In an age where meal kits and subscription meal delivery services are the norm, it seems only natural that one of the oldest public farmers markets in the United States jumps on board. Dubbed the Pike Box CSA (short for "community-supported agriculture), the program is put on by Pike Place Market to offer fresh, Washington-grown produce to subscribers. Here at Gemini Connect, it's no secret that we love both food and farms, so it was the perfect opportunity to put two and two together by testing out the Pike Box!
Why The Pike Box?
Why choose the Pike Box over other meal subscription services? For one, the Pike Box program supports local Washington farmers by getting their goods into the hands of local Seattle residents. It's also an easier way for locals to get their hands on locally grown produce without having to brave the summer crowds of tourists at the market.
The program also runs just 20 weeks out of the year, usually June through October, to ensure that the best produce from peak growing season is included. The only catch is that you have to be located in the Seattle area to participate. Subscribers pick up their boxes on a weekly basis from Pike Place Market, or select locations around downtown Seattle.
Early this July, we had a chance to try out the Pike Box for ourselves. Here's how it went.
The Pickup Experience
Unlike big meal or produce subscription services, there's no home delivery for the Pike Box. Instead, subscribers trek to Pike Place Market on select days during a generous timeframe. We were told to pick up our box on a Wednesday, sometime during 2:00pm-6:00pm. The pickup location was in the newer wing of Pike Place Market, Marketfront, where the Downtown Summer Sounds concert series also took place.
Finding the pickup spot was easy as it was well-marked and quite obvious with the stacks of Pike Boxes waiting to be taken home. We picked up our box at around 4:00 pm and there was a decent crowd of people doing the same.
Don't Forget to Bring Your Own Bag
Although weekly produce is packed into a rather nicely designed Pike Box, subscribers are encouraged to pack the contents into their own bags. We brought our box home with us since we wanted to use the box for photos, but take note to bring your own bag for weekly pickups.
What was in the box?
Our Pike Box pickup was on July 11, so it was filled with lots of summer produce and fruits. Specifically, our box had:
- Heads of broccoli
- Purple fingerling potatoes
- Salad greens
- Red radishes with their tops
- Bing cherries
- Bonus raspberries and blueberries
Pike Box Produce Recipes
Given the hot summer heat, it seemed only natural to do as little cooking as possible with our Pike Box contents. Pretty much all of the contents went into salads, two of which are detailed in the recipes below. The berries were paired with walnuts and fresh Ellenos Greek yogurt, both of which can also be procured from vendors at Pike Place Market. And the bing cherries? We just ate them au naturale, the best way to enjoy them!
Mom's Crunchy Broccoli Salad
- 2 quarts broccoli, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
- A handful of radishes, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup peanuts
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup bacon bits (optional)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine the broccoli, red onions, raisins, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and optional bacon bits. In a small mixing bowl, combine the mayo, vegetable oil, Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, and salt. Toss the broccoli salad contents with the salad dressing mixture. Place in a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator until serving time.
Purple Potato Salad
- 500 g purple potatoes
- 1 bunch of radishes, chopped
- 1 handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 handful fresh chives, chopped
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 lemons, juiced
- 100 g creme fraiche
- sea salt (to taste)
Cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, rub the skin off with a knife. Slice potatoes into bite-size pieces. Make the salad dressing by mixing the olive oil, lemon juice, and creme fraiche. Mix the potatoes with salad dressing. Top the salad with radishes and herbs and season with sea salt to taste.
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