The Produce Project’s Seasonal Produce Baskets offer a balanced selection of our favorite, seasonal items, highlighting the farmers and perhaps introducing you to a flavor you’ve been missing your whole life! Each basket contains a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, flavorings, greens, and a weekly snack or special artisanal treat.
I recently renewed my commitment to The Produce Project and man have I missed these baskets! Fresh, local, sustainable, and so stinkin’ cute. What I love the most is that every basket I get, I have to put my thinking cap on. We all gravitate towards ingredients/foods we are most comfortable and familiar with when shopping at the market. I do always love to buy what is in season and what is affordable, but I also love to buy what I am guaranteed to eat rather than foods to taste and hope for the best. When first going vegan, I struggled with trying new foods, and exploring raw foods I had not previously had experience with.
I actually began ordering baskets from The Produce Project during my first year being vegan and moving back to Los Angeles from Northern California. My coworker, Michelle, introduced me to the company and said that it was the perfect opportunity for me to explore new and delicious options in what I, at the time, viewed to be a “restrictive” diet. The Produce Project was a part of what I deem to be the “transformation” of my taste buds. I never used to eat fruits and vegetables, or would even desire to eat them, so you could only imagine how limited my views were in regards to variety. Every time I would get my produce basket, I would be inspired to try out new flavors and recipe ideas based upon the items in the basket. Not only were the fruits and vegetables always new and exciting to me, but since they were sourced straight from the farm, and grown with love :), they always tasted so fresh and bursted with flavor. I also should include that I had requested that my wild card items be vegan, and they never ever have forgotten that! Some week’s the wild card items are items such as eggs, so they would kindly replace them with vegan options, such as raisins or nuts.
The Petite Produce Basket is perfect for busy folks or for those who are new in the kitchen. The basket always contains 2 fruits, 1 leafy green, 2-3 ‘hearty’ vegetables and a wild card item. The basket also always contains a detailed list of the basket contents and recipes to inspire me in the kitchen.
This week, with my Petite Produce basket, I decided I would create a summer salad. The basket included:
- Fruit: 1 Sugar Cube Melon from Weiser Farms in Tehachapi, CA
- Leafy Greens: 1/2 lb. Baby Kale Mix from Windrose Farms in Paso Robles, CA
- Hearty Vegetables:
- 1/2 lb. Lemon Boy Heirloom Tomatoes from Munak Ranch in Paso Robles, CA
- 1 bunch Mokum Orange Carrots from Jimenez Family Farms in Santa Ynez, CA
- 1/2 lb. Romano Beans from Jimenez Family Farms in Santa Ynez, CA
- Complementary Vegetable: 1/2 lb. Lemon Cucumbers from Munak Ranch in Paso Robles, CA
- “Wild Card” Item: 1 snack pack of Pistachios from Santa Barbara Pistachios in Santa Barbara, CA
The only item that I did not include in the salad was the sugar cube melon, for I usually eat melon alone or before any other food (for proper food combining and digestion). I actually ended up enjoying the mini melon as I prepared this salad. This salad can be made completely raw by just leaving out the cooked romano beans and using truly raw pistachios! The longer this salad sits, the tastier it gets, so I would suggest taking that into consideration and preparing it early. Leave out the pistachios when doing this, as they might soften, and sprinkle them on top only when the salad is served.
- ½ lb. Baby kale mix or any baby greens of choice, roughly chopped
- ½ lb. Lemon boy heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- ½ lb. Romano beans* + 3 cups water
- 5 Mokum orange carrots, julienned + the greens of 2 carrots, chopped
- ½ lb. Lemon cucumbers, sliced
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped, roughly chopped
- 2 Ataulfo mangos, diced
- ¼" fresh ginger, roughly chopped
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1-2 tbsp red onion, diced
- 2-3 tbsp Pistachios, crushed
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add in the Romano beans, and allow them to cook for 5 minutes. Strain them from the pot and set aside to cool.
- In large bowl, combine the kale and carrot greens. Set aside.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the mango, ginger, lime and onion. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the dressing over your kale and carrot greens, and massage for a minute or two.
- Add in the remaining ingredients, except for the pistachios, and toss until combined.
- The salad may be served immediately, but I would suggest letting it sit for at least 1 hour.
- To serve, top with crush pistachios.