up 8-12 pounds of fresh produce once a week. Cash flow for the farmers is improved, money remains in the local economy, and food sustainability is increased. 

   
Today I picked up our produce for week 8. I was really surprised with all the goodies we got this week! Included were bananas, papaya, avocado, beefsteak tomatoes, mushrooms, kale, Manoa lettuce and string beans. 

We pay $16/week for 8-12lbs of produce. At worst, that works out to $2/pound, which is still better than a lot of items at the grocery store. When you live on an island, groceries are incredibly expensive! When I pay $5/gallon of milk, I’m happy to cut the grocery bill where I can!


The produce has been fantastic. Even though I tend to purchase as much locally grown produce at the store as possible, we can still taste a difference. Everything is incredibly fresh and we love the assortment of items we get each week. 

In addition to the items I picked up today, in past weeks we have received corn on the cob, green onions, sweet onions, bok choy, beets, carrots, bell pepper, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, zucchini, other varieties of mushrooms, and apple bananas (side note: they’re a thing here in Hawaii. I personally don’t really care for them). 

I also love that each week we get a handout detailing which farm each item came from as well as a few recipe ideas for the produce in the box. If you’re like me, you often find yourself in a cooking rut making the same old thing and out of new ideas. 

Da Box has really helped shake me out of that rut! I’ve been coming up with some new meals by trying to use up what I get. A few weeks ago I made pizza topped with kale and mushrooms, which is outside my usual repertoire. I’ve also had to find recipes to cook things I’m not as familiar with, like bok choy and beets. 

Bok choy is really good sautéed with garlic! We also used it in a pork stir fry the other night. I don’t recall ever eating beets before they showed up in da box. I enjoyed them roasted in a salad of greens and walnuts. The boys didn’t care for the beets, but Rosie obviously approved. Rose and I ate them all!

  

While sourcing food locally and seasonally seems to be quite the trend, it’s an important step to take towards a sustainable lifestyle. The drought in California is going to have a catastrophic effect on commercial agriculture, the ripples of which will be felt across the U.S. 

Find a CSA near you here. Other ways to increase your food sustainability include seeking out local products at farmers markets, or growing your own in a simple backyard garden, [sub]urban homestead or in a community garden. 

I hope to eventually establish a vegetable garden in our yard along with raising chickens for eggs. In the meantime, I at least know I am contributing to my local farmers and eating really well because of it!

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