CSA_Out of the Box Collective

Written byDARLEEN PRINCIPE   Portrait Photo byIRIS SMOOT

There’s something that feels both nostalgic and trendy about getting a box of fresh goodies hand-delivered to your doorstep.

It calls to mind scenes from old black-and-white 1950s television shows, where the delivery boy from the corner market—always on a first-name basis with the main character, of course—knocks on the door, smiles and says “good morning,” then hands over a paper bag filled with groceries.

Jennifer Piette visits Maggie’s Farm in Old Agoura, one of the many local sources in the Out of the Box Collective.

Jennifer Piette visits Maggie’s Farm in Old Agoura, one of the many local sources in the Out of the Box Collective.

One end of a fresh-baked loaf of bread sticks out of the top of the bag. And even if you can’t see the rest, you just know there are fresh eggs, a jar of milk, a bag of greens and maybe a paper-wrapped cut of steak inside. It was always such a warm and neighborly image.

Unfortunately, today’s traffic-congested, fast-food-loving, convenience-store world doesn’t leave much room for that type of personalized customer service anymore. But Out of the Box Collective, a local farm-to-table home delivery service, is taking a sustainable and modern-foodie approach to classic grocery delivery.

Jennifer Piette, founder of Out of the Box, has built an ever-Debby Takikawa_Chris Millikengrowing network of local farmers, ranchers, food artisans, winemakers and chefs who bring some of the best and freshest ingredients to home kitchens in the Los Angeles and eastern Ventura County areas.

The Washington, D.C., native, who lived in Europe for 25 years before settling in Malibu with her husband and three children in 2007, says she’s always been an advocate of sustainable food distribution.

“After living abroad, I was kind of in shock over what’s happened to the American food system,” Piette says, citing childhood obesity statistics and the pervasiveness of genetically modified foods. “I feel like I have a mission that I’m honoring with Out of the Box. I’m doing something sustainable, promoting health and food literacy with children, getting people around the table together and keeping food dollars in our local community.

“To me it just felt like with this one act, in a little, tiny way, I can be working on all those different levels at the same time.”

Behind each fresh fruit or veggie Out of the Box delivers, there’s a local face. Here are just a few: From left, Steve Bitterly, Novy Ranches; Jessica Koslow, jam maker and owner of Sqirl Cafe; Barbara Spencer, Windrose Farms.

Behind each fresh fruit or veggie Out of the Box delivers, there’s a local face. Here are just a few: From left, Steve Bitterly, Novy Ranches; Jessica Koslow, jam maker and owner of Sqirl Cafe; Barbara Spencer, Windrose Farms.

One random delivery from Out of the Box contained fresh salad mix and arugula from Maggie’s Farm in Agoura Hills, a large mason jar of organic, fresh-squeezed orange juice from Somer’s Ranches in Fillmore, grass-fed steak from Dey Dey’s in Lompoc and a plethora of mouthwatering provisions from other local sources.

A hefty papaya from Santa Barbara Organics and a bottle of Verjus—a nonalcoholic white grape juice used in sauces and salad dressings—from Navarro Vineyards in Philo, Calif., were standouts in the box. The next week’s delivery may include a very different assortment of seasonal goods.

“I’m re-creating a local community of people working together, and giving that support to our customers as well, so they can transition into a different way of eating and a different lifestyle,” Piette says.

Every box, which can be ordered weekly on OutOfTheBoxCollective.com, comes with a new set of in-season ingredients. In most cases, the fresh produce has been harvested within 48 hours of delivery.

And for those home cooks who may be baffled by some of the more novel ingredients, Out of the Box follows up with an email containing recipes by renowned local chefs who are part of the collective.

“I don’t think it’s enough for people to get this box and just figure it out,” Piette says. “A lot of people are trying to get back into the kitchen. Maybe they’ve never been in the kitchen before. Cooking local means there’s a little bit of a different repertoire of ingredients.”

lavender fruit and greensWhere to get the Greens

Compiled by Ela Lindsay

As people pay closer attention to their health and well-being, there is yet another trend emerging: eating in-season, locally grown fresh food. The term for a person who strives to do this is “locavore.”

Though the term is relatively new—it was coined in 2005—the practice is reminiscent of days gone by, when food wasn’t shipped to town from thousands of miles away. Locavores eat fresh food and support local farmers at the same time.

Here’s a list of local and organic farms and stands, as well as some community-supported agriculture (CSA) and local delivery programs that offer fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables, baked goods, eggs, nuts and honey.

