Chef Judson Todd Allen, Steve Harvey's personal chef, does a healthy eating cooking demonstration at Loretto Hospital. (AustinTalks/CONTRIBUTOR)

Austin residents now have a new option to get their fresh fruits, vegetables and other food delivered right to their door: Crisp! Mobile Produce.

In partnership with the American Heart Association, Crisp! hosted a kickoff event at Loretto Hospital, 645 S. Central, to get the word out about its healthy food options.

Consumers can order a variety of healthier food options online, over the phone or through a drop-box at select locations, said Mike Hyzy, director of Crisp! Mobile Produce.

Customers also have the option of paying for their order with cash on delivery, Hyzy said, and they don’t have to have a computer or cell phone. Orders, he added, will be delivered within two days, and free delivery is available for all orders over $35 or on select free delivery days.

“We want to have an option in these neighborhoods where you don’t have access to meat, seafood and fresh vegetables or fruits,” Hyzy said.

Crisp! – an arm of Catholic Charities – serves the whole city of Chicago, but focuses on areas on the West and South Sides, where the city has deemed the areas to be “food deserts.”

A food desert is defined as an area where residents must travel a mile or more to get to a grocery store and do not have access to healthy food items. There are 29 neighborhoods in Chicago that qualify as food deserts, according to the American Heart Association.

“We need to make a demand for healthy eating,” said Ald. Deborah Graham (29th). “We’re a fast food community. We have bad habits. We need to change our eating habits.”

Austin, along with Hermosa, Pilsen, Humboldt Park, Roseland and SouthShore are among the neighborhoods targeted by Crisp!

The mobile service’s low prices and convenience appeals to Austin resident Chlease Amadji, who attended the event with her 4-year-old son, Prosper, and her three-year-old granddaughter, Armini.

“It’s a struggle sometimes to get to the grocery store,” Amadji said, adding that prices on fresh fruits and vegetables at some other Austin stores can be unreasonably high if you don’t catch them on sale.

Austin has seen an increase in an interest in locally-grown produce and urban farming. In October, PCC Community Wellness Center, 5425 W. Lake St., broke ground on an 8,000-square-foot community garden.

To illustrate how easy preparing healthier food at home can be compared to eating out at fast food restaurants, Chef Judson Todd Allen, personal chef of Steve Harvey, showed the crowd how to make a vegetarian chili.

Judson used a combination of beans, tomato paste and sauce, peppers, onions, garlic, corn, olive oil, rice wine vinegar, seasoning, lime, pineapple, and his own hot sauce to create the dish.

The chili can feed about six people, requires up to four hours of cooking time and can be created for under $15, Allen said. The challenge of getting people to eat healthier, he said, can be overcome by “making the food look sexy.”

#25 on the map: Austin

Full list: 

1 ROGERS PARK
2 WEST RIDGE
3 UPTOWN
4 LINCOLN SQUARE
5 NORTH CENTER
6 LAKE VIEW
7 LINCOLN PARK
8 NEAR NORTH SIDE
9 EDISON PARK
10 NORWOOD PARK
11 JEFFERSON PARK
12 FOREST GLEN
13 NORTH PARK
14 ALBANY PARK
15 PORTAGE PARK
16 IRVING PARK
17 DUNNING
18 MONTCLARE
19 BELMONT CRAGIN
20 HERMOSA
21 AVONDALE
22 LOGAN SQUARE
23 HUMBOLDT PARK
24 WEST TOWN
25 AUSTIN
26 WEST GARFIELD PARK
27 EAST GARFIELD PARK
28 NEAR WEST SIDE
29 NORTH LAWNDALE
30 SOUTH LAWNDALE
31 LOWER WEST SIDE
32 LOOP
33 NEAR SOUTH SIDE
34 ARMOUR SQUARE
35 DOUGLAS
36 OAKLAND
37 FULLER PARK
38 GRAND BOULEVARD
39 KENWOOD
40 WASHINGTON PARK
41 HYDE PARK
42 WOODLAWN
43 SOUTH SHORE
44 CHATHAM
45 AVALON PARK
46 SOUTH CHICAGO
47 BURNSIDE
48 CALUMET HEIGHTS
49 ROSELAND
50 PULLMAN
51 SOUTH DEERING
52 EAST SIDE
53 WEST PULLMAN
54 RIVERDALE
55 HEGEWISCH
56 GARFIELD RIDGE
57 ARCHER HEIGHTS
58 BRIGHTON PARK
59 MCKINLEY PARK
60 BRIDGEPORT
61 NEW CITY
62 WEST ELSDON
63 GAGE PARK
64 CLEARING
65 WEST LAWN
66 CHICAGO LAWN
67 WEST ENGLEWOOD
68 ENGLEWOOD
69 GREATER GRAND
CROSSING
70 ASHBURN
71 AUBURN GRESHAM
72 BEVERLY
73 WASHINGTON HEIGHTS
74 MOUNT GREENWOOD
75 MORGAN PARK
76 O’HARE
77 EDGEWATER

CONTACT: austintalks.org@gmail.com

To learn more