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organic fruit and veg boxes, how versatile are they?

(35 Posts)
misdee Fri 15-Apr-05 21:13:06

do people who have them deliver find they eat more fruit and veg than b4? have you tried different recipies since having them delivered?

and can u recommend any to me? am looking at able and cole site atm.

FrenchGirl Fri 15-Apr-05 21:16:42

it's definitely working for us misdee. We are with riverford.co.uk, they are great and reasonably flexible. Fruit and veg is excellent and delivery men are lovely. Dh is not a great eater of green things but he is maknig an effort and eating more of it. The winter months were a bit long though, but we are getting courgettes again now! Phew...

Posey Fri 15-Apr-05 21:27:47

We had no bother eating the fruit, as we are big fruit eaters anyway and it just meant I had less to carry home from the supermarket.
Veg for us was slightly more problematical as there are more of them we dislike and after getting aubergines 3 weeks on the trot we decided to stop. Certain things go in phases so we'd be up to our eyeballs in onions, then none for several weeks.

spots Fri 15-Apr-05 21:36:38

We get just veg, as we go through a lot and were enjoying it. You have to be prepared for a bit of a Ready Steady Cook challenge and lots of seasonality. We are in Scotland, so get loads of potatoes and carrots. (Believe me, I have tried more than a few 'new' potatoa dn carrot recipes.) Personally, I like the wild card element. It's like someone else is trying to test your cooking creativity. We have a hilarious book on box cooking with lots of stuff like 'beetroot, carrot and potato risotto' and it can be a bit like that, but to be honest the best things about it are the convenience and the quality of the food.

soapbox Fri 15-Apr-05 21:36:41

Misdee - Abel and Cole are very good. You can tick any stuff you don't think you will use as 'dislike' and they will substitute for you. You can change this as often as you like, so if I've built up a glut of something I'm not using up, I will put it as a dislike for a couple of weeks and then untick it once I wouldn't mind having it again! Did this when we were getting a lot of grapefruit in the fruit box.

I find it does make me try lots of new things, we had Jerusalum artichokes the other week which were really yummy.

My box comes on a Tuesday so ona Monday night I always do something with as much of the veg thats left over as possible. Usually this will be a big veg curry or veg chilli, sometimes a big tray of roasted veg. I then freeze what we don't use on the Monday which keeps us going on the evenings when I don't fancy cooking.

The fruit usually doesn't last us the week, if by chnce there is any left over then we juice it or make a big fruit salad

A&C also do the juicing bags which you might be interested in using with your new juicer!

Hope all is well with your DH ANd a belated happy birthday

spots Fri 15-Apr-05 21:37:10

in other words, not that versatile I suppose\!

binkybetsy Fri 15-Apr-05 21:43:13

Able and Cole are well worth a try for all the reasons below. We use them and have certainly had a more varied diet of foods, ie artichokes, fennel etc. We tend to further buy fruit from sainsbury's though as we eat tons of that. All the food is very good quality from A&C (that we've had).
I'd say go for it, you've got nothing to lose as you can stop getting the boxes as easily as you start, oh and if you go holiday you just let them know and they don't send one. Magic service!

misdee Fri 15-Apr-05 21:46:50

We have ordered a large box to try on tuesday. wish i'd got this weeks one as it was more to my tatses and more fruit based, but am sure we'll have fun next week with the recipies.

misdee Fri 15-Apr-05 21:54:39

where it says, apples, how many can i expect to get? am worried i wont have enough apples for me (devoloped a craving for apples, especially apple pie lol, when pregnant)

soapbox Fri 15-Apr-05 21:57:19

Misdee - the weights are the same as the extras IIRC. SO I think its a kilo of apples??????

Usually about 4-6 depending on size I think.

misdee Fri 15-Apr-05 22:11:53

all we need now is a good meat supplier

dh loves woodhalls bacon up in cumbria. might have to order some for him soon.

soapbox Fri 15-Apr-05 22:22:13

Misdee - A&Cs meat is nice

But it only has a sell by date 3 days from delivery so buying for a week is impossible.

