The Chef’s Market Box, a start-up recently launched by the Mission Community Market and Mission Mercado in San Francisco, is a great option for the home cook who does not have time to shop but loves to slave over a stove. The service brings together two emerging trends. Community supported agriculture (CSA) keeps surging in popularity, bringing the farmers’ market to your doorstep. And more entrepreneurs squeezed out of a stagnant economy are starting home cooked meal delivery services, a perfect solution for busy professionals who work long hours and are close to maxing out their credit cards thanks to the Whole Foods Hot Bar.
This service, however, is probably the greatest “almost” do-it-yourself cooking innovation since the Betty Crocker cake mix line, which reduced housewives’ guilt by still requiring them to crack eggs, launched decades ago. Like those boxes of cake mix, users have almost all of the ingredients, and just need to have a few things in their pantry such as spices and oil. Unlike Betty Crocker, the Chef’s Market Box delivers – and is a tad healthier.
Signing up for the service is simple. Users visit Mission Mercado’s site on GoodEggs.com and choose a date, time and location at which they receive the box. Inside the box are a bevy ingredients for the meal. This week, for example, customers who want to try out a savory vegetable alicha recipe will score a box including organic carrots, cauliflower, green beans, along with fresh turmeric and a bag of couscous. Omnivores who want to add some protein have the option to add a package of lamb merguez sausage from a local butcher. And best of all, a recipe for the alicha, penned by local chef Eskender Aseged, is tucked in with all the ingredients along with a list of of staples needed to whip up the meal. At $19 for two servings, the price is cheaper than eating out and of course, still cheaper than that ridiculous Whole Foods Hot Bar.
For anyone who tried a CSA delivery service but was scared off by all that Italian kale (bake it at a high heat) or the purple UFO-shaped kohlrabi (eat it raw with a little olive oil, Meyer lemon juice and salt), The Chef’s Market Box is the way to go. DIY meals just got a tad more local and sustainable.
Photo courtesy Furgus McGrath.