Review: My Texas Market Subscription Box
Hello, friends! I have something exciting to share with you today and that’s this awesome Texas-made subscription box from My Texas Market. This box was shipped to me free of charge in exchange for a single social media post, which I uploaded to Instagram the day it was received. They did not require a blog post from me, but I’m going to do one anyway because I think this is something that a lot of you might find useful for yourself or even as a special gift for someone else. I’m honestly considering sending a box to my sister-in-law for Christmas seeing as how she’s a born and raised Proud Texan who now lives on the east coast (shhhh….don’t spill the beans! 😊).
What do I love about it? First and foremost, I love that it’s a Texas company shipping items made by Texas artisans and small businesses! If you'd like to read what that's like from a maker's perspective, check out this post by local Boerne businesswoman and mompraneur, Amy Bierstedt...maybe your goods could be featured too! Second, I love the flexibility of it: you can sign up for a monthly auto-renewing subscription; pay in advance for a three, six, or twelve-month subscription; or if you don’t really want to commit, you can “create your own box” and choose what you would like to receive a la carte with no subscription required. Third, I love the affordability of it: a month-to-month subscription is 35.00/month and my box included five items. This means that each item in my box was 7.00, on average, which I found to be comparable with what I would expect to pay for them at my local farmer’s market. And if you pay in advance for a three, six, or twelve month subscription, the cost per box is reduced a bit more.
So let’s take a look at what was in my box, shall we?
1) Hot Line Pepper Products’ Garlicky Greengo Jalapeno and Garlic Hot Sauce (Spring, TX): We put hot sauce on just about everything around here so we have a bit of a fascination with small batch flavors that are new and unique. So, needless to say, I was super stoked about this being included in the box. My favorite sauces are vinegar based and full of garlic so this one was right up my alley and it did not disappoint! It’s packed full of flavor but is pretty mild on the spiciness scale…which is great because you can enjoy it and still have taste buds left when you’re done. I’ve enjoyed this on my eggs several times since I received it and I also made a creamy salsa verde (by adding a bit of sour cream) and drizzled it on top of bean and cheese quesadillas…YUM. This stuff is really good and I think we’ll be buying more of it when this bottle is done. We’ve put a pretty good dent in it already!
2) South Texas Milling Inc.’s Gulf Coast Fish Fry (Inez, TX): We don’t fry much around here (doesn’t mean I don’t LOVE it, just means we don’t do it, ha!), so this was a nice surprise as it felt like a bit of an indulgence. Who doesn’t love comfort food like fried catfish every now and then? This fish fry had a perfect mealy but soft texture and a great flavor. I chose to create a wash for our fish (with milk and egg) and I couldn’t resist the urge to throw in a bit of salt and pepper. I kind of wish I didn’t because it came out very close to being too salty, so my recommendation is to trust the good folks at South Texas Milling and leave it alone! Unless of course, you want to throw in a little cayenne to spice it up a bit, that’s always a good idea. 😉 Our catfish was served with lemon wedges, coleslaw, and steamed broccoli. We had enough for the four servings of catfish that I made and there was plenty leftover…probably enough for another couple of servings, at least.
3) White Cloud World Teas Watermelon Lime Organic Green Tea (Georgetown, TX): I have a morning ritual that always starts with one cup of dark roast coffee, black. That makes for a pretty bold flavor so when I’m still needing a bit of a pick-me-up after that first cup, I switch to green tea with a bit of honey. We use a Keurig so I’m not too picky about what brand of green tea we buy because honestly, it all pretty much tastes the same. I have tried flavored green teas in the past (a raspberry pomegranate was my favorite) but for the most part I stick with just plain old green tea. This watermelon lime green tea is a whole other ballgame though; I honestly don’t know if I’ll go back to the k-cups after trying this one! It’s not bitter at all, which some k-cup green teas tend to be. It has a perfect, subtle sweetness that requires no addition of sugar or honey whatsoever…that’s how you know it’s a good green tea. And the watermelon flavor is noticeable but not overpowering. I.love.this.tea. Seriously, this was probably my favorite item in the box.
