Alibi V.26 No.40 • Oct 5-11, 2017 

Food News

Rail Yards Market Offers Ingredient-and-Recipe Kits for At-Home Cooks

Cooking farm-fresh meals for your family is easier than ever

For those who don’t have much experience cooking, or who simply don’t have the time to grocery shop and plan meals each week, the increasingly popular ingredient-and-recipe meal kits like Blue Apron and HelloFresh are an accessible way to start making healthy meals for your family. These subscription services—which send you a kit in the mail that contains all the ingredients and instructions you need to prepare a specific meal—help the time-strapped or culinarily shy venture into the kitchen.

Though these services definitely fit the bill in terms of convenience, there’s something they don’t do: use locally-produced ingredients in their recipes. And even if each ingredient in their kits comes from an organic, sustainable producer, that ingredient probably traveled for hundreds of miles to get packed together in the company’s distribution center into a box and then shipped out to you. And like, not to get too preachy, but all those miles make for a pretty big carbon footprint.

If you, like me, both care deeply about supporting local agriculture and also are not very good at cooking, then I have some good news for you: The good people over at the Rail Yards Market are creating their own ingredient-and-recipe kits using ingredients sourced from the farmers and producers that sell at the popular Sunday market.

These meal baskets each include a recipe for one hearty dish and most of the ingredients to create it, sourced locally. Also included is a card with tips on how to use the necessary cooking equipment and information on the farms and vendors who supply some of the ingredients. Each basket feeds 2, and costs a sliding scale of $10 to $25. If dishes like fresh vegetable tempura with quinoa and lentil salad, stuffed squash with seared shishito peppers and peach gazpacho with zucchini hash sound good to you, then you’ll likely enjoy what you make with these meal kits.

Currently, you can get your hands on these meal baskets by picking them up at the market, which is open from 10am to 2pm every Sunday at the Rail Yards (777 First Street SW) until the end of October. You can also buy month-long subscriptions at the market, or on railyardsmarket.org. By subscribing, you’ll also get a Rail Yards canvas tote bag and a $5 token good for any product for sale at the market.

Though the meal basket program will likely stop for the season once the Rail Yards Market closes at the end of October, they’ll be back in the fall with tasty new dishes for you to prepare.

Robert Hoberg, the Food and Nutrition Coordinator at Rail Yards Market, hopes that this new program will be an accessible entrance into cooking healthy and sustainably-sourced food for both newcomers and longtime customers of the market. “It's a great way to support a number of [local] producers in one purchase,” he says, “And it really helps us take steps toward the vibrant and resilient future so many of us would like to see.”