In 2011, Bellingham friends Cara Piscitello and Joy Rubey’s young children were reaching that stage of eating real food — the meals moms and dads also ate — and both women grew increasingly concerned with the quality of food on offer.
“We wanted to know where it was coming from and make sure we were feeding them the best food that we could,” says Piscitello.
The duo developed ACME Farms + Kitchen as a way to easily shop for local, farm-fresh items without having to make multiple stops — from farmers market to co-op, grocery store to individual farms.
ACME Farms + Kitchen morphed into offering consumers weekly Locavore Boxes, which still provides all the great local options, but pairs them with recipes and a meal plan. They can be ordered online just once or on a weekly or bi-weekly subscription basis. Other box options include a paleo option, salad kit, produce and more.
Just peruse this lengthy list of fantastic farmers, ranchers, fishers and artisans that ACME Farms + Kitchen works with.
“For veggies, we work with Osprey Hill Farm, Moondance Farm, Hopewell Farm, Hedlin’s Farm — there are so many,” Piscitello says. “We get our meat through Crown S Ranch in Winthrop and our eggs through a bunch of great suppliers, including Prairie Road Farm and McIntyre Family Farm.”
“It’s impossible to list them all — we have so many great suppliers,” Piscitello says with a laugh.
In developing the Locavore Box, ACME Farms + Kitchen also created regular, large orders their vendors can count on.
“We order close to 300 packages of pasta from Bellingham Pasta Company every week,” Piscitello says. “They know that’s coming and that’s guaranteed income. We can map forecasts and plans and arrange things with our vendors and they’re not left surprised.”
ACME Farms + Kitchen also operates year-round. “Having that year-round income is nice for those folks,” she says.
ACME’s large boxes contain meat, fish, bread, cheese, pasta, dairy and eggs, combined with produce and includes detailed recipes to turn everything in the box into five different dinners that feed 3 to 4 people.
The company started in Acme, when Piscitello and Rubey worked only with Moondance Farm, which is located there. They used an old church as a packing facility.
“We quickly realized that bringing all the food from Bellingham out to Acme, packing it in boxes, and then driving it back to Bellingham to deliver to people was not efficient,” Piscitello says. “So we moved into town.”
Their next space was in downtown Bellingham, and now ACME Farms + Kitchen is in the Irongate area off Hannegan Road.
A weekly e-newsletter goes out on Fridays, giving customers information about the following week’s boxes. Orders are due every Monday by 10:00 a.m. and are ready for pick-up or delivery (for an additional cost of between $5 and $8) on Thursday.
ACME Farms + Kitchen has grown into Seattle and will soon expand to Portland.
For the holidays, ACME Farms + Kitchen has pulled together special boxes that are perfect to give as gifts — in person or through the mail.
“We have five different holiday boxes that are meant to help people break away from the traditional, mass-produced gift boxes,” says Piscitello. “It’s something truly different.”
“For individuals who want to send gifts to out-of-state family or across the country, it’s a great way to show your hometown pride,” she says. “Just look at all this great stuff we have in our region!”
For businesses, it’s a fantastic way to show clients or colleagues that you support your local economy and gift local.
The Founders’ Favorite Box ($80) is chock full of Piscitello and Rubey’s absolute favorite things: an ACME Farms + Kitchen tea towel (printed by Red Boots Design), Not Without Salt cookie mix, Theo salted almond chocolate bar, Jon Boy Salted Caramels, Flying Bird Botanicals Farm + Forest Tea, Spielman Bagels Bagel Chips, Vincent Family Farms Dried Cranberries, Olympia Provisions Pepperettes, and Moon Valley Organics Moon Melt Lotion Bar.
Piscitello says the Savory Snacks Box ($45) is a good respite from all the holiday sweets. With Dakota black popcorn from Lonesome Whistle Farm, housemade kale popcorn seasoning, a Thyme + Season hummus kit, housemade rosemary roasted nuts, Olympia Provisions salami, and Spielman Bagels Bagel Chips.
Are your taste buds taking notice yet? Read on.
The Rise & Shine Box ($65) brings together Bitter Baker Overnight Waffle Mix, Flying Bird Botanicals Irish Breakfast Tea, Bellingham Coffee Roasters Viking Blend, Pipitone Farm Dried Peaches, Woodinville Whiskey Co. Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup and Raven Breads Granola.
New this year is the Bartender’s Box ($65), which comes with a load of fun accoutrement for making cocktails: Jacobsen Sea Salt Bloody Mary Rimming Salt, Bitter Housewife Aromatic Bitters, Bradley’s Tonic Syrup, Raft Lemon Ginger Simple Syrup, and Stopsky’s Brandied Cherries.
“I think we’re all always struggling for that unique gift to give someone and not do the same old same old,” Piscitello says. “Also, the more money we spend locally strengthens our economy and supports all these independent producers.”
Of course, that’s ACME’s goal throughout the year, evident in everything they do.
“But there’s so much money spent during the holiday season,” Piscitello continues. “Any small percentage we can capture back into our community is a great thing.”
Quantities are limited for holiday boxes; so if any sound ideal for recipients on your holiday list, act fast. “When they’re gone, they’re gone,” Piscitello says, smiling.
Mail orders to be shipped anywhere in the U.S. must be placed by December 18 and the last delivery day for Whatcom County and Seattle is December 23.
For more information, visit the ACME Farms + Kitchen website or call 360-325-1903.