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Please talk to me about veg boxes

(27 Posts)
juneau Mon 31-Dec-12 15:24:04

We had a flyer from Abel & Cole this morning and it got me wondering if it's a good idea or not. We're a family of four, but the kids are very fussy about veg. The 5-year-old will eat only carrots, broccoli and cauliflower and the toddler currently only eats fruit hmm In addition, DH is often out several nights a week. I loves me veg, but I'm not sure I can eat an entire box every week.

It's not a good idea, is it?

FairyPenguin Mon 31-Dec-12 15:32:45

We've had a Riverford box for the last 5 years. Also a family of four,sounds very similar to your situation too with fussy eaters and DH working away.

I don't know about Abel and Cole, but Riverford is very flexible so I chop and change depending on what plans are for week ahead. Our box is delivered on a Weds, we find out what is in the boxes the Friday before,order by 10pm Monday. We can set up a regular order so will always get a box if I forget to check the weekly email and order.

If we have lots of nights away/out or lots of veg left over from week before, then I either cancel our box or change it to a smaller one. Or set up an order for every other week and see how that goes? It depends on the veggies but I find especially in winter, veg will keep 2 weeks.

The children like seeing what comes in our box, help to unpack,recipes come with it and also online, for inspiration. Eg if no one likes beetroot, they have a recipe for chocolate beetroot cake. Or new veg that you might not know how to cook.

I love our veg box, it's nice to know its organic and supports a British business. The veg is fresh and tastes it too.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 31-Dec-12 15:35:06

Overpriced if you need to meal-plan or choose individual veg... useless if you just accept their weekly seasonal random mix. I stopped getting mine the week they sent me a load of knackered looking beetroot and jerusalem artichokes (wtf?). .

FairyPenguin Mon 31-Dec-12 15:43:44

We meal plan with our box because we can see what is coming. I don't know if Abel and Cole tell you beforehand though.

Ours is cheaper than if you were to buy organic veg at the supermarket, but not as cheap as non-organic.

NuclearStandoff Mon 31-Dec-12 15:53:40

I am a big fan of Riverford.

I think Abel & Cole recently sold out to a big food conglomerate, so not so sure about their ethics?

I have a regular order of enough veg, meat, bread, milk and eggs to feed family of 4 for a week and it costs us about £45 - I think it is good value. Quality is excellent and I know the sourcing is impeccable. They do import some stuff so that contents don't get too boring.

I plan my meals around the box contents.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 31-Dec-12 15:56:56

Why would you want to do it? I'd see the main reasons being; organic veg at a reasonable price, seasonal, local.

If localness is important, find a local producer rather than using a national distributor like the big firms mentioned. We use one from a farm 15 miles away.

If you want seasonal veg, you accept a lot of root veg and brassicas in winter and other seasonal gluts and deficits. The advantage is experiencing new veg and cutting food miles but you need to be willing to adapt your menus for it to work. We eat a lot more potatoes, less pasta and noodles now and, especially in winter, I end up making soup to use things up, which is fine as we often eat soup for lunch and freeze portions to take to work as well as using at home.

The reasonably priced organic veg case works if you can adapt your menu, so don't waste much and are happy to accept mud.

winemakesmeclever Mon 31-Dec-12 15:59:48

We used to have a basic box from Abel & Cole but I was really disappointed with it - boring selection of fruit and veg, and it didn't stay fresh for that long. Much better quality and price from my local market so I cancelled abel and cole. Still doesn't stop them ringing me all the time wanting me to order with them again...

juneau Mon 31-Dec-12 16:01:27

I don't meal-plan - I'm more a seat-of-the-pants cook - so a random box of veg doesn't bother me as they let you 'exclude' the things you don't like.

I need to look at its cost-effectiveness though and be realistic about how much veg one person can eat. Perhaps a small 1-2 person box is the answer?

juneau Mon 31-Dec-12 16:03:32

Right, I'll take a look at Riverford.

NuclearStandoff Mon 31-Dec-12 16:04:56

why not give it a go for a few weeks and see how it goes?

You don't get high-pressure sales techniques from Riverford.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 31-Dec-12 16:06:33

You could try one smaller than your needs, so you are always supplementing, rather than being overwhelmed.

