Introducing Just Add Cooking Meal Kits – In-Store at Roche Bros.!

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We started Just Add Cooking to deliver local ingredients for healthy, homemade meals right to our customers’ doors each week. Our goal was to make it as convenient as possible to eat home-cooked dinner made from local ingredients. In recent months, we’ve begun to expand what that looks like. First, we launched our Marketplace, which provides add-on snacks, quick dinner kits and breakfast foods to the dinner ingredients customers can order each week. This week, we’re taking another step: we’re launching our first In-Store Meal Kits, in partnership with local grocer Roche Bros.!

What is it?

Our Roche Bros. grab-and-go meal kits are very similar to what you’re used to in your Just Add Cooking box. We provide a kit with locally sourced ingredients and a simple recipe; you bring it home and cook it in 20 to 30 minutes. Instead of bringing a recipe to the grocery store and hunting down ingredients, or buying a pre-made or frozen meal, we make it easy to pick up everything you need and get going with dinner.

These meal kits start at $9.50 per serving and each kit serves two people. You can buy a single kit for one recipe and one dinner, or pick up a few to have throughout the week.

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Where can I find it?

Just Add Cooking meal kits can be found in the refrigerated section of select Roche Bros., Sudbury Farms and Brothers Marketplace locations. You can find an updated list of locations here.

What recipes are available?

We’re providing some customer favorites for the launch at Roche Bros., including:

  • Asparagus Risotto
  • Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pasta
  • Beef Stir-Fry
  • Chicken Marsala with Polenta
  • Irish Smoked Haddock Chowder
  • Tandoori Chicken with Roasted Chickpeas

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Do these kits support local farmers?

Just Add Cooking remains committed to supporting New England farmers and artisans, and these kits are no different! You’ll find the freshest New England ingredients available, just as you do in our delivered meal kits. Some local farmers in our Roche Bros. meal kits include:

  • Kinnealey Meats, Brockton, MA
  • Bianco and Sons, Medford, MA
  • Boston Smoked Fish Co., Boston, MA
  • Maria’s Gourmet Pasta, Malden, MA
  • Maine’s Grains, Skowhegan, ME
  • Cabot Creamery, Cabot, ME
  • Sidehill Farm, Hawley, MA
  • Fresh Box Farm, Millis, MA
  • Pete’s Greens, Craftsbury, VT
  • The Kitchen Garden, Sunderland, MA
  • Queen’s Greens, Amherst, MA
  • Atlas Farm, South Deerfield, MA
  • Warner Farm, Sunderland, MA

Whether you’re new to Just Add Cooking or just need a dinner filled in one night of the week, we hope you’ll give our Roche Bros. meal kits a try. Enjoy!

Vendor Highlight: Five Way Foods

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Credit: Desiree Currie

Meet John Hopkins! He’s the founder of Five Way Foods, a local bone and veggie broth company, and our current featured vendor. His flavorful broth can be a stand-alone sipper but it also brings any dish it’s used in to new levels. He currently offers four different broths: beef bone, chicken bone, fish bone, and vegetable.

We’re featuring his broth in four of our recipes throughout January so be sure to try them out (Italian Wedding Soup, Chicken Cassoulet with Chorizo, Asparagus Risotto, and Butternut Squash Soup with Cacao Nib Crisps). We’re really excited to partner with him! Keep reading to learn more about what he does and how he does it.

JAC: Please talk to me about bone broth….for starters what is it exactly? How does it differ from stock or non-bone broth?

JH: The Five Way Foods broth is all-natural and fresh. Fresh meaning no additives or preservatives, made from real bones. There are nutrients such as collagen that are produced by slow-simmering bones. Collagen has proven health benefits including: boosting one’s immune system, improving digestive health, strengthening joints, and enhancing skin health. Non-bone broths are typically water with flavorings (beef, chicken, veggie) crafted to last on store shelves for years. We use vegetables and herbs to craft flavorful broths for cooking or drinking as a beverage. Our broths are refrigerated items, packaged in 16oz glass bottles.

JAC: Why did you start making bone broth? Who taught you how?

JH: As a home chef, I started making broths years ago. I found most broth/stocks sold on the shelf in supermarkets to be high in sodium, and weren’t healthy nor tasted very good. I wanted an all-natural product made from real bones that would complement the healthy produce and meat/seafood we ate as a family. Ideally, a broth that tasted as good as I made at home. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find such a brand.

