Mystery organic vegetable ID'd - Fennel!!

Roadtrip_001_1I subscribed to an organic grocery delivery service a few weeks ago - Urban Organic.  These types of services are sprouting up all over town and they've received good coverage, including a recent NY Times article.  This particular outfit had a booth set up during the Smith Street Fair in Cobble Hill.  I was wooed by their value proposition.  They source organic vegetables and fruit from farms upstate and deliver to your door every other week.  I ordered a small box for $25 - the smallest of their three sizes - and added a few staples like yogurt and soy milk to my standard delivery.  On paper, the concept is great, especially for a vegetarian like me.  In practice, however, I've found myself with mystery vegetables that I wouldn't likely purchase at the local market.  Some of the recent surprises included: fennel, dandelion and kale.  I have enough carrots stored up in my fridge to keep bugs bunny occupied for months.  Don't get me wrong, the idea of working with new vegetables is fun - as was evidenced by the sauteed kale dish I prepared a few weeks ago - but the quantity and frequency with which these things are delivered are unrealistic for anyone but the most experienced and frequent chef.  For someone with an active work schedule who only gets to cook a few times a week, even the smallest box yields much rotten food.  Then again, this scenario is still better than government paying farm subsidies to limit production, and ultimately, the money comes from the same place.  At least this way, we are supporting organic farmers.

By Josh Guttman

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