One thing that I always find difficult about living in rural Alaska is the lack of access to quality produce. Our village simply does not get anything fresh, except for the very occasional bag of potatoes or onions. During the summer/fall, Cody and I usually order produce boxes through The Farm Lodge, which is a small lodge and farming operation that operates out of Port Alsworth, Alaska (a neighboring village). We LOVE these boxes because The Farm Lodge is run by the same people that own Lake Clark Air, which is the airline we always use, so the boxes are relatively cheap. The downside is that they only deliver these boxes in the warm months. We have been waiting for a good option for winter produce for over a year, and we finally got one!
The Alaska Food Network (AFN) is a newer business that has started operating in our area. They will ship boxes filled with produce (Alaskan grown produce!) to communities all over the state. This is big deal because Full Circle Farms used to kind of hold the monopoly over this kind of produce delivery service in Alaska, but they wouldn’t deliver to our community because we didn’t meet the requirement for the minimum amount of people wanting boxes. We got our first produce box through AFN on 12/22 and were very satisfied with it.
The picture above shows what was in the first box and it only cost us $35! We do have to pay shipping to the airline, which is about $3.00/lb, so after shipping it was more like $65. We received our second box just yesterday, and we were super happy with it too. AFN allows you to customize your boxes, which I think is great for the purposes of reducing food waste. We can pick and choose exactly what we want. We also have the option to substitute things like coffee, bakery items, and fresh eggs into the boxes.
Now that we are getting all of these amazing fresh items, it’s been really changing my winter meal planning. I can suddenly add so many new meal items onto my weekly menu. It’s also allowed me to have a lot more healthy snacks on hand around the house, like hummus and veggies or pasta salad with fresh pasta. It’s been so, so wonderful!