Food

Dinner Plans

Catching up with ACME Farms + Kitchen

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Even though I was expecting to find it there, the brown ACME Farms + Kitchen box sitting on my front doorstep when I returned home from work on a recent Thursday gave me a thrill.

I’d ordered a small “Locavore” box ($59), but wasn’t sure what would be inside. However, knowing in advance that the contents of the cardboard container were nothing but locally and regionally sourced foodstuffs was a hint that plenty of goodness was to be found within.

I wasn’t disappointed. As I unpacked item after item—from chilled Dungeness from Linda Brand Crab to Lagana radiatore pasta to pinto beans, lentils, Willamette Valley havarti, Three Sisters corn tortillas, garlic scapes, parsley, lettuce, spring onions, potatoes, scallions and spinach—it became clear I wouldn’t need to do much shopping for dinner in the coming week. And the three printed recipes included in my “surf” order let me know exactly what to do with the bounty on the kitchen counter.

Six years after cofounders Cara Piscitello and Joy Rubey started ACME as a creative solution for busy families (like theirs) wanting to cook healthy meals using locally grown and produced ingredients, the duo’s customer list has grown from a few dozen to more than 5,000. They’re based in Bellingham, but delivery service now extends to stops in communities from Whatcom to King County.

“We’ve developed a sustainable model for home delivery of locally sourced meal kits,” Piscitello says. “We make it very easy for our customers to shop for and eat good food grown right here in our region, cutting the number of miles their food travels. We’ve even figured out a way to do it with very minimal recyclable packaging.”

In addition to helping the environment and feeding the masses, ACME’s reach also extends to the local economy. In 2016, AF+K purchased and delivered more than 10,800 dozen pasture-raised eggs, 10,000 pounds of grass-fed beef, approximately 10,000 bunches of kale, more than 20,000 pounds of fresh fruit, 12,000 pounds of fresh pasta, and just under 16,000 loaves of fresh bread. On a typical week, kits include items from 20 or more local famers and producers.

This was welcome information to have when I started my own edible experiment. With the addition of pantry items I already had on hand, the contents of the box helped feed me and my plus-one for nearly a week.

The first night, I made Radiatore with Crab + Gremolata and discovered that toasted breadcrumbs are the perfect topping for fresh pasta. A couple of nights later, I added ground beef to tortillas, cheese and various veggies for amazing Zucchini + Bean Tostadas (leftovers, plus some of the spinach, translated into a taco salad I brought to work the following day). And the Warm Lentil + Potato Salad made soon thereafter was the perfect pairing for barbecued hotdogs. It, too, provided lunchtime leftovers.

Even after creating these culinary concoctions, I still had a full head of lettuce, a handful of scallions, some spinach and a few sprigs of parsley which were all put to use in the following days. Nothing went to waste, and I ended up expanding my cooking repertoire.

Aaron Neville
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