If you like fish their old smokey fish cakes are to die for

bossykate Fri 15-Apr-05 22:43:08

have to say veg boxes do not suit us very well. i am a plan the menu then shop kind of person rather than a see what's in the fridge and then decide what to cook person - if you are like me i suspect the wild card element of the veg box will be a burden rather than a delight.

we used able & cole and here are my impressions:

- veg went off very quickly, i frequently felt under a lot of pressure to cook things we didn't really want to eat just to use the stuff before it went off
- agree that getting things you wouldn't normally buy is stimulating and boosts creative cooking
- we don't eat that much traditional english meat and two veg type meals - i didn't think the preponderance of root veg. leant itself that well to thai/chinese/italian which we cook quite frequently
- every time we marked something as a "dislike" on the a&c system, we got parsnips instead, without fail, ended up with literally drawers full of parsnips - ok i like them but not that much!
- often found that we were not given enough of a specific type of veg to make something useful (e.g. 3 beetroot - couldn't find a single recipe that didn't need at least double the quantity)
- agree that a&c meat is absolutely delicious, among the best i've ever tasted, but at £10 for 2 chicken breasts and £15 for two steaks, i just couldn't justify the cost

i really am in favour of the idea of organic veg boxes and totally bought in to the environmental benefits etc - however, just couldn't make it work for us.

i suspect they suit the more spontaneous cooks better rather than the anal planners.

misdee Fri 15-Apr-05 22:45:30

a&c dont deliver meat in my area.

soapbox Fri 15-Apr-05 22:54:00

Bossykate - I think it depends which box you go for! I regularly swop and change the boxes depending on the contents for that week. SO might get the essential veg nbox if need carrots/brocolli etc. But will get the deluxe veg box if needing aubergine/rocket type of stuff.

I don't find the veg goes off quickly (normally lasts 7-10days) but I keep it all in the fridge. Would do that anyway with organic veg as I've never found it keeps well out of the fridge.

However, I have had the odd bad week when stuff has turned up in a poor state. Had some pears last week that were brown and mushy looking. Whenever I've complained they have always credited the bill without question and sometimes throw in an extra in the next weeks box too!

Also if you like to know what you are getting then you can order just off the extras menu. I sometimes do that at this time of year when there is a bit of a shortage of veg around and you get a lot of pretty useless stuff. However they have been a bit better this year at keeping some decent stuff coming in, even although I got 3 bulbs of garlic this week as one of my veg items!! Strangely enough I would never have thought of buying organic garlic

bossykate Fri 15-Apr-05 23:01:32

soapbox - i found things went off before the next box practically every time. i agree that you can chop and change the boxes - i kept doing this in an attempt to make it work for us! i then progressed to not having the boxes and ordering weekly from the extras list so that we were more likely to get things that would suit us better - but then found i would still need to order veg in the supermarket shop anyway... so just ended up doing everything from the supermarket shop. for me it has been one of those things where i absolutely love the idea of it - but the reality just hasn't quite worked out.

i know they work out well for many people so i would say give it go and see how it works.

bossykate Fri 15-Apr-05 23:03:53

btw - i do try and cook with seasonal ingredients where possible!

soapbox Fri 15-Apr-05 23:10:16

Bossykate - I do get what you mean

I think I have just coped with it byu doing my Monday evening cook-up! Its amazing what you can shove into a veg curry/chiil/tortiila etc etc.

If all else fails I bung all the left overs in a big pan with 2 tins tomatoes and loads of garlic. Cook for 20 mins then blitz and use as a pasta sauce The littlies never know whats in it Backfired the time I used fennel though - they really did not like that

bossykate Fri 15-Apr-05 23:15:53

i feel such a miserable failure

soapbox Fri 15-Apr-05 23:19:06

LOL - I'm sure you do - another sleepless night

bossykate Fri 15-Apr-05 23:24:37

no, i really do, me being a green and all see the "who should you vote for" thread.

soapbox Fri 15-Apr-05 23:26:36

Oh - off to have a lookie

tiredallthetime Fri 15-Apr-05 23:45:47

we def eat more fruit and veg, we use farmaround who deliver in lots of areas, like their deliveries as you can select things like mediterranean module or salad module and therefore do not get the delivery of pots, onions and carrots every week in a standard veg bag

snafu Sat 16-Apr-05 08:13:32

I've had a couple of A&C boxes now and have been impressed with the quality so far. I do see where you're coming from though, bk - if you're a 'planner' it can be a bit irritating. I am trying to get around this by checking the list on the website each week so I have a fair idea of what's coming. It has made me cook 'differently' and try new ideas, rather than just buying the boring supermarket broccoli/carrot/potato. And I do end up making a lot of soup - but that's fine with me!

WRT veg going off quickly - I think it's really just that we are so used to supermarket stuff being picked 'green and backward' that it's a bit of a surprise when you realise that actually most veg isn't really supposed to last for days and days!

bossykate Sat 16-Apr-05 11:25:30

snafu, i agree with you re the shelf life of supermarket veg! nevertheless, i invariably felt that there was a timebomb of decomposing veg in the fridge and i don't like soup very much!

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