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Fans of Nashville’s dearly-departed Plumgood grocery delivery business can now rejoice! No, Plumgood isn’t returning, but Green BEAN Delivery is expanding from the Midwest to the Nashville area and offers an extensive selection of produce and groceries for home delivery.

Green BEAN’s PR team reached out to me and asked me if I’d like to receive a trial bin to check out the service. Well, sure! Despite the fact that I have a flexible schedule, I sometimes have difficulty making it to the grocery store. Frankly, I really don’t enjoy shopping for groceries at all. And to completely stock my kitchen requires trips to the farmers' markets (plural), Publix, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s. I spend way too much time shopping for groceries. So I was happy to discover that Green BEAN carries a lot of the items I like (except TJ’s, of course) and they’ll deliver right to my door!

credit: GreenBEAN Delivery on Facebook
credit: GreenBEAN Delivery on Facebook

Of course, it’s not super cheap, but the prices are on par with Whole Foods and the better quality items at Publix. And they even carry some items that aren’t at my other stops, such as Provence breads and Bourbon Barrel soy sauce.

Here’s how it works: you sign up, put in your credit card info and between noon on Thursday and noon on Monday, you browse the shop and decide what you want for the upcoming week. There’s a $35 minimum and if you choose a combo bin (which is a mix of produce and groceries, which most of us would get), you just have to commit to $28 of produce and at least $7 of grocery items. Essentially, they want you to eat your fruits and veggies (and herbs) and support farmers.

The produce is a mix of conventional and organic, mostly sourced from the U.S., but some from Mexico and Tropical regions (ginger and kiwi, for example). A lot of the produce comes from the company’s own farms in Indiana and Ohio. And they try to incorporate grocery items from local markets as well. In Nashville, not only can you get Provence breads, but also Hatcher milk, Bongo Java coffee, eggs from Summertown’s Willow Farms, local honey, and treats from Nashville Toffee Company. The selection of goods (including meats, if that's your thing and bulk goods and other groceries) is outstanding (though you may not be able to see it until after you sign up and after Thursday at noon).

Green BEAN's CEO/owner on his farm credit: GreenBEAN Delivery on Facebook
Green BEAN's CEO/owner on his farm
credit: GreenBEAN Delivery on Facebook

If your favorites aren’t available, they also take requests and try to accommodate when possible. For example, in the future, I’d like to see perhaps some prepared foods from Corner Market Catering and Lazzaroli Pasta (particularly since I think this service would benefit busy folks who don’t have a lot of time to cook) as well as produce and even flowers from local farms. Though I’ll still have to go to Publix for my Santitas, it seems.

Anyhoo, it’s pretty cool. There are no registration or membership fees and you can cancel any time or suspend if you don’t want anything for a week or two or go out of town. And if your address isn’t in the delivery area (which is actually pretty big and extends even to Hendersonville, Lebanon and Murfreesboro), you can opt to have it delivered to your workplace or pick it up at their warehouse out by the airport. I did have a snafu with my first week suspended not getting recorded properly, but the customer service team got me squared away.

My first bin arrived around 6pm; though it says arrival between noon and 8pm, they strive for later deliveries to accommodate folks who work outside the home (which is likely most of their market). I got some avocadoes, bok choy, broccoli, grape tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and a few other items as well as the aforementioned Willow Farm eggs and Bourbon Barrel soy sauce. The quality of the produce was very good. The only thing I didn’t like was not being able to pick my own sweet potatoes. I cut mine raw, so I prefer skinny ones. This is a minor issue, of course that I will remedy by just not ordering sweet potatoes! There are plenty of other items to choose from.

Everything was packaged well and very fresh and all of it fit in their cool green bin with a giant freezer pack in it. You hang on to that bin until your next delivery, put it outside on delivery day, and they take it back with them. For people who cancel, they'll just come get your bin at an appointed time.

If you’d like to try Green BEAN for yourself, I have a code for you to use to get a $15 credit on your first bin (it’s also good for reactivations). This code is good through May 2, 2015, so you have plenty of time to decide! Just enter bc6leea in the promo code section when you've configured your first order (remember; you can only do that between noon Thursday and noon Monday; you can sign up any time but you can only configure the bin/cart during that time frame). I think it's a great service, not just for busy people, but for those who might have some other reason for less access to fresh, good quality produce and food.

For more information, check out their guide to getting started (it's so easy) and see the "about" page to learn more about the company's (admirable) philosophy, how they got started, and how they intend to grow. And finally, 5 Reasons You'll Love Green BEAN (Biodynamic Education Agriculture Nutrition).