About 3 years ago, I decided to make a career change and follow my food passion. After conducting a significant amount of market research and working with a local chef, I started Five Way Foods in November 2015. We launched the products (chicken and veggie) at local farmers markets in January 2016. I didn’t know if anyone would buy the products. To my joy, at our first farmers market we sold every bottle. Over the next six months sales continued to grow. In June 2016 I moved production to a larger facility (Commonwealth Kitchen in Boston) and got our state wholesale food permit. Over the next year and a half our sales expanded to retail stores, including Whole Foods, Roche Brothers, and other specialty food stores across New England. Our broths now include: Fish, Beef, Chicken and Vegetable.

JAC: As this is a very niche market, what is your response to the comments that bone broth might be a short-lived fad? Why should it/will it stick around?

JH: Bone broth is actually an ancient food/beverage. Humans have always used the bones from animals to make stocks/broths for soups, stews, and cooking. We don’t believe bone-broth will be a short-lived fad. Consumers want fresh, healthy foods made with real ingredients that taste good. Most shelf-stable broth/stock brands don’t taste good, aren’t made from real bones, and have limited health benefits. We’ve grown rapidly over the past two years with customers buying our broths year-round. The combination of healthy cooking and health benefits makes for a powerful offering. Another interesting fact: the market for fresh bone broth is expected to be an $800 million market segment by 2020 according to SPINS market research.

john with broth

Credit: Desiree Currie

JAC: What are your thoughts on New England’s food system and how do you fit in/contribute to it?  

JH: Over the past two years, we’ve really enjoyed becoming part of the New England food system. As a food producer, we source as locally as possible. Our meat bones are from Walden Local Meats, which has relationships with farms across New England. We source our fish from Red’s Best, which works with local fishermen. Our produce comes from New England farms (when in season). We produce our broths at Commonwealth Kitchen in Boston a commercial facility with 35+ other food companies. Our partnership with Just Add Cooking brings our broths to customers that value locally produced food products. In short, a great community of local food producers, providers, and consumers.

JAC: What is the significance for you of working with local vendors?

JH: Sourcing locally is one of the founding principles of Five Way Foods. We very much want to support healthy food and eating local. There is such abundance of local produce, seafood, and animal products. Sourcing locally helps with sustainability, reducing carbon footprint, and supports regional farms.

 

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Be sure to check out the broth from Five Way Foods and help support the local food community. Happy cooking!

Visit them on social media:

A More Eco-Friendly Meal Kit

National Meal Kit Vs. Just Add Cooking Comparison

 

 

Meal kits bring incredible convenience to your dinner table, eliminating the need for meal planning or grocery shopping by shipping ingredients straight to your door. But as with many things, convenience often comes with a price. One of the largest complaints that we hear from customers who have used national meal kits in the past is that the packaging is wasteful, with more than 10 lbs of insulation and ice packs to ship food across the country for up to a day and a half.

That’s why we’re different. As a local meal kit, Just Add Cooking is able to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly meal kit that brings all of the convenience of recipes and ingredients delivered without the wasteful packaging. We’re always looking to improve upon that promise. That’s why we’re excited to announce: We have eliminated gel packs and foil cooling bags from our packaging.

Our packaging was already sparse, recyclable and compostable, thanks to the fact we ship ingredients less than 45 miles and they’re in transit for 4 hours or fewer. But by replacing our gel packs with frozen water bottles (which customers can then drink and recycle) and our cooling bags with a 100% recyclable box liner, we’re taking further steps towards sustainability.

Combine this with the fact we ship local ingredients and rack up fewer food miles than any other New England meal kit and you’ve got convenience you can feel good about. In line with our ethics, we’ve chosen givn water as our water bottles. They supply a day of clean drinking water for each bottle sold, so our customers are contributing to this important cause with each box purchased.

Curious about the impact of this switch? We’ve broken down a few of the numbers.

  • Over the next year, our switch to water bottles will save 50,000 pounds of frozen gel packs from going out into the world–that’s more than the weight of a Greyhound bus. (If we shipped with as many gel packs as national meal kits do to begin with, that number would be 300,000 pounds–the weight of two space shuttles.)
  • We’ve eliminated foil bags–saving enough of them to cover a football field each year.
  • Just Add Cooking customers will donate 70,000 days of clean drinking water through givn water this year. That’s enough to provide water to 200 people for a whole year.

We continue to innovate to be the most sustainable, eco-friendly meal kit on the market. Keep an eye on this space for our next steps and initiatives. Plus, get $10 off your first order to see the Just Add Cooking difference for yourself. Click here for details.

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