A bit on the “technical” details: This was the first time I’ve ever tried loose leaf tea and to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how to do it at first because I didn’t have a filter to steep it with. But, after a bit of googling I decided to heat my water in a pyrex cup in the microwave. I then added a tablespoon of the tea directly to it and let it sit for three minutes. Then, I took out my trusty mesh strainer (these are good for so many things!) and strained the tea leaves from the liquid as I poured it into my mug. Easy peasy!
4) Salt Masters Island Seasoned Sea Salt (League City, TX): So here’s the disappointing part of this review: my seasoned sea salt container was broken in shipping. If it were just a little break, I might have risked trying it, but the whole back side of it was broken and there was glass in the seasoning so it was a no-go. Not going to lie, I was pretty disappointed by this because I love to cook with a good seasoned salt. I did contact My Texas Market to let them know about the problem and recommended bubble wrap for the container for future shipments; they were receptive and of course super nice. If I had actually paid for this box, I would have requested a replacement and I have no doubt that they would have obliged. Everything else in the box was well packaged, to include the glass bottle of hot sauce, so I do think this incident was just a fluke.
UPDATE: Wouldn't you know Salt Masters sent me another jar? How cool is that?! I love to make fresh (baked) seasoned french fries to go with just about anything...we eat them with chicken, fish, burgers, sloppy Joe's, Philly cheese steaks, you name it. Usually I use plain old seasoned salt, but this time I used the Island Seasoned Sea Salt and it made for a completely different flavor. To me, the Salt Masters product is not quite as salty as regular seasoned salt and it has a bit of a kick to it that I think would make it perfect for using on seafood or anything Cajun. It also has a slightly sweet finish that just makes sure it's nothing like plain seasoned salt. Overall, I thought it was quite tasty and in a totally unexpected way; I can't wait to try it with shrimp or maybe grouper next!
5) Smitten Organics “Beachin!” Sea Salt Soap (Katy, TX): Okay, so can I admit that when people used to gift me soap, I always thought it was a little strange? I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it since I used body wash in the shower and pump soap at the sinks. However, just like everything else that is artisan-made, soap is having a bit of moment right now, right? And I can see why: some of it literally looks good enough to eat! I mean, really, this is SOAP??
So, I was excited that this box contained a bar of beautiful handmade soap; I was ready to give it a try. My first impression upon opening the subscription box was, “Holy cow, this box smells like heaven!” and guess what that wonderful scent was from? The soap! And still, even now after being out in the open on my kitchen counter for a week, it still smells amazing! I’ve started using it rather than the pump soap that sits right next to it because each time you use it, it makes the whole kitchen smell good again. The product description for this bar reads, “Sea salt is a natural detoxifier, as the salt absorbs toxins from the skin. Sea salt bars exfoliate the skin, and contain minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, iodine, calcium, and zinc”. This bar doesn’t have a super thick lather, but you can certainly tell when rinsing that its first three ingredients are coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter…it leaves a wonderful layer of moisture on the skin that I think will be great to have when the weather starts turning cooler. It's also nearly the size of my hand and seems like it will last for a really long time. Plus, not to get too crazy here, but the rough-hewn edge along the top makes for a great hand massage when washing! Oh, the little luxuries!
So, overall, I am quite impressed with this subscription service. There wasn’t a single item in the box (that I was actually able to try) that I wouldn’t order again, which is really saying something. The flexible subscription options and the ability to create your own box a la carte is something I haven’t seen with other services, and the pricing is on point. And the fact that it’s all made by Texans gives me all the heart-eyes. I think if I were to sign up for this (which I just might!), I would do the three-month subscription, take a break while I used up all the goods, then do another three-month subscription (and repeat). I don’t like to collect things just to collect them; I like to use them. And I don’t think I’d use up everything in the box in one month so a twelve-month subscription probably wouldn’t be ideal for my “I don’t like to accumulate clutter” personality. However, there is some money to be saved with a twelve-month subscription so if pricing is your primary concern, then that is a great way to go.
Have you tried a subscription service similar to this one? What were your favorite and least favorite parts about it? And if you’re from outside of Texas, would you consider trying a subscription box full of locally made items from your state?
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NOTE: This is a sponsored post. However, all content and opinions are my own, unless otherwise stated.