Quinciple: Bringing the Farm to the City
Sometimes I fantasize about living in a little farmhouse surrounded by acres of rolling green hills. How nice would it be to walk out to my own vegetable garden and pick fresh lettuces, sun-warmed tomatoes, cucumbers, and handfuls of herbs for a big salad, with a detour to the chicken coop for some just-laid eggs? There would be a hammock under a big old tree, and a long farm table out back for dinner parties. We'd grill local meats and fish in the summer, and eats lots of fresh vegetables from the garden. The table would be lined with candles in mason jars, and little bouquets of wildflowers.
This little farm fantasy is of course, just that–a fantasy. We live in New York City, in a sixth-floor walkup, with a small terrace (for which we are incredibly grateful!). I can barely keep boxwoods alive on the roof, so I'm not sure how I'd manage a garden. I still cook all of the time, and even grill quite a bit (in a grill pan that sets off the fire alarm every. single. time). But we don't live close to a Farmer's Market, and buying locally from the grocery can be limiting. However, Brandon recently made a brilliant discovery that perfectly marries our urban life with my farm fantasy: Quinciple.
This new Brooklyn-based service delivers a curated box of farm-fresh goodies to your doorstep weekly. It's similar to a CSA, only more diversified: each week the box provides some sort of protein, grain, dairy, and of course plenty of vegetables and fruit. Founded by Kate Galassi, a former forager for The Spotted Pig and The Breslin, and food-loving architect Markus Jacobi, Quinciple essentially brings the farmer's market to you. They've built a strong network of small, mostly-organic farmers within driving distance of NYC, and they source their products directly from the farms. (In the winter, when East Coast produce is less available, they source some products from small farms in California and Florida). Each week includes a completely different selection of 12-15 seasonal items, posted online in advance so you know what you'll be getting.
We've gotten two deliveries so far, and I'm completely smitten. This past week's delivery (pictured up top) contained a gorgeous array of rainbow carrots, organic snow peas, wonderfully spicy greens (like tatsoi and mizuna), goat cheese, farm eggs, some of the best yogurt I've ever had, beautiful little strawberries, chorizo, half a loaf of rustic bread, onions, new potatoes, sweet little shisito peppers, and a bunch of mixed herbs (marjoram, savory, rosemary). All of this for just $49.90 - delivered to our apartment by cargo tricycle! It's been so fun to plan menus around these beautiful ingredients. This past week I made an herb-roasted chicken, which I roasted with the potatoes, onions, and carrots, plus a big green salad with lemon vinaigrette. I did a tapas night one night, and made crostini from the bread, smeared it with goat cheese, topped with fresh peach slices and marjoram. I've eaten the yogurt and strawberries for breakfast, eaten the eggs for breakfast and lunch, and tonight I'm going to make some sort of stir fry with the peppers and snow peas.
Each week, the food comes with a packet of little cards, detailing the farms who sourced the products, along with recipe cards featuring each ingredient. Are you convinced yet? If you live in Manhattan (below 76th street), sign up now. They deliver on Monday nights if you're on the east side, and Thursday nights on the west side. They don't deliver in Brooklyn (yet), but you can pick up a box at various locations on Thursday nights for just $37.90. Sign up here if you're interested!
I may never live on a farm, but I'm at least happy to have the chance to cook and eat like I do :) And while I'm on the farm topic, here are a few other things I love:
-This book, about a NYC journalist-turned-farmer. It's a crazy-but-true story, and I'm hooked!
-This adorable farmhouse, that we rented last summer up in Leelanau County, Michigan (thus, my farm fantasy!).