Farmers Market Meal Kits

This year Illinois Stewardship Alliance has partnered with Driftwood Cocktail and Eatery to bring a new concept to the Springfield Old Capitol Farmers Market: meal kits. The kits, in the style of Blue Apron, Sun Basket, and other popular meal kit delivery services, will feature perfectly-portioned, fresh, seasonal ingredients with a simple recipe; however, unlike the competition, all of the ingredients will be sourced locally from Central Illinois farmers. Stay tuned for upcoming offerings!

Saturday, June 24th

Vegetarian Dinner
Sweet & Sour Broccoli, Summer Squash, and Kohlrabi Rice Bowl
Broccoli and Summer Squash from Suttill’s Gardens (Springfield, IL), Kohlrabi from Gregory’s Orchard & Garden (Lynnville, iL), Scallion from R & R Hydroponic Farm (Chambersville, IL), Sweet & Sour sauce made in-house at Driftwood Cocktail & Eatery. 

Pork Shoulder Dinner
Sweet & Sour Pork Shoulder, Broccoli, Kohlrabi, and Rice Bowl
Pork Shoulder and Scallion from R & R Hydroponic Farm (Chambersville, IL), Broccoli from Suttill’s Gardens (Springfield, IL), Kohlrabi from Gregory’s Orchard & Garden (Lynnville, iL), Sweet & Sour sauce made in-house at Driftwood Cocktail & Eatery. 

Saturday, June 17th

Vegetarian Dinner
Cornmeal grits, stewed tomatoes, radishes, and sauteed kale
Cornmeal from Garden Gate Farm (Fairbury, IL), Tomatoes from R & R Hydroponic Farm (Chambersburg, IL), Radishes from Gregory’s Orchard (Lynville, IL), Kale from Suttill’s Gardens (Springfield, IL).

Ham Dinner
House-cured Ham (nitrate free…which is why it doesn’t have the pink coloring), cornmeal grits, stewed tomatoes.
Cornmeal from Garden Gate Farm (Fairbury, IL), Tomatoes and Ham from R & R Hydroponic Farm (Chambersburg, IL, Ham is nitrate free and cured in-house at Driftwood.

Saturday, June 10th

Vegetarian Dinner
Fried Egg, Israeli Couscous, Sauteed Kale & New Potato, Rhubarb Honey
Egg and Kale from Parkes Family Produce (Pleasant Plains), New Potato from Gregory’s Orchard (Lynville, IL), Rhubarb Honey made by Driftwood with Rhubarb from Suttill’s Gardens (Springfield, IL) and Honey from Honey Creek Farm (Springfield, IL)  

Pork Dinner
Pork Belly, Sauteed Kale and New Potato with Rhubarb Honey
Pork Belly from R&R Hydroponics Farm (Chambersville, IL), Kale from Parkes Family Produce (Pleasant Plains), New Potato from Gregory’s Orchard (Lynville, IL), Rhubarb Honey made by Driftwood with Rhubarb from Suttill’s Gardens (Springfield, IL) and Honey from Honey Creek Farm (Springfield, IL)  

Saturday June 3rd

Vegetarian Dinner
White Bean Cake, Tomato Jam, Kohlrabi Slaw
Tomatoes from R & R Hydroponics Farm (Chambersburg); Kohlrabi and cabbage from Gregory’s Orchard and Garden (Jacksonville); Radishes from Garden Gate Farm (Fairbury); Tomato jam and Slaw dressing homemade by Driftwood Cocktail and Eatery (Springfield)

Pork Chop Dinner
Boneless Pork Chop, Tomato Jam, Kohlrabi Slaw
Pork and tomatoes from R & R Hydroponics Farm (Chambersburg); Kohlrabi and cabbage from Gregory’s Orchard and Garden (Jacksonville); Radishes from Garden Gate Farm (Fairbury); Tomato jam and Slaw dressing homemade by Driftwood Cocktail and Eatery (Springfield)

Saturday May 27th

Vegetarian Dinner
Fried Egg, Cornmeal Pancakes,
Sautéed Asparagus and Radish with Lemon and Chive
$16 (serves two)
Eggs from Parkes Family Produce (Pleasant Plains); Cornmeal, Radish, and Chive from Garden Gate Farm (Fairbury);  Asparagus from Jefferies Orchard (Springfield).

Chicken Dinner
Herb-Roasted Chicken,
Asparagus-Radish-Sorrel Salad with Rhubarb Vinaigrette
$20 (serves two)
Chicken from Windy Knoll Farm (McLean County); Asparagus from Jefferies Orchard (Springfield); Radish and Sorrel from Garden Gate Farm (Fairbury); Rhubarb from Suttil’s Gardens (Springfield). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Farmers Market Meal Kits?

The growing popularity of meal kit delivery services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh is a topic of concern for many small farmers. This past January, at the farmer-led Routes to Farm Summit in Starved Rock, more than 100 farmers across the state gathered to discuss the barriers facing diversified fruit and vegetable farmers today. Many farmers reported a downtown in their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) sales, and meal kit delivery services were cited as one suspected cause. The national non-profit organization, Small Farm Central, has reported similar concerns from their CSA farmers as well. CSA shares and farmers markets are farmers’ primary methods for direct-to-consumer sales, and often, a primary method of sales in general, so a downturn in sales in either area can spell disaster for many small farms.

Both CSAs and meal kit delivery services share a lot in common- both require an upfront payment for a scheduled package of seasonal ingredients, but while the farmer can only provide ingredients, meal kit delivery services are able to take those ingredients one step further by slicing, pre-portioning, and pre-packaging ingredients, as well as providing home delivery—all elements that most small farmers simply do not have the capacity to implement. What’s more, national companies like Blue Apron have scale on their side. They can purchase products from large-scale wholesale producers across the U.S. at prices that smaller, diversified farmers simply cannot compete with.

Hearing the concerns of producers, and recognizing the consumer demand for convenient, healthy meals,  Illinois Stewardship Alliance teamed up with chef Ryan Lewis of Driftwood Cocktail and Eatery to pilot a meal kit of their own, made with local ingredients from farmers in Central Illinois, at the Old Capitol Farmers Market in Springfield.

“When the opportunity came up to give the meal kit idea a try, I jumped at it because anytime we can entice people to support our local farmers and farmers markets then it’s worth trying. Whenever we can help keep our money in the local economy and our farmers on the land, it’s a win for everyone involved,” says Chef Lewis of the new project.

“The problem facing many shoppers today is that they want to do the right thing; they want to support their community and make sure animals are raised responsibly and natural resources are protected, but they have busy lives and families to feed and it’s hard to balance everything,” says Molly Gleason, Communications Director at Illinois Stewardship Alliance. “We hope these farmers market meal kits will help make the right choice the easiest choice.”