Adding a Midwest Twist to Meal Kits
A Wisconsin entrepreneur combines her oh-so-Madison self with the meal kit craze with local sourcing, sustainable packaging and chef-caliber fare.
The Path To Now With a degree in food systems and community economic development, Christy McKenzie had dabbled across the food industry—cheese slinging, pastry rolling, consumer promotions, marketing and research for a popular online recipe site—when an illness sidelined her for six months in 2017. Long passionate about feeding her family nourishing, locally sourced meals, now she couldn’t even hold a knife. “That was the tipping point,” Christy says. “I thought, if I don’t start doing what I think I should be doing with myself, maybe I won’t have the opportunity.”
What’s For Dinner? Back on her feet, Christy launched Pasture and Plenty. The business combines a subscription meal service with a walk-in cafe and community-building demo kitchen in a spectacularly renovated pharmacy. A team of 13 (including Christy’s engineer husband washing dishes on nights and weekends) sources from 50-plus local farms and producers. Each week, members receive one ready-to-eat, one ready-to-cook and one frozen meal, packaged in glass jars, Pyrex and compostable materials. (Nonmembers can pop by the shop in downtown Madison for a grab-and-go frozen entree or a sit-down meal.)
Solutions On The Table Pasture and Plenty connects producers to consumers who value—but feel too busy to utilize—CSA boxes and farmers markets. And Christy’s innovative sustainability practices (like commercial composting and dishwashing equipment that draws heat from the walk-in freezer) are sparking conversations about the food industry’s carbon footprint. “Each of us has to make intentional choices about how we feed ourselves or our friends and family,” Christy says. “How we spend dollars for Saturday brunch impacts the health of our local economy and food system.”
Meal Plan Pasture and Plenty offers home delivery to some parts of Madison, or metro residents can swing by several pick-up sites around town to collect weekly shares. As for the rest of us who are green with envy? Book a trip to Madison and dine in the cafe—preferably on a Friday for the fish fry. pastureandplenty.com