The buzzer in my apartment rings. I hop off the couch and go down to answer the door.
The Capital Delivery guy is there with a cardboard box labeled “Locavore Foods.” I sign and carry the box back upstairs. Inside are four frozen aluminum trays with cardboard lids.
For the health-conscious or those who like to buy local, finding time to prepare a home-cooked meal while in university can be difficult. Locavore Foods is a company that delivers ready-to-eat meals made with local ingredients. For someone who likes to eat sustainably, it seemed like a great way to eat well on a busy schedule, so I decided to give it a try.
The meals are delivered between 3 and 6 p.m. on Thursday if you are ordering from Fredericton – depending on where you are in the city, delivery should be free for orders over $59.95.
Locavore offers single-serving meals, meals for two and family-sized meals. For this review, I ordered four two-person sized meals, which came to just over $60 with tax. The menu has some regular standbys, with a few different rotations every week. I got the shepherd’s pie, an Asian tofu stir-fry, chickpea curry and a Greek donair plate.
I tried the donair plate first. Honestly, it was disappointing.
The meals are flash-frozen, which ruined the texture of the roasted potatoes, turning them into mealy little cubes. I tried broiling them to return them to their crispy golden potatoey goodness. Still, the whole meal tasted banquet hall-esque. I felt like the dish was missing garlic and an acidic element like lemon to make the tomatoes and the smoky spices in the meat really pop – okay, I’ll stop sounding like a pretentious food critic now.
Next up was the chickpea curry. I am not an Indian food expert, but I firmly believe a curry should be saucy. Like, the vegetables or protein should be swimming in creamy, velvety sauce. This curry, while made up of some very delightful winter vegetables, had the texture of mashed potatoes. The spices were nice and warming for fall though, and like most things in life, it was improved by adding a little salt and avocado.
Now, at this stage of the game I was pretty disappointed. But wow. The shepherd’s pie totally redeemed this whole endeavor.
I popped it in the oven and the top layer of mashed potatoes got super crispy, and the meat and vegetables were beautifully seasoned with herbs like sage, thyme and oregano. One bite was like that scene in Ratatouille where the creepy food critic guy has a flashback to being a little kid and eating his mom’s homecooked food. This was totally worth ordering and I would probably order a whole family-sized tray for a busy week.
Last, the stir-fry. Coming off the shepherd’s pie, my expectations were high. While the stir-fry was a little too salty, the flavours of ginger and red chili in the sauce became stronger the longer the leftovers sat in my fridge. The tofu was alright (is tofu ever anything other than alright?), but as the only source of protein in the whole dish the eight little cubes were not enough for two meals. The veggies surprisingly held their crunch, but as a whole, it was nothing spectacular, just your ordinary Asian takeout.
Overall, I’d say this service is great for when you don’t have time to cook but still want to be eating relatively healthy. However, not everything on the menu is stellar, so I would definitely test a few individual meals and find one you really like before ordering a large quantity. And you’ll definitely still need to make a grocery store run for breakfast food and snacks.
Individual meals start at $7.50 each, and the more you order or the larger size tray you get that price goes down. It definitely won’t become a regular thing for me. I will stick to my own crockpot chili and homemade lasagnas.
Price: 4 stars
Taste: 3 stars (hit or miss depending on the meal)
Convenience: 4 stars (takes a long time to thaw)
Presentation: 2 stars (definitely not Instagram worthy, if you’re into that sort of thing)
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