Growing My Way

If you're not interested in being a regular, so to speak, you can call in and order when you feel a craving for veggies come upon you, though regular customers get first dibs on popular items. If you're not into the element of surprise, or feel the need for some modicum of control over what's being delivered, you can log on to www.boxedgreens.com and, for a minimum charge of $30, choose from a list of offerings with prices updated daily. On the Web site, you'll also find a selection of organic grains, pastas and granola available for delivery along with produce.

I bagged a $40 Essential for testing purposes and was duly impressed by the quality of the selections, all of which were hand-wrapped: stiff, ruffled spears of locally grown arugula, with just the right balance of peppery nuttiness; chef-grade spring yellow onions that looked like green onions on testosterone; a large garnet yam; two kiwi fruits; a bunch of baby Blue Peruvian potatoes (great roasted with garlic and olive oil or barbecued) and a bag of fresh-as-it-gets mesclun.

Two big artichokes were accompanied by an Asian pear; a leafy bunch of Red Core Chantanay carrots (a very sweet heirloom variety grown locally); a humongous yellow bell pepper; beautiful Blue Lake green beans; fragrant red D'Anjou pears; a Braeburn and a Granny Smith apple, both crisp, juicy and tasty; sprigs of fresh oregano; and a fat bulb of new crop purple garlic. (Trust me: There's a very real difference in taste between new crop and the six-month-old stuff you get in the store.)

Leah Fasten

I ate all of The Essential's little red grape tomatoes, related to the Sweet l00's family, before I even got home. And I do solemnly swear I have not tasted tomatoes this good since a kid pitched a cherry tomato over my backyard fence in Southern California and into the middle of my garden; there, untended, it thrived and produced fruit of such sweetness and flavor that its potent memory lingers still. No wonder a Valley real estate agent ordered 15 boxes of The Essential in just two weeks for all her new homebuyers.

And what happens to your delivery when the blast-furnace heat of the Phoenix summer arrives? No problem. It gets dropped at your doorstep by either Wygocki ("I'm the box boy, driver, spiritual leader and cosmic adviser") or a less spiritual overnight FedEx delivery truck, which delivers your order in an insulated Styrofoam container with ice packs keeping everything crisp and cold.

"We'd like to initiate a recycling program for all our boxes, too," Verdugo says of yet another Boxed Greens goal in keeping with being good to the environment.

Contact Kathleen Vanesian at her online address: goodtaste@newtimes.com

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