I’m sure I learned quite an extent of where and how my food is produced growing up on the ranch, but it wasn’t until I graduated high school, began working on others’ farms, and explored the full extent of farm and food systems that I was able to cement my understanding that just about every farmer, no matter how ill we might think their production practices, believes wholeheartedly in what he or she is doing, and is putting their heart, soul, and of course body into the work. For a couple summers in college, I had a wild hare to go adventuring, so sought out farmers from Vermont, Iowa, California, northwest Washington, etc. in which to work. Somehow, I never quite made it to those places, as even then I guess I knew my calling was not in becoming a farmer.
During that search for adventure and learning, I remember one distinct phone conversation with Dru Rivers of Full Belly Farm, in Guinda, California. It was the summer before I began grad school, a pursuit I was admittedly on the fence about. During that phone conversation, Dru shared about the importance of agricultural educators, of which I was looking to become, and we sort of mutually came to the conclusion that since I was still planning to return to school in the fall, something in the program was drawing me over the farming venture. It’s kind of funny now to realize that one phone conversation with a nice farmer I’ve never met resolved a lot of internal uncertainty about a career path which advice from friends, family, and mentors was not able to clear up.
Even though I have since stepped away from agricultural education in the formal sense, I put a lot of store in farmers: Farmers that will have me eating turnips right out of the ground at the beginning of my first visit, farmers that will re-name the agronomist’s scheduled farm tour as Rebecca’s Farm Tour, and then spend a whole summer having me traipse along behind, explaining little details all the day(s) long, and farmers that will offer a random girl some career advice over a long-distance phone call.
When Sun Basket, a new healthy meal kit service that delivers organic ingredients and delicious, easy-to-make recipes for cooking at home, contacted me about sharing some of their meals on my blog, my first desire was to look into which farms they source from. While they source from a number of farms, ranches, and sustainable fisheries, I was excited to find that Full Belly Farm happens to be one of them. Having already had a good phone chat with one of Sun Basket’s farmers was quite a nice treat.
What I like about Sun Basket, other than their super quality ingredients, is that their recipes are created by their chef who was formerly the head at a James Beard award-winning restaurant. The meals are special but not too fancy for weeknight cooking, diverse, nutritious, and always feature seasonal ingredients. There are also gluten-free, vegetarian, and paleo options each week to choose from.
Sun Basket has an in-house nutritionist, the meals take approximately 30 minutes from prep to eating, and all the ingredients are sustainably sourced from the West Coast. Keeping the need for a little more local sourcing in mind, Sun Basket meals are available to those living in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho. A subscription includes delivery of three recipes per week for two, four or six people. William and I tried two dinners and their new, two-breakfasts option. Both dinners easily stretched beyond two servings to make three to four meals for us.
We tried Indian Red Lentil + Chard Stew with Naan, Honey-Ginger Tofu with Roasted Bok Choy + Forbidden Rice, Piña Colada Smoothies, and a Baby Kale Scramble with Chermoula. Our absolute favorite was the red lentil stew (William was a big fan of the naan), but I now have all the recipes and will gladly make each one again. With every recipe, the extra mile was taken in the seasonings/herbs/sauces to make it taste special. The fact that those seasonings, herbs, and sauces all came pre-measured and prepared helped to cut down the cooking time significantly. In essence, every recipe calls for a little prepping of veg, a little hands-on cooking, and a lot of flavor at the end for the effort.
I can now say I’m a big fan. I recommend Sun Basket to my friends and family trying to eat a little healthier throughout the week, and I’ll recommend it to you. If you live on the west coast, Sun Basket is offering $30 off for your first week of service. Subscriptions are weekly and you can cancel any time, so you can even try it once and then decide whether you wish to continue. I guarantee, it’s a nice treat to not have to plan, shop for, and prep meals.