Love in every dish: PLENTY Cville serves up more than prepared meals

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Della Bennett has seen the effect that a home-cooked meal can have. She worked as a nanny for several years, assisting as many as four families at a time, and on the occasions when she  made meals, she noticed the positive impact it had on her clients.

“PLENTY Cville was born as a solution to a problem,” says Bennett, the owner and chef of the prepared-meal delivery service. “I learned that folks value the idea of a home-cooked meal, but they don’t necessarily have the time, patience, skills, or even sometimes the desire to pull it off every single week.”

Initially created to address the needs of families with small children, PLENTY has grown from a single-person, in-home operation to a small team with a commercial kitchen that supplies meals to busy professionals, students, and others.

Unlike other meal delivery services, these dishes are made right here in Charlottesville, from local farm-sourced fruits and vegetables, with other area small businesses, including The Pie Chest and Lone Light Coffee providing products.

PLENTY also differs from the competition through its commitment to reducing wasteful packaging. Prior to the pandemic, meals were delivered in reusable glass containers, but now single-use, recyclable plastic is used, with a post-COVID goal of moving exclusively to biodegradable packaging. “We want to maintain that integrity as part of our business going forward,” Bennett says.

Each week, clients receive a new menu via email on Wednesday, place orders on Friday, and get their meals on Monday. Contactless delivery is available within a 20-mile radius of downtown Charlottesville, with a pickup option coming soon.

“The menu is inspired by what I’m craving, but also by what people have really enjoyed,” Bennett says. The service offers creative breakfast, lunch, and main courses at various price points. There’s something for everyone—entrées include cauliflower piccata and ginger chicken meatballs. The team is working on a customization option to better serve those with dietary restrictions.

And what does Bennett crave? “Anything with buffalo sauce is my favorite,” she says, noting her roasted cauliflower tossed in buffalo sauce. “We either serve it up as tacos with homemade ranch and pickled onions, or we serve it as a grain bowl with quinoa and crunchy vegetables.”

Bennett and her team plan to host socially distanced workshops in PLENTY’s large kitchen space—build-your-own cheese board workshops and meal prep classes are coming soon.

“The feeling we want to invoke is that food is self-care. We also want to show our care about the community through food,” Bennett says. PLENTY donates a portion of its proceeds to area nonprofits, and provides meals to people who have lost their job or are recovering from COVID-19.

Whether it’s offering food or experiences, Bennett says PLENTY’s mission is ultimately to take care of people. “PLENTY started with a certain group of people who were able to afford the luxury of a stocked fridge,” she says. “I think our audience has actually grown because of the care and love that we put into each and every dish.”

Della Bennett’s prepared-meal service gives busy people an opportunity to eat well at home. “I started PLENTY with the intention of helping families grow and thrive by giving them more time to do what they love,” she says.

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