For one meal kit delivery service, the distance from the farm to your doorstep is shorter than you’d expect.
From the Farmer, a well-established grocery delivery company that we’ve written about on DC Refined before, has just launched a new meal kit program that puts an emphasis on local, responsible sourcing. The kits feature ingredients sourced from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. They’re prepared and shipped out from the headquarters in Beltsville and they land on doorsteps throughout the DMV, as far as Montgomery County and Baltimore in Maryland and Manassas and Leesburg in Virginia.
The meals are curated and prepared by Chef Robert Wood, whose catering company SuperFd feeds pro athletes on four major sports teams (including the Capitals and the Wizards), and Chef Doug Singer, owner of the popular meat curing company, Singer’s Significant Meats.
I took From the Farmer’s Supper Club out for a spin, and discovered that it is a refreshing change of pace from the big name meal kit companies.
Lightning fast preparation
The first thing that surprised me about this kit was the incredibly quick prep times. They promise that you’ll get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less, and they make it happen by giving you a little jumpstart on the process.
Nick Phelps, the founder of From the Farmer, explained that this is what his customers were looking for. “After asking our customers their likes and dislikes of meal kits, we noticed a consistent theme of issue with time from start-to-plate," said Phelps. "Not to mention, just because you have the ingredients and the recipe, doesn't mean you're guaranteed to prepare it masterfully. We wanted to not only shorten the time to getting dinner on the table, but also take some of the more technical cooking or time-consuming pieces out of the equation.”
The two recipes I tried each had items that came ready-to-use—like ginger sweet potato fritters, marinated lamb meatball mix, vinaigrettes and a curry base. These simple time savers like marinating meat or combining dressing ingredients ahead of time didn’t detract from the ‘from scratch’ mentality of meal kit cooking, but it helped speed the process along in the kitchen.
In the mid-Atlantic, it can be tricky to find produce that is in season during the winter months. From the Farmer’s meal kit highlighted seasonal ingredients like kale, blue potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, turnips and carrots.
Some of the recipes featuring the limited bounty available this time of year include a ropa veija stew with yellow rice, sautéed kale and mushrooms, and a farro grain bowl with roasted butternut squash and carrots with a charred carrot sauce.
Of course, the produce and recipes will change weekly as the seasons progress. They can also accommodate a number of dietary restrictions with the various recipes.
Another bonus to local sourcing and delivery is the reduction of packaging waste. “Because we're not shipping these kits across the country, we're able to provide less packaging when we pack out items,” Phelps explains. “So much of packaging comes in the insulation of the boxes and we're happy that we don't need to do that. And because your meals are being curated, prepared and delivered all in D.C., we're cutting down on our carbon footprint by not having to ship product all around the country.”
The kits are scheduled to arrive in the early morning, before you leave for work, so you can grab the insulated reusable bag and get everything in the fridge as soon as it arrives. Since it’s not sitting on your doorstep all day, there’s no need for stacks of ice packs to keep the ingredients cool.
How to join the Supper Club
If you’re in the delivery area of From the Farmer, it’s easy to sign up for the meal kits online. The pricing comes out to about $12 per person per meal. The classic menu is designed for two people, and the delivery includes two meals per week for $49. The family menu is designed for four people and includes two meals per week for $95.
With each order, you can also add on additional produce, meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, prepared foods and other items from the online store. Deliveries can be paused at any time.