Fresh City Farms – Mystery Bag

After my exciting experience in early November at Fresh City Farms (I visited their farm and warehouse), I was eager to receive my first “Mystery Bag” and get cooking. The reason I am calling it a “Mystery Bag” is because I really had no idea what items I would be receiving. Although you can ask that they NOT send you certain items, everything else in the bag is a mystery (click here if you want to see what was included in a past bag).

How does the order process work?

1)  Find out if they deliver to your area by clicking Get a Bag
2) Choose your bag subscription type, and decide how frequently (weekly or bi-weekly) you would like it delivered
3) Fresh City Farms will harvest and collect what you ordered, and deliver a bag of local, organically-grown fruits and/or veggies right to your home or to a convenient pickup location nearby!

What if I need other items besides fruits and vegetables?

You can browse their online store at any time and easily add an item to your bag. They stock hundreds of everyday groceries like milk, eggs, bread, coffee and jams. You can add grocery items to your bag for one-time delivery or as a recurring delivery with each bag you receive.

What if I am want to customize my bag?

During the sign-up process, you can let them know which produce items you never want and which substitutes you would like to receive instead. A few days before each delivery they will let you know what is coming in your next bag, and you can update your preferences accordingly. To modify your preferences, simply login and click on My Account to update your Never Sends. You can also add produce and other grocery items to your bag on a one-time or recurring basis by visiting their online store.

What is in the bag?

What’s fresh and in season!

The contents of each bag will vary from week to week, depending on what is fresh and in season at any given time. Generally each bag will contain 8-14 different produce items, and will be composed of approximately 2/3 vegetables and 1/3 fruits, with the exception of their fruit only or vegetable only bags.

Cost of bags?

$28+

How many people can a bag feed?

The $28 bag can feed 2-3 people.

The result?

You order online + They harvest and collect what you ordered = You eat healthy, chemical-free food and support local farmers. For less than you would pay at the supermarket!

So what did I get in my bag?

  • 1lb Adirondak Blue Potatoes
  • 1 lb Red Onions
  • 1 lb Watermelon Radish
  • 1 head Fennel
  • 4 Limes
  • 2 lb MacIntosh Apples
  • 1 lb Rainbow Carrots Loose
  • 1 head of Baby Bok Choy
  • 1 lb Hot House Tomatoes
  • 1 2.5oz Pea Sprouts
  • 1 bag of Arugula Living

**I do not eat onions so I gave them away (onions will be added to the “Never Sends” category). My friend loves fennel and wanted to make her favorite dish – fennel gratin (recipe here), so I gave her the fennel and kept one small stalk which I used in the coleslaw for my tacos.

When I took out each individual item from the bag, I was amazed by how fresh and delicious everything looked. I knew immediately that the dishes I was going to create had to allow the fruits and vegetables to speak for themselves. So I rummaged through my kitchen and pulled out ingredients that I felt would marry well with the products I was given. And well, it was freezing outside and I did not have the willpower (a.k.a. I was feeling incredibly lazy) to make the trek to the store to pick up groceries. So instead I worked with what I already had in my kitchen.

Items I found and had planned to use:

  • Left over chicken (purchased already cooked at Loblaws for $6.99)
  • Puff pastry (2.99 at Loblaws which I did not end up using)
  • 1 Egg (did not end up using)
  • Piece of bread (0.79 cents at Loblaws)
  • Tortillas
  • Mayonnaise
  • Oil
  • Feta cheese

These are the dishes I came up with (recipes below). Please note that I like to keep things simple when cooking, so my recipes are not fancy. I believe that cooking should be fun and realistic–sometimes we just have to work with what we already have available to us.  *Every dish took less than 45 minutes to make.

  • Chicken Tacos
  • Bruschetta
  • Chips
  • Bok Choy and Chicken Stir Fry
  • Sweet Tea
  • Apple Tarts

Let me show you the process….. 

Mystery Bag

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Baby Bok Choy

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 Living Arugula

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 Pea Sprouts

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 Hot House Tomatoes

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 MacIntosh Apples

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 Limes

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 Adirondak Blue Potatoes

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 Rainbow Carrots

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 Watermelon Radish

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 Chicken Tacos

Ingredients

  • Shredded chicken (if you do not have chicken you can use fish, tuna, beef, tofu, pork, etc.)
  • Tortillas (alternatively you can use: naan, fried wonton wrappers, bread, paratha, nachos, etc.)
  • Limes
  • Mayonnaise
  • Hot sauce
  • Oil (ideally olive oil)
  • Watermelon Radish
  • Rainbow carrots
  • Pea Sprouts
  • Stalk of fennel

Putting it together

  1. Wash vegetables
  2. Peel radish, fennel and carrots
  3. Thinly cut radish, fennel (looks like celery) and carrots (I purchased a slicer at Canadian Tire for $9.99 and it was one of the best purchases I have ever made—it saved me a lot of time and frustration). Click here for more information
  4. To make a spicy mayonnaise mix 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise with a spice of your choice in a small container/plate – I used chili powder, but you can use any hot sauce you have on hand. I added a little bit of chili powder at a time until I got the flavor I was looking for. To make it runnier I added a teaspoon of olive oil. The oil is not necessary, but it makes it easier to work with when using it to coat vegetables
  5. Coat vegetables with spicy mayonnaise (add a little bit at a time – you do not want the mayonnaise to overpower the vegetables)
  6. You can either fry the tortilla to make a tostada (fry in a light coat of oil), or just heat a pan and place tortilla on the pan for a minute on each side or until warm and malleable
  7. Assemble
  8. Squeeze lime on final product
  9. Enjoy!

