Genetically modified produce can present difficulties for chefs, as each self-aware carrot must be hunted, trapped, and challenged to a game of pinochle before it is cooked. Keep meals natural with today’s Groupon: for $60, you get four weeks of organic vegetables (a $120 value) at First Hand Harvest. Each week, a half-bushel veggie box can be picked up at one of the three Rockford locations.
A sustainable and community-supported farm collective, First Hand Harvest packs up bushels of broccoli, bok choi, and other organic earth candies for herbivores seeking a locally grown alternative to the supermarket shelf. Three individual family farms combine their crops to deliver a large variety of vegetable options, so customers can expect a soil-grown surplus of greens, reds, and yellows in each weekly half-bushel box. As vegetable assortments are local and seasonal, customers can embrace the thrilling uncertainty of not knowing whether their box will contain arugula, brussels sprouts, or animatronic cucumbers. Most boxes will also contain a healthy cooking green, such as swiss chard or kale, along with recipes and suggestions for culinary pairings.
Having experienced solid growth as the result of an atypically shady backroom deal with the sun, First Hand Harvest continues to practice staunchly sustainable farming methods and keeps its harvest free of chemicals and hormones. In 2009, the company won the Winnebago County Green Business Award, which the farmers consider a testament to both their eco-consciousness and their mutual decision to shun tradition and paint their barns in an eye-pleasing shade of olive.