For information, visit:  www.cafarmersmarkets.com or www.farmbureauvc.com

 

AGOURA HILLS

California Certified Farmers Market
Agoura Hills
Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
5835 Kanan Road
www.ccfm.com/site/locations.php
(818) 591-8161

CALABASAS

California Certified Farmers Market
Old Town Calabasas
Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
23504 Calabasas Road
www.ccfm.com/site/locations.php
(818) 591-8161

CAMARILLO

Camarillo Certified Farmers Market
Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon
2220 Ventura Blvd.
All proceeds benefit Camarillo Hospice Care.
(805) 386-3584

McGrath Family Farm
March through December; roadside market open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during daylight saving time); U Pick hours 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 31
1012 W. Ventura Blvd.
Organic fruits, flowers and vegetables.
(805) 983-0333; for CSA, (805) 485-4210

FILLMORE

Bennett’s Honey Farm
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.; weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
3177 E. Telegraph Road
Raw and natural honey.
www.bennetthoney.com
(805) 521-1375

MOORPARK

Apricot Lane Farms
Call for hours and availability
10700 Broadway Road
Organic fruit, grass-fed lamb. Lemons,
avocados and pastured eggs when available.
www.ApricotLaneFarms.com
(805) 523-4444

Moorpark Farmers Market
Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m.
Village Shopping Center
742 Los Angeles Ave.
(805) 290-5670

Underwood Family Farms Market
March through November open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during daylight saving time); weekends only in December
Closed January and February
3370 Sunset Valley Road
Produce, pickled items, honey, nuts, juices, dried beans, eggs and flowers.
www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com
(805) 529-3690

NEWBURY PARK

Golden State Certified Farmers Market
Fridays from 2 to 7 p.m.
350 Via Las Brisas
www.GoldenStateCertifiedfm.com

Newbury Park Farmers Market
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Newbury Park Library parking lot
2331 Borchard Road
(323) 272-9171

OAK PARK

Oak Park Certified Farmers Market
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Oak Park High School
899 Kanan Road
Baked goods, dairy, fruit, vegetables, nuts. Proceeds benefit Oak Park High School.
www.CoastalPacificfm.com
(805) 643-6458

OJAI

Ojai Certified Farmers Market
Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
300 E. Matilija St.
Produce, bread, seafood, flowers and more.
www.OjaiCertifiedFarmersMarket.com
(805) 698-5555

Rio Gozo Farm
Weekly seasonal organic produce pickups.
Call or email first.
(805) 272-8170
riogozofarm@gmail.com

OXNARD

Downtown Oxnard Certified
Farmers Market
Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Plaza Park, 500 S. B St.
(805) 643-6458
pacific209@hotmail.com

Channel Islands Harbor Certified Farmers and Fisherman’s Market
Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
3350 S. Harbor Blvd.
(805) 643-6458
pacific209@hotmail.com

SIMI VALLEY

Simi Valley City Hall
Certified Farmers Market
Fridays 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Simi Valley Civic Center Plaza
2757 Tapo Canyon Road
(805) 643-6458
pacific209@hotmail.com

Simi Valley Town Center
Certified Farmers Market
Fridays from 4 to 8:30 p.m.
1555 Simi Town Center Way
www.Farmersmx.com
(805) 368-1185

SOMIS

Underwood Family Farms Market
Open daily year-round (except holidays)
from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (until 6 p.m. during
daylight saving time)
5696 Los Angeles Ave.
Vegetables, fruits and specialty food; also pick-your-own and a CSA program.
www.UnderwoodFamilyFarms.com
(805) 386-4660
info@underwoodfamilyfarms.com

THOUSAND OAKS

Thousand Oaks Certified Farmers Market
Thursdays from 1:30 to 6 p.m.
The Oaks mall east parking lot
222 W. Hillcrest Drive
Produce, dairy, baked goods, seafood, fruit, flowers, honey.
www.vccfarmersmarkets.com
(805) 529-6266

Wildwood Elementary School PTA
Community Farm Stand
Second Tuesday of the month during the school year from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
620 W. Velarde Drive
Organic and in-season fruit and vegetables.

VENTURA

Ventura Certified Farmers Market
Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Pacific View Mall, 3301 N. Main St.
www.vccfarmersmarkets.com/ventura
(805) 529-6266

West Ventura Certified Farmers Market
Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m.
Corner of Kellogg Street and Ventura Avenue
www.TheHarvestGathering.vpweb.com

East Ventura Certified Farmers Market
Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m.
Ventura Community Park
901 S. Kimball Road
www.TheHarvestGathering.vpweb.com

Farmer Fresh to You
Organic produce delivery.
www.FarmerFreshtoYou.net
(805) 469-7604

Hello Harvest
Delivery of local produce from organic and sustainable farms.
www.HelloHarvest.com
(805) 551-3454

WESTLAKE VILLAGE

Westlake Village Farmers Market
Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Village Glen Plaza
2797 Agoura Road
www.ccfm.com
(818) 591-8161