Mike's Organic Delivers The Fresh-Produce Goods
In-season local farm fare at to your doorstep (often within a day of being picked or pulled), awaits.
If you’re like me and can’t get to your town’s farmers market as much as you’d like (the White Plains market runs on Wednesdays), an excellent alternative is Mike's Organic Delivery. Mike Geller started the farm-to-doorstep business in 2009 after a trip to Botswana, where he unexpectedly saw superior produce in grocery stores than what he was used to from New York outposts. Mike’s Organic’s, which delivers sustainably grown, mostly local produce (plus meats, dairy, produce, and specialty items) directly to consumers’ doorsteps, was his solution to combat that trend and make a healthy lifestyle more accessible.
I received a complimentary spring farmer's package for review (customers can shop the website either a la carte or order seasonally curated packages) and was mostly impressed with the haul.
From Hepworth Farms (the family has been farming since 1818!) out of Milton came crisp Fuji apples, juicy bibb lettuce, and, new to me, wild ramps, an onion that has a short growing season and tastes like a cross between garlic and onion.
There were also sweet-tangy kumquats from B&J Ranch in Thermal, CA, crimini mushrooms from Bulich Farm in Catskill (they grilled up nicely with some olive oil and kosher salt during a back-patio barbecue the magazine had on a recent Friday), and green garlic out of Rogowski Farm in Orange County’s Black Dirt region. The produce value was about $25.
Among the non-produce, the outstanding item was the hand-waxed Hunter Black cheddar ($10.50) by Plymouth Cheese Factory in Plymouth Notch, VT. Full-bodied, sharp, and delicious, it’s not surprising to find out this is the second-oldest cheesemaker in the U.S.—they know their way around a cheese press.
I was skeptical about the Natural Contents Kitchen pumpkin honey mini muffins ($10), as I noticed there was no sugar in the ingredient list. What sort of muffin has no sugar? Well, apparently a delicious one; maple syrup was used as an alternative sweetener to great effectiveness.
Sky Island Organic Walnuts ($8), meatloaf ($10) from Ithaca-based The Piggery, and Vermont-based Green Jam Man blueberry jam ($10) rounded out the package.
Part of the fun of choosing a seasonal package (as opposed to a la carte) is the element of surprise—yes you’ll get some familiar items but there will likely be at least a few things you’ve never eaten before, and it’ll increase your culinary knowledge/cooking repertoire. [This writer made a wild ramp pesto paired with the rotini.]
Mike's is overall a worthwhile service for fresh, high-quality produce and other sustainable foods, though the one catch is that delivery is only available to these county towns: Chappaqua, Harrison, Rye (the location of the Westchester Magazine office, booyah!), Bedford, Armonk, Mamaroneck, Scarsdale, Bronxville, Eastchester, Pound Ridge, Rye Brook, and Larchmont (also Greenwich, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Norwalk, Stamford, Darien, and New Canaan in Fairfield County).
Take advantage of promo codes (WEST10) for $10 off a one-time order, and (WEST100) for $100 off a seasonal package.
Michael Geller’s Produce Tips
1. For crispier and juicier apples, keep them in the fridge. As soon as you leave them on the counter they start to lose their crispness, which is why the ones at the store can be mealy. They've been cooled and warmed several times before you eat them in most cases.
2. Keep your tomatoes on the counter. They should only go in the fridge if you plan on keeping them for a long time, but it will adversely affect their flavor and consistency.
3. To keep kale or a head of lettuce extra crisp and fresh, wrap in a damp paper towel and put it in your crisper.
4. Spring is wild ramp season. These delicious, edible onions grow wild in our area and are a delicacy, with a mild onion/garlic flavor. Use the leaves, stalks and bulbs.
5. Temperature, dehydration, and exposure to sunlight are the three reasons why greens wilt. Keep them damp, cool, and out of the direct light and you will extend the shelf life.