 

 

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Wow, it’s been more than two months since my last kitchen update! Things are progressing very slowly. What I had thought would be just an overall three-month renovation has dragged on and will be closer to six or seven months. However, we’ve been living here a month now because we do have a working kitchen and one working full bathroom.

Anyway, all the cabinets, appliances, and countertops are all in place. It still needs to be finished off because the fur-downs created a challenge. None of them were particularly straight, so there were gaps, but we will put some edging on them and paint to match the cabinets to make them look like an extension of the cabinets. We couldn’t get rid of them entirely because they hide some of the HVAC ductwork as well as some wiring and plumbing.

kitchenpt4

I am happy with the functionality of the IKEA cabinets (still using the AKURUM system, which is being discontinued by IKEA), but painting them was a real chore. I got some incorrect information that I could just use some alcohol-based primer and I wouldn’t need to sand all these pieces, so I’ve had to do some painting, re-painting, sanding, and re-re-painting. Of course, I probably would have been okay if I’d used an oil-based paint instead of latex. But I’m not going to re-do it all again! And I'm hopeful that they'll last a while. They have a 25-year warranty, but they are not real wood, so I'm anxious about how they'll hold up. I plan to take care of them, though. Prevent spills, keep them clean, and so on.

For the countertops, I went with quartz. There is some quartz that is just gorgeous...and also very expensive. But I opted for Caesarstone in "Nougat" which is pretty with just a bit of sparkle to it. It's in the middle range as far as quartz pricing and about the same as some of the nicer granite. I really like it.

The Bosch appliances have been mostly great. The counter-depth fridge is low on space, particularly in the freezer, but it’s very sleek (thanks to the water and ice dispensers being inside) and the alarm is nice since I don’t always get the door closed. Also, the stainless steel front will take a magnet! This is great news for my little artist.

The Bosch dishwasher (a 500 series) does a great job and is very quiet. So much so that when it does make a noise, it’s startling because I’ve forgotten it was on. However, I am accustomed to a “dry” cycle that could be disabled so that I could put any item anywhere in the dishwasher. This one does not have a dry cycle, but uses extra heated water to “made drying faster.” Well, that water melted a silly straw already. I used the express cycle once, but it did not get the dishes as clean as the “light” cycle on my old Kenmore. However, I can get a lot more stuff into the Bosch, so I don’t have to run it as often, so I suppose that works out.

The slide-in range is a bit disappointing. Though it is gorgeous, doesn’t require any countertop behind it (it is “full depth”) and has many, many nice features (most of which I’ll never use), the one problem with it is a big one. That is, when the oven is on, the cooling fan is also on. And it is not quiet. This is only true for the slide-in models and I really don’t get it. Even when I had it on a warming mode of 120F, the stupid fan was still running. In this age when everyone is blowing out the walls in their homes and many of us have living areas open to the kitchen, this seems like a real design flaw. And as quiet as the dishwasher is, I’d rather have it not be quiet and have a quiet oven because I can run the dishwasher at night and never hear it. And when I’ve finished cooking dinner, the fan will still run to cool down the oven for some 10 minutes after I’ve turned it off. So we hear this clutter noise while we’re eating. This is something I think Bosch should really address or they’re going to have a tough time selling these things. Though, in reading the reviews of the microwave, this feature may be preventing the microwave front from melting...

The microwave is the last of the suite of appliances I got. Its functionality is almost identical to the LG that I left behind (and loved), though it is smaller (by choice) and doesn’t heat items quite as quickly. A weird thing it does is run the vent fan after items are heated, but the fan turns off once you open the door. I suppose this is so there’s a lesser chance of your food continuing to be heated and cooked after it shuts off, so that’s actually a rather nice feature if you use it to steam vegetables (as I do).

The floor remains on the to-do list. Of the many mistakes I have made, I definitely count purchasing Behr Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain near the top of the list. I should have let a professional do this job (and I will have to let a professional RE-DO this job). Here’s the deal. This is acrylic water-based stain, which means it’s really just very liquidy, thin paint. So, when it goes on, you can’t really see where the stain is going because the water discolors the concrete. When it dried (lighter than when it went on), I could see roller marks that did not show up before. And by then, of course, it’s too late to fix. You can put another coat or two on, but then it’s not really semi-transparent any more. It’s mostly opaque. Also, it’s not a great sealer. Water-based sealer isn’t great for sealing against water (dur) and it wears off within a couple of years anyway (I learned this from another DIYer after the fact). I also didn’t prime the floors (I thought it was not necessary because of the sanding) and the stain did not adhere well. Lumps of drywall mud were left to dry on the floor when I had the ceilings finished and when I cleaned them off, the stain came with them. So I will pay someone else to stain and seal my floors…sometime.

