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    This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Louisville Magazine. 
    To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, please click here.

    Multiple times per day I ponder the question, “Does the Western world need to hear one more word about food?” Then I pick up my phone to find this text: “Woman in our office baked zucchini bread, brought in two loaves for all to share. Big excitement till she unwrapped it and it smelled like garbage. Tasted worse. Turned out she made it with cucumbers!”

    Whoops! Even the office dog only sniffed it and slinked away. (Granted, he’s a tiny terrier and not the kind of garbage hounds living in my house that would eat a boiled lampshade if you put it in their bowls, but still.) I can see how the mistake might happen if you were in the grocery and had never handled a green vegetable before. OK, that’s harsh. I can see how it could happen if you were in, say, Kroger and were using your phone to check off the ingredients list from the Epicurious website while simultaneously reading your nonstop Fear Loop notifications and then also quickly sending a photo of one of the most obscene-looking of the squashes along with the message, “Anthony Weiner or David Cameron?”

    Though botanically related, a cucumber is so not a zucchini. Yes, both are long, cylindrical and dark green (and come in a variety of sizes), but the difference starts with their skin: cucumbers are cold and naturally waxy, while zukes are dry and rough. The texture of their flesh is even more differentiated. Cukes are crisp and juicy inside and, in general, at their best the closer they stay to their raw newly-sliced-into state. Zucchini on the other hand becomes far more palatable as it cooks, absorbing other flavors.

    Note that the name of the heartthrob actor of the moment is not Benedict Zucchinibatch.

    Back to the well-meaning officemate with her loaf of inedible bread. It got me thinking about how, had she bought her vegetables at a local farmers’ market, any of the helpful folks behind their stalls could have happily explained the differences and perhaps even offered a recipe suggestion. But here’s the thing: The notion of going to the farmers’ market intimidates many people I talk to — from novices to serious knife-wielders. For some, it’s a question of etiquette: Will it be rude to sample some treat and then not buy anything? Am I supposed to tip the musicians? Maybe if you’re a masterful multitasker who grew up popping Adderall like M&M’s, you can do it all — check out the vibe, socialize with friends and neighbors, manage to buy all the weekly groceries for your household. I am not one of these people; I am a compartmentalizer. Some would call me a control freak. In my house, my nickname is Adolphina. 

    But more than anything except a spectacular-looking pair of comfy boots, I want always to have fresh local food, ethically produced. And this is why, for me, Green Bean Delivery is the best thing that has come along in ages in these parts.

    Bottom line: With a minimum order of $35, a green-and-white van will deliver to your door a cooling-pack-lined bin of whatever food you choose. We’re not just talking collard greens here, but full grocery loads. In addition to the bounty of local vegetables (learn the difference between cucumber and zucchini!) and fruit, Green Bean has meats and fish, dairy and eggs, baked goods (including Blue Dog bread), juices, coffee, tea, selectively outsourced tropical fruits and every kind of snack and or breakfast food. (You’ll definitely want to sample the cornucopia of sausage varieties.)

    If you’re rolling your eyes thinking, “Here’s this woman again, going on about another vegetable basket,” look ’em up. When you do, you’ll find hundreds of available grocery items. You’ll find succinct explanations of how Green Bean works in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio with a consortium of family farmers, how serious the company is dedicated to zero food wastage. 

    So it must be pricey, right? No. In fact, when I did a price comparison over several weeks, I discovered I’d spent roughly two-thirds of what I’d spent the previous month on groceries (more like one-third if shopping at Whole Foods). Meat and certain dairy products are the only exception, but animal products, like petroleum products, should be more expensive. (I won’t go into that tirade again here. See: Schlosser, Eric. See: Waters, Alice. See: Pollan, Michael.) A sample small bin ($35) could contain a half-gallon of Traders Point milk, a loaf of Dave’s Killer Bread, a chunk of organic raw milk Cheddar cheese, two avocados, seven Bartlett pears, a pound of green beans, two lemons, two large sweet onions and a Moondance almond-blueberry coffee cake. Or let’s say you are trying to get your post-adolescent kid motivated to buy his own groceries, but you know if left to his own devices he will order a pizza every night, then have it for breakfast the next morning. His sample bin might begin with a couple of packages of Annie’s macaroni and cheese, a bunch of bananas, a carton of eggs, a slab of bacon, popcorn, cereal, granola bars, nuts and some Nancy’s bagels. Sign the kids up, and they can start customizing on their own. 

     

    So now you’re thinking: What if I order too much because my eyes are bigger than my stomach? They’re not. No one’s have ever been, which is why this has always been, literally, the worst cliché in the language. But the real reason you won’t order too much is because Green Bean lets you customize your bin. Gone are the CSA days of, “Rutabagas are the only thing harvested this week, so here are four sacks of those.” But isn’t this whole thing just one more way to be enslaved to the ’puter and not out in the real world? Talk to me after you’ve taken down your Facebook account. What if I decide I miss going to the grocery because it’s so much fun to be pissed at everyone in line in front of me and at all the Confederate flag license plates in the parking lot? You can cancel delivery whenever you want. What if I don’t know what to make out of some of the offerings? Green Bean provides recipes every week just in case.

    Cucumber (not zucchini!) and mango relish with yogurt

    1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded,and cut in ¼-inch cubes
    1 large mango, peeled and cut into¼-inch cubes
    1 medium jalapeño, seeded and minced
    ¼ cup plain yogurt
    ½ teaspoon sugar
    ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

    In a small bowl, combine ingredients. Season to taste with salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to blend flavors.

    To read more on Green Bean Delivery Service, click here

     

    This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Louisville Magazine. 
    To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, please click here.

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