Did you watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer when you were young? I did. I was about 6 when that movie came out on TV and I loved it! I also loved the commercials in between that featured Norelco men’s shavers sledding over cartoon-ish snowy peaks. While those commercials are gone, Rudolph itself holds up quite nicely.
My favorite scenes were on The Island of Misfit Toys. I guess because I (and perhaps many of us) felt akin to those toys on that island. How many children over the years, and still today, feel we didn’t quite fit in. We all have hopes for a future that will make our dreams come true. For some, those dreams are quite simple, and for some a bit more difficult, but it was that aspect of this movie, in my mind, that has made it such a classic.
How does this connect to vegetables?
A few weeks ago, and for probably the 10th time, I saw an ad for Misfits Market on Facebook. This is a company that “rescues” misfit fruits and vegetables. Perhaps a cucumber is too big to put on the shelf, maybe an orange is too small, a bit blemished or misshapen. Maybe it’s a pear that’s too close to ripe, or spaghetti squash that’s too small to make a family meal (more on that later). In our house though, we’ve been grocery shopping just once every 3 or so weeks due to quarantining rules. The one thing we don’t get much of is fresh fruit and vegetables. After all, after that first week or so, they are better for feeding rabbits in the yard than working into a recipe in the house. A friend of mine had posted a few months ago that they’d started receiving produce from this company so I figured, why not? Let’s give it a try. We went for the “big box” delivering every two weeks and we could cancel whenever, and took the plunge.
Misfits Market vs those other guys
Yes, there are other companies out there offering a similar service. I have a friend who did sign up with MM and told me everything they received had been smashed and useless. Well, there’s always a random time that might happen. But the company has great ratings for service, so we’ll see. Misfits Market also offers service to a wide variety of states on the East Coast, allows you to select all the items in your box, plus add-ons of pet food, baby food, oil, vinegar, coffee, tea, power shakes, all kinds of things. And from what I’ve read, it is the more flexible of the services out there at the moment. That’s the important piece, at the moment, because these guys are getting more and more popular, more and more companies are starting up, and who knows what they’ll offer next? We chose this company because it seemed to have the most options we’d be able to take advantage of, and the price was right. I’m endorsing them from my perspective, not because I’ve tried any of the others. What I have tried though, is CSA programs.
Why not a CSA?
I love CSA. We did two different ones. One up north of Concord, NH when I was working in the Manchester area, and one near Lowell after we moved to MA. The issue we had was the inflexibility of pick up day, the fact that delivery was an added expense (MM charges but its a small fee), and the limited options available… vegetables vs. fruit vs. meat… Yes, they’d deliver in some cases, but it was much more expensive. And it definitely was not delivered to my house in January! And while there was some mixture of items, fruit and vegetables, it wasn’t at the level we wanted.
Add to that the fact that sometimes we got an abundance of salad and no fruit, or potatoes for days, but no beans, tomatoes, celery, you get the idea. The farms were SO helpful and I wouldn’t say don’t do it. But for us, in winter, we are getting a far better selection than I expected, and delivery to my house on the day of my choice. LOVE! Plus the cost is less than a CSA. Then again, CSA’s usually provide “nice-looking” vegetables and fruit, and you’re supporting local farms. That is DEFINITELY a plus, and our local CSA introduced us to oyster mushrooms, we’ve never looked back. Maybe we’ll do CSA in the summer again but for now, we’re loving our choice.
The items in our box weren’t what I’d call ugly, but there’s a reason they’d be considered “misfit,” at least in a teeny part. But they were all amazing, and so far the only thing we haven’t used is the butternut squash. And I have plans for that!
How do they ship?
Amazingly. That was our impression. They come from a fairly local supplier (one state away). They get packaged and double packaged and have padding and ice packs so the overnight trip is one they all survive well.
What did we get in our first box?
- Butternut Squash
- Spaghetti Squash
- Roma Tomatoes
- Salad Lettuce
- Bok Choi
Talk about a well-stocked fridge. But other than the kale being a little wilty, and the spaghetti squash being far too small to make the Chicken Spaghetti Squash Lasagna I’d planned, everything else was great!
An immediate breakdown of the box!
So when it arrived (a day late due to issues around traffic and the stupid DC riots maybe?), we immediately unloaded and washed it all. Lettuce got rinsed, chopped, and dried in my Pampered Chef Salad and Berry Spinner. Oh my God! I bought that thing like 10 years ago, and this is its first use. I looked up instructions online because I couldn’t figure out how the thing works.
Did I REALLY pay $73 for something to dry lettuce??? No, I didn’t. I got it as a free, or steeply-discounted, party gift. But now that I’ve used it once, I am not letting it collect dust again. Then I sliced up some of the Bok Choi and the kale and mixed that all together for salads for the week.
The trick to keeping salad greens green
I did a bit of research on this one. I find that other than romaine (which seems to have 9 lives) most lettuces go slimy and wilted within days. But if you wash, dry and chop it, then keep it in a ziplock baggy or plastic container with a piece of paper towel, it stays fresh and crisp for a very long time. Just change out the paper towel every once in a while. Ours lasted well over a week at which point we’d eaten all of it!
I also set out the boxes of tomatoes to ripen a bit more, alongside the mangos that seemed a bit hard to eat right then. The kale was no spring chicken, so I decided immediately that I’d be making vegetable soup. That night! Of course, I still had a half red cabbage from a previous recipe, and plenty of carrots, plus I could use a potato, some onion, lentils I wanted to use up. You get the picture, it was a stone soup for sure, but so delicious.
Beware the purple cabbage
Lesson learned. Don’t use purple cabbage in a soup. I made pinkish purplish soup earlier and it had a bizarre color but was more a cream soup and seemed kind of like a party in a bowl. This veggie soup was delicious but the cabbage turned a nice dark shade of navy. Felt like I was eating “Aliens from Outerspace Gruel” every time I heated it up. But it was still good. And only 1-point on my WW diet I started in January to lose the COVID 19! And did I mention, most of these items are organic!
More recipes kept popping up
When I saw all that fresh produce, my mind went wild with ideas for flavor combinations. Just a bit of research and planning and from that box I also made:
- Spaghetti Squash with a sausage and mushroom tomato sauce
- Mango oatmeal
- More salads than I can mention
- Spiced Zucchini Bread with Figs and Pumpkin Seeds
- And I’m planning to make Butternut Squash and Sugary Walnut Hand Pies
Our next box is coming Friday (or perhaps Saturday due to the holiday?) and I can’t wait till Tuesday when we get to pick all our ingredients again. I can get you a discount if you’d like to try it, just leave a message and your email and I’ll send you a link! If you like fresh vegetables and fruit, in winter, and don’t mind a carrot from the land of Misfit Produce, you may be pleasantly surprised.
If you enjoyed this blog, and if you wish you could get that zucchini bread recipe, why not follow me? Just share your email below. And if you live on the East Coast and would like a discount code, let me know in your comments!
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