Meal kit delivery services have exploded in popularity in recent years, and the market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of more than
17 percent between 2022 and 2030. But the missing ingredient in most of the mass-produced boxes: Local food.

Spade & Spoon, the Front Range’s locals-first meal kit, is shaking things up by partnering with more than three dozen Colorado producers and purveyors (and counting), including several in Boulder County. That’s to say taco kits can be made with tortillas from Longmont’s La Mariposa and fromage like those that come from the cheese cave of Main Street’s Cheese Emporium. Louisville’s Moxie Bread Co., Boulder-based Bjorn Colorado Honey and Denver’s River Bear Meats are also on the roster of the meal kit’s partners.

“We wanted to create an alternative that supports a whole network of small producers,” says Spade & Spoon Founder Joy Rubey. “Each purchase supports local farmers, ranchers, makers and bakers, providing them better access to stable markets, fair prices and distribution efficiencies.”

Cheese Importers, for instance, has a production room in its warehouse where it can cut and wrap any cheese with any portion size required for the Spade & Spoon meal kits, says Sales Manager Robby Rosenberg. Cheese Importers has been proud to offer cheese from James Ranch in Durango as well as others from Colorado including Farmhouse Cheese Company in Loveland.

Spade & Spoon works like this: Customers can pick out boxes on a weekly basis. All of the ingredients listed as “in the box” come along with recipe cards. Spade & Spoon makes its own sauces, spice blends and baking mixes to make things easy on home cooks. You can also shop the marketplace for items like eggs, sourdough or happy hour kits (think: peach sangria!) 

Chickpea Flatbread. (Photo courtesy: Spade & Spoon).

Chickpea Flatbread. (Photo courtesy: Spade & Spoon).

The delivery service has curated boxes that source seasonal ingredients, including the family classic box ($113) that comes with three meals that each serve four. Other boxes include Mediterranean, vegan, vegetarian, surf and turf, and a build-your-own-box option. 

Spade & Spoon also debuted a new kid’s box that’s intended to get your kids cooking with you. The box comes loaded with ingredients for dishes like rainbow veggie wraps with hummus, chocolate-covered strawberries and breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese and spinach. 

Meal kit delivery services, as a whole, have less of a carbon footprint than ingredients hauled home from the grocery store, according to 2019 research published in Resources, Conservation and Recycling. Still, many consumers are concerned about the amount of plastic packaging that comes with meal services. 

Not only is Spade & Spoon sourced locally, but boxes are packed the same day they’re delivered, and they come in reusable bags with ice packs that customers can return with their next order. Because the food is locally produced and doesn’t travel far, there’s little packaging around the produce. The team also uses compostable containers for the little packaging they do use for things like spice blends or sauces.

Another differentiator that sets Spade & Spoon apart is that it doesn’t require subscriptions, but they are available to those who want them. 

“We find most of our customers like the ability to customize their boxes and choose their meals without being tied to a subscription plan,” Rubey says.

Rubey is leveraging her experience from her first company Acme Farms & Kitchen that she opened, along with her team, in 2011. The Pacific-Northwest’s local-first meal kit and one of the first meal kit companies in the country, Acme Farms & Kitchen has helped sell more than $24 million of local food in the Pacific Northwest and partnered with more than 70 local producers. 

Honeycrisp Kale Salad with Feta + Pomegranate. (Photo courtesy: Spade & Spoon).

Honeycrisp Kale Salad with Feta + Pomegranate. (Photo courtesy: Spade & Spoon).

Now, she’s hoping to replicate that success in Colorado, with a goal of moving $4 million in Colorado local food annually within the next two years.

Rubey’s team has developed more than 900 chef-designed recipes, drawing flavors and inspiration from around the world. 

“We love to eat, have a slight obsession with cookbooks and traveling, and a deep love for the local food produced in our community,” Rubey says. 

Spade & Spoon dishes run the gamut from chicken chile verde enchiladas to Sichuan peanut noodles with pasture-raised crispy pork with a Chinese chili oil, vegan corn chowder and more. 

Tacos are also a big hit with customers, Rubey says, so chefs have dreamed up more than 30 varieties from chorizo to birria to fish tacos with peach salsa and vegan black bean ones. 

As for what she’s excited about for fall? Peaches and tomatoes. 

“I always love the taco meals with fish and peach salsa, or making a killer BLT with Hearth Bakery bread, Not Bad Cooks Pesto and River Bear Bacon,” Rubey says.  

By Brittany Anas | Longmont Magazine