Despite all of the focus on healthy eating in the last few years, it can be difficult to discern what’s really good for you. Our go-go-go world makes this even more so, leaving most people little time to prepare healthy, tasty meals. But that’s all about to change for the Boston area with the introduction of a new food preparation and delivery service called The Foodery.
The founders, John Bauer and Mike Speights, met several years ago in the financial industry and discovered they had a similar passion for healthy, tasty food. After years of working long hours at sedentary desk jobs, they decided to make their dreams of providing fresh, organic food to the masses a reality.
They moved to Lowell and found commercial kitchen space where they’ve been experimenting with recipes for the last year. After months of tweaking meals and figuring out the logistical aspects of running a food preparation and delivery business, The Foodery officially opened at the beginning of this month.
Each week, Bauer and Speights put a menu up on The Foodery’s website so customers can see what they’re cooking. Orders are placed through the website (they must be in by Thursday at 8 p.m. and there is a six-meal minimum) and Bauer and Speights get to work in the kitchen. On Sunday night between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., customers in the current delivery area–Somerville, Cambridge and Brookline–receive their meals.
Bauer and Speights are focused on organic, local (as much as possible), healthy food. The nutrition information (including calorie count) and other details about the ingredients are listed on a sheet provided with the meals. Right now the meals clock in at about 550 calories each, but they hope to offer some smaller options in the future.
I “met” Bauer and Speights on Twitter a few months ago and we convened in real life at 3 Little Figs to discuss the local food scene, healthy eating and their new business venture a short time later. They then asked me to be a sort of guinea pig for The Foodery, choosing three meals and having them delivered just like any other customer. [Full disclosure: I received the meals for free, but Bauer and Speights asked me to review the customer experience and food honestly.]
This was the menu for the week I received my meals (* indicate the meals I selected):
Bison veggie loaf with sweet potato puree*
Seared turmeric scallops, brown rice pulao, raita*
Blackened salmon cobb salad, lemon vinaigrette
Crusted tofu, veggies, black rice, hoisin garlic sauce*
The food was delivered right in the middle of the delivery window (around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday) with a phone call alerting me that Speights was outside my house. I think my only real problem (if you could even call it that) is the three-hour window in which the food could be delivered. People do tend to be home more on Sunday nights, but especially in the summer, there’s so much to do that I personally wouldn’t like to be tied down to the house every week during that time. I know Bauer and Speights are aware of this and are working on the best way to get the food to their customers (perhaps through a central delivery area in each of the towns served).
In addition to the food I ordered, I received a little snack of almond butter bites. I’m a huge fan of almond butter, so this was music to my ears. We ate the snack for dessert, as it contained a bit of chocolate, and it was very tasty. So good in fact that I might try to replicate it at home.
One thing that really struck me about the meals was the nice presentation. Usually when food is delivered to your house, it’s a little worse for the wear upon arrival. But all of The Foodery’s meals were colorful, fresh-looking and appealing to the eye. Now, for how it tasted …
Bison veggie loaf with sweet potato puree: I don’t eat a lot of meat and when I do, I prefer it to be organic and from sources that I feel comfortable with. To that end, I was happy to see that The Foodery has sourced the bison it uses from a farm in New Hampshire where the animals are grass-fed. The meat was delicious and didn’t need any of the usual condiments that meatloaf often requires. The sweet potato puree was silky smooth and melted in your mouth, a real hit in our house.
Seared turmeric scallops, brown rice pulao, raita: We really enjoyed all of the dishes that we received, but if any had to come in last place, I’d say it was the scallops. They were tender and had good flavor, but the other dishes were just such standouts. The scallops reheated well and the cool cucumber-based raita complemented the seasonings of the dish nicely. The brown rice was moist (it tends to get dried out upon reheating in my experience, but didn’t here) and the vegetables were fresh.
Crusted tofu, veggies, black rice, hoisin garlic sauce: This dish was delicious and it may have just edged the meatloaf out for first place. The tofu was firm, yet tender, the vegetables stayed crisp and fresh and the black rice was nice and chewy. The hoisin garlic sauce really elevated this meal and gave it so much great flavor.
Overall, the meals were what I would call restaurant quality. This comes from the fresh, organic, well-cooked ingredients, the professional presentation and the attention to detail with the sauces and specific serving and reheating instructions. The meals are pricey ($23 plus tax), but for the busy working person who eats out frequently, they would be a great way to conveniently eat healthy food.
[Again, for the people in the back, The Foodery provided the meals to me for free to review both the customer experience and the food.]