Explore Local Box Subscription Review + Coupon – April 2019
The Explore Local Box is a monthly artisan subscription box that includes locally made items and food from a different city each month. This box stems from the love of travel and is a great way to experience a variety of US cities from the comfort of your own home!
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
About This Box
The Subscription Box: Explore Local Box
The Cost: $39.99 a month + free shipping. Save with prepaid 3, 6, or 12-month subscription.
COUPON: Use code MSA10 to save 10% off your first box!
The Products: Your box will include locally made items and food from that month’s city.
Ships to: US only
Explore Local Box April 2019 “Burlington, Vermont” Review
The first insert is a welcome explaining a bit about the box. Each month, a different US city is featured, and you have the opportunity to meet the interesting artisans and small business owners who have created the delicious locally produced food items and hand-crafted products curated in this subscription.
The next insert provides a map of the US, with a black dot indicating cities that have been “explored” by this subscription and a black “star” indicating the city that we will explore this month. (note: I’m guessing on the black dot part because there is no key, but the logic checks out with the cities featured on the website). The back of the card provides a little information about Burlington, VT.
A fun aspect of this box for me is that I’ve spent my career in Management Consulting and have traveled extensively throughout the US. I’ve spent some time in Vermont and have vacationed there with my family. My husband had to journey there to pay homage to Phish, and we spent a fair share of our vacation at Nectars.
The final insert is a print out containing some great information about the items included in the box.
Halladay’s Harvest Barn Farmhouse Minestrone Soup Mix – Retail Value $4.99
I love soup, soup mixes, and Minestrone so this first item is a win for me! The inside label features two distinct recipes – Minestrone or Fasta Faggioli. Each receipt requires a few additional ingredients, but I think it’s fantastic to have the measuring and spice mixing done for you in an easy to assemble kit. I think soup mixes like this are pantry staples, and I always like to keep a few on hand.
I didn’t follow the instructions and instead decided to use my Instant Pot to cook this. I simply browned 1 lb of sausage in the bottom of the pan, then added 10 cups of water and all of the rest of the ingredients to it at once (carrots, celery, tomatoes, soup packet contents). I hit my soup setting which defaulted to 30 minutes, and then I let it slow release for 30 minutes and then opened the steam valve so that I could remove the lid.
Yum! This soup looked and smelled great, and you couldn’t tell at all that I didn’t follow directions. I did need to add some salt to the pot, but that’s my own personal taste and found it pretty peppery. My husband liked it, but I’m not a fan of black pepper so that was a little bit of a bummer.
Bee’s Wrap (Single Medium Wrap) – Retail Value $6.60
This wrap is a natural alternative to plastic wrap and is reusable! It’s perfect for wrapping things like bread or cheese. You use your body heat to warm and seal the wrap. You can wash and reuse – just make sure that you use cold water to rinse it and let it air dry. For obvious reasons, heat will ruin this wrap! The medium wrap measures about 10” x 11” and is big enough to wrap a sandwich or cover a bowl easily.
Lake Champlain Chocolates – 4 Piece Chocolates of Vermont – Retail Value $6.00
This chocolate is delicious, and kind of genius. This 4-piece variety pack is made to “taste like Vermont” and feature some of the aspects that make that state special. Each piece of chocolate has an image on it that corresponds to a photo on the container. For instance, The Green Mountain piece of chocolate is shaped like a mountain, making it kind of a fun matching game for taste purposes! I thought that each piece was lovely, and I couldn’t pick a favorite between the Maple Crunch (Vermont maple syrup infused in buttercrunch, covered in dark chocolate) and the Honey Caramel (Caramel infused with local honey, covered in dark chocolate).
Cold Hollow Cider Mill Spices for Hot Mulled Cider (8 bags) – Retail Value $3.95
This is a nifty item! Basically, it’s a teabag style spice blend that you add to a cup of cider to quickly mull it. You can use this with wine or juice, and you simply heat your beverage and then soak a bag of spices in it for 1-3 minutes. Each bag contains a blend of cinnamon, orange peel, cloves, allspice, and pure orange oil. Yum!
Dakin Farm Pancake Mix (1 lb.) – Retail Value $3.95
Another great pantry staple! The only thing that you must add to this mix is water, and then you cook them up on your griddle for fresh and fluffy pancakes. I’m a huge fan of pancakes but not the hassle of making them in the morning (I’m not a morning person!) so I love the convenience of a mix.
One thing that is great is that this mix is 1 part mix to 1 part water – so I was able to make a single cake (and stick to my diet!). I simply mixed ¼ cup of mix with ¼ cup of water, mixed and cooked on medium heat in a non-stick skillet.
This is something that probably not everyone can identify with, but I am a maple syrup enthusiast and have been to (multiple) sugar shacks. Grade A syrup is my favorite so I was excited to see this little beauty in my box. No Vermont box, especially one containing pancake mix, would be complete without some 100% grade A maple syrup!
And here is my finished pancake, complete with some butter and the maple syrup! Boy did it hit the spot this morning!
Verdict: Explore Local Box is a great box! I loved the curation, and these products took me right back to Vermont. I’m glad I didn’t see Keurig and Ben and Jerry’s products – although I love them, they’re national brands and I am glad that this box went with the more “mom and pop” approach to their curation. I typically associate Vermont, and some of the items in the box (soup, pancakes, syrup, mulled cider) with colder weather, so the timing of the box felt a little strange to me. It feels like it would have been a bit more seasonally appropriate in the fall or winter, but perhaps I’m the only one that feels that way. I also think that we fell a little short on value; I calculated that I received $28.49 in products, which is well below the $39.99 cost of the box (including free shipping). Although the fun is in the local charm and experience of sampling these artisanal products, I do wish that the retail value would have at least equaled the cost of the box.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you will receive the May box. Order by the 14th of the month to receive that month’s box. For all orders placed the 15th and beyond, next month will be your first box.
COUPON: Use code MSA10 to save 10% off your first box!
Value Breakdown: The total retail value of this month’s box is $28.49. At $39.99 for this box here’s what you are paying approximately per item:
- Soup Mix: $7.00
- Bee’s Wrap: $9.26
- Chocolates: $8.42
- Cider Spices: $5.54
- Pancake Mix: $5.54
- Syrup: $4.21
One note on the value, ordering from all of these small companies would likely require shipping fees, so although I’m unable to quantify it I think you need to consider that when assessing the total value of the box.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of The Explore Local Box?