We always get potatoes, carrots and onions. Cauliflower and broccoli only comes seasonally. We buy extra broccoli, spinach, peppers, aubergines when we want them.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 31-Dec-12 16:11:14

We don't meal plan, just work with an awareness of what we have. It does help to think a bit about how you're going to use things, or you can get left with some odd remainders.

NorthernNumpty Mon 31-Dec-12 16:14:50

We do the same as fairy just swopped mine to a different box this week after assessing the left overs. We eat stuff we never would have if it wasn't for the box. Who knew what to do with a Kohl Rabi?!! If you have an iPhone the Riverford recipe generator is good. I Highly recommend Riverford.

PickledInAPearTree Mon 31-Dec-12 16:20:11

Abel & cole were rubbish only basic stuff which went off quickly and not enough of it.

When you cancel they hound you like anything seriously I was getting a calla day!

Stay away from them.

juneau Mon 31-Dec-12 16:26:52

This is all very helpful. Thanks smile

NuclearStandoff Mon 31-Dec-12 16:28:33

I have tried local producer and the national brands. Local guy decided to give up being organic, and box contents got quite dull at certain times of year.

Riverford is a good compromise - they have a farm in France so you get some things earlier in the season and can import some stuff so contents don't get boring. They also have a good deli - we bought all our xmas cheese from them too.

applecrumple Mon 31-Dec-12 16:31:50

I use Riverford & buy a large box every 2 weeks. They're really good value & the stuff tastes like vegetable rather than the tasteless mush you get in the supermarket. I wouldn't get their fruit though as it does work out quite expensive. There are 2 adults & 1 baby in our household

lottiegarbanzo Mon 31-Dec-12 16:46:40

Our local one is great, with lots of variety, substitutions and a newsletter with recipes but unless you're just east of Nottingham, not much use to you.

There's an argument that imported organic food doesn't merit the label due to fossil fuel food miles but that gets very complex. Locally produced non-organic may be better in some ways but organic production is better for wildlife on the farm, wherever that is. Depends why you want organic really.

ethelb Wed 02-Jan-13 13:59:59

Abel and cole and riverford are overpriced and the poetions are so stingy they dont really cater for people who eat much veg imo. Use a local one and dont get too hung up on organic produce. I use kent veg which arent organuc but its farmers dont spray crops as a matter of course.

DewDr0p Wed 02-Jan-13 14:22:50

My advice would be try and find a local scheme. They will be much more flexible ime and buying locally is part of the package. I miss my veg box.

NuclearStandoff Wed 02-Jan-13 16:40:19

Riverford has a network of local farms which they supply from, so depending where you are the box may be quite local to you.

I do not think they are expensive for what you get - and also I feel they really care about giving their farmers a fair deal, which I think is important.

We eat seasonally and do not eat any fruit or veg which comes from outside Europe so food miles not really an issue (no bananas or mangos for my dc!).

starfishmummy Wed 02-Jan-13 17:03:24

We use Riverford and I agree that they are excellent; we have never had poor quality veg from them.

I tried a delivery scheme from our local organic shop but the stuff was rubbish - apples that were like windfalls, cabbage going yellow etc. Another local place did a box, but I had to collect. which was no good to me.
For me its the having it delivered that's the important part as I have a disabled ds and it's sometimes hard to get out to the shops for fresh stuff.

Our milkman has also started doing boxes recently too, but I haven't tried them as I am happy with Riverford

notnagging Thu 03-Jan-13 01:49:47

I was going to ask the same thing op. Does anyone get a meat box as well?
The supermarket portions are getting so stingy & im struggling with our family of 7 who are all carnivores.Im trying to stay out of the supermarket as much as possible to cut down my food bills.

applecrumple Thu 03-Jan-13 09:06:18

Don't know about meat boxes, sorry, but a good butcher will always be better than a supermarket

mollymole Thu 03-Jan-13 09:13:24

We use a local supplier and are very pleased with the quality, although it is not all organic it does taste like real food. You can also have a mixed box of
fruit/veg, veg/salad, fruit/salad etc as well as just fruit, just salad or just veg and in different sizes. It is more expensive than supermarkets but much
better quality and, as I now rarely go to a supermarket (use local butcher) I actually spend less.

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