**I actually added a lot of arugula and pea sprouts (so good!) to the tacos I ate — I only showed restraint for the photos.

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Baby Bok Choy and Chicken Stir Fry

(I kept this dish very simple, but you can add peanuts, herbs, spices, and other vegetables to pump up this dish)

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of bok choy
  • 1 cup of shredded chicken
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of saffron (found a bag hidden in a drawer—bought this bag when I was backpacking in Europe)

Putting it together (keep heat on low)

  1. Wash bok choy and separate (make sure you wash carefully — dirt hides in-between the leaves)
  2. In a large pan melt butter
  3. When butter is melted add shredded chicken and mix for about 2 minutes
  4. Once chicken is coated add one teaspoon of salt and the saffron and mix for about 1 minute (you can substitute saffron with minced garlic, herbs, ginger, curry powder, pepper, or any other condiment you like)
  5. Add bok choy
  6. Cover with a lid for 2 minutes or until bok choy shrinks a little
  7. Mix chicken with bok choy
  8. Add another teaspoon of salt
  9. Taste a piece of chicken, and if you feel it needs more spices, like salt, then add more (make sure you only add a little bit at a time—you can always add spice, but not remove)
  10. Do not overcook the bok choy (it only needs to cook for about 3-5 minutes). You want it to still have a crunch to it when you bite into it
  11. Remove from heat and serve

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Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • Tomatoes
  • Cheese (I used Feta but you can use any cheese you like)
  • Butter
  • Arugula
  • Pea Sprouts
  • Lime
  • Bread

Putting it together

  1. Wash tomatoes, arugula and pea sprouts
  2. Dry tomatoes, arugula and pea sprouts with paper towel or cloth
  3. Cut tomatoes into cubes
  4. Cut bread (you can toast it or serve cold)

If you want it warm (for cold option, do not cook in oven):

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Spread butter on bread (you can use garlic butter as well)
  3. Squeeze lime on to cubed tomatoes
  4. Mix tomatoes with arugula and pea sprouts
  5. Place cubed tomato mixture on bread
  6. Top with cheese
  7. Place on cookie sheet or foil
  8. Cook in oven for 10-15 minutes
  9. Serve with fresh pea sprouts on top

I chose to eat mine cold because I don’t really care for cooked tomatoes.

**I actually added a lot of arugula and pea sprouts to the bruschettas I ate — I only showed restraint for the photos.

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Adirondak Blue Potatoes and Watermelon Radish Chips

Ingredients

  • Adirondak Blue Potatoes
  • Watermelon Radish
  • Salt
  • Oil (olive oil preferred)

Putting it together

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. Wash potatoes and radish
  3. Peel potatoes and radish (you don’t have to peel them, but I did)
  4. Cut into thin slices (I used the slicer to get them perfectly uniformed and thin–same slicer I used to cut the vegetables for the chicken tacos)
  5. Rinse in water then pat dry with paper towel or cloth
  6. Put sliced potatoes and radish in a large bowl
  7. In the bowl coat radish and potatoes with olive oil and salt until only just coated—too much oil will prevent them from getting crispy (you can add pepper and herbs as well if you like)
  8. Lay out potatoes and radish on a baking tray lined with baking parchment (if you don’t have parchment paper, put a thin coating of oil on baking pan to prevent sticking)
  9. Put in oven
  10. After 5-7 minutes check to make sure they are not burning. These chips cook quickly, so make sure you check on them after the 5 minute mark
  11. Once crispy (they should be brown only on the edges) pull them out and serve

I loved these chips alone, but if you like to dip your chips, you can dip them in either ketchup or in a simple aioli (recipe here)

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Sweet Tea

Ingredients

  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 6 tea bags
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 6 cups cool water
  • Slices of lime

Putting it together

  1. Sprinkle a pinch of baking soda into a 64-ounce, heat-proof, pitcher
  2. Pour in boiling water, and add tea bags
  3. Cover, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes
  4. Remove tea bags, and discard
  5. Stir in sugar until dissolved
  6. Pour in cool water, then refrigerate until cold (to speed up the process I put it in the freezer for an hour)
  7. Cut slices of lime, and drop them in the glass when serving (not before as they will get soggy and bitter)

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Apple Tarts

I had initially planned to use puff pastry for my tarts, but it turns out that if you keep puff pastry in the fridge, it goes bad (it was nasty!). So I was going to go to plan B (make pancakes and use the apples as a topping), but when I was rummaging through my cupboards and fridge, I found mini pie shells in the freezer that had forgotten I had! So I went with those.

Ingredients

  • Frozen pie shells (I used these)
  • Apples
  • Cinnamon (to taste)
  • Sugar (to taste)
  • Raisins (optional)

Putting it together

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. Peel apples and cut into cubes
  3. In a pan heat about one tablespoon of oil or butter (or until pan is coated)
  4. Throw in apples, sugar, cinnamon and raisins and cook until apples become tender, but not soft (about 10 minutes)
  5. Place pie shells on a cookie sheet and fill them with the apple mixture
  6. Cook in oven until golden brown (about 20 minutes)
  7. Serve

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IMG_8653IMG_8656IMG_8661For more information about Fresh City Farms, contact them at 1-888-537-0333 or send them a message here.

Happy eating! ♥

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