Note that you see two faucets at the sink. Even though we have a filtered water dispenser inside the refrigerator, I wanted one at the sink (I don’t like to drink really cold beverages). Mr. Eats wanted something a little sleeker than the standard water dispenser, so he chose this Delta prep sink faucet. It’s not from the same line as the big pull-down faucet (Delta Allora, which I highly recommend), but similar enough and both come in Delta’s newest finish, “Arctic Stainless” which is brighter and closer to the color of stainless steel appliances. It’s really pretty.

The two barstools have been in my possession for 20 years now, purchased at a friend’s yard sale, so they were already old then. But finding comfy 24-inch bar stools (counter height) is more of a challenge than I’d thought! And WTH, bar stools are expensive! I also still need the new windows install and trimmed out, a stainless steel backsplash for behind the range, install the shelving for my cookbooks over the 6-foot long counter between the pantries, choose a paint color for the breakfast room, and find an island that I like. So far, I haven't needed it.

23 Comments

Being the good southerner I am (and being of a certain age), my first experience with tofu didn't come until I was in college back in the early 90s.  An enlightened friend introduced me to a small natural foods market in Memphis called Squash Blossom (it was later bought by Wild Oats) where, along with groceries, they sold prepared foods. They served a tofu salad there that was just like mustard-based potato salad but with firm tofu instead of potatoes. It was delicious! I quickly bought a block for myself to make the salad at home, but things didn’t go so well. I didn’t realize you had to press out the water and then freeze it to get a good texture, so I did not try tofu again for another ten years.

I still don’t love working with tofu at home. But when I discovered baked tofu, everything changed. They have plain baked tofu at the Japanese market nearby and a favorite Thai restaurant (Smiling Elephant) uses it in their tofu dishes. The texture and taste are so much more palatable. Trader Joe’s also sells marinated baked tofu that’s pretty darn good, too. But, it’s not always convenient (or even accessible to some).

TofuBaked-Sesame-3So I was really excited when I discovered that Nasoya now offers a line of marinated baked tofu, TofuBaked that’s readily available at the grocery (each Publix I visited in Nashville carried it). Actually, their line of organic and non-GMO tofu also now includes another new product, TofuPlus, which is fortified with other ingredients to address specific dietary needs or tastes. They’re really doing a lot to make tofu more accessible, palatable, and enjoyable for the masses.

TofuBaked comes in two flavors: sesame ginger and teriyaki. Nasoya sent me some coupons so that I could try both and I have to say they are delicious. I sliced the teriyaki flavor and put it on a sandwich with some massaged kale and smoked salt (mostly for the benefit of the kale; the tofu tasted great on its own). The sesame ginger was cubed and heated and added to some sesame noodles (which I served with roasted bok choy) for dinner. Though I admit to eating more than just a few of the cubes before they made it to the dinner table. They’re just so good!

TofuBaked-Teriyaki-3Of course, I shared this information with some friends recently who were less than convinced. But I tell ya, both flavors are great.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Enter here to win a giveaway of a free salad kit direct from Nasoya with coupons to try the tofu for free! The folks at Nasoya said their research indicated that a lot of folks like to eat the baked tofu in salads, so they have this lovely bamboo bowl and spoons to give people a little incentive. Once things settle down in my dream kitchen, I’ll probably try the sesame ginger flavor in a cold seaweed salad. Nasoya has a ton of great baked tofu recipes on their site that I'd also like to try out.

To enter the giveaway for a salad kit with coupons for free Nasoya products, just leave a comment about what you’d like to prepare with your Nasoya baked tofu. A salad? Sandwich? Soup? Stir-fry? Curry? It’s so versatile!

For a bonus entry, tweet the following: “Enter to win a salad kit and tofu #giveaway from @Nasoya and @lesleyeats http://ow.ly/Ezw50”

Leave a separate comment for each entry for a maximum of two to increase your chances of winning! Limit 2 entries/comments per person. The contest will be open from now until Wednesday, December 3 at 1pm CST and is only open to residents of the United States. The winner will be chosen at random and be notified by email that afternoon and will have until Monday, December 8 at 1pm CDT to respond with a valid mailing (street) address. If there’s no response by that time, I will choose another winner. Good luck!