Ahhhh, lunch time has arrived! Do you break open your wallet and dine out? Or do you heat up a suspicious looking microwavable meal, and stare jealously at your co-workers homemade dish grown from their own garden? Is my meal supposed to be chicken, or fish?
Many of us are too busy with family or work to make lunch (or dinner) every day but the alternatives seem to be either too costly, unhealthy or not-so-tasty.
Christa Atherton saw this problem when she had to choose between spending hours cooking dinner or spending a little extra time with her toddlers. She was inspired to create The Apple Box.
FOR EVERY SEED I GROW, AN APPLE TREE WILL GROW
The Apple Box is located at 1725 Cook Street. They create frozen meals from Victoria-grown ingredients and cater to many diets such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-wise and dairy-free, as well as hormone-free, ethical free-range meat.
Once the idea of The Apple Box was in Atherton’s head, her sister-in-law Alex Tetrault (now their Head Chef), got on board and together they formulated recipes and built a customer base from the Vic West Community centre kitchen. Just one year later they built a custom commercial kitchen and opened up shop.
The Apple Box now allows you to purchase individual dishes or sign up for a meal plan. They offer a 4-week meal plan which includes 5-6 entrees, 2 sides and 1 dessert per week. You can choose individual sizes for $50/week, or family sizes for $100/week. By signing up for the meal plans, customers save 20% off retail and help support this little local business.
“Most people automatically assume frozen meals are for seniors, but we are quite the opposite,” commented Atherton. “Our main clientele are young busy families, athletic people and busy working professionals. Even chefs and ultra foodies need a break from cooking.”
I LOVE TO EAT, EAT, EAT APPLES AND BANANAS
The meals are made from scratch, contain no preservatives, are low sodium and full of hearty vegetables and proteins. “Our menu changes as often as the weather in Victoria,” commented Atherton.
Currently you can find menu items such as Coconut Curry Dahl, Mediterranean Turkey Meatballs, Stuffed Squash and Vegan Shepherd’s Pie. Have a sweet tooth? There’s also their famous gluten-wise Apple Crisp, Chocolate Fudge Cake and Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies. See the full menu here.
And, if you’re too busy to pick up your meal plan, they will deliver it to you!
EMERGING FROM THE ROOT CELLAR
With the success of The Apple Box, this summer they opened an additional shop in Fan Tan Alley called The Farmers’ City Market.
This micro grocery boutique is dedicated to launching local food inventions featuring local-only food products on a monthly basis. What’s different about this shop is that it’s collectively owned and operated by The Apple Box AND the small businesses featured in the store.
“It truly helps fellow entrepreneurs enter their new food products into the scene by giving them 100% profit from anything sold. No Wholesale; straight profit,” commented Atherton. “We offer basic local groceries; everything you need for your pantry can be found.”
In addition to more Apple Box meals, you can find fresh local organic produce, yogurt, eggs, frozen meats, cheese, crackers and anything else hot and happening in Victoria, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
The future looks shiny at The Apple Box and they’re happy to extend a branch out to the community.
“We have invited a few small budding businesses to join forces with The Apple Box and share our commercial kitchen. Niche Vegan Baking has come on board with their amazing baked goods and they have their own section in our shop! The Mighty Cookie Co., and a brand new kombucha brewing company will be joining us as well!”