Friday, 26 February 2010

My first Veg Box

Some of you may remember that last weekend we signed up to a vegetable box scheme at the farmers market. Well we received our first vegetable box this week. I thought the veg box would literally come in a 'box'. Well it was actually in a net sack. Maybe if we weren't home to receive the sack, the driver/delivery person would have left it in a box. Who knows, perhaps I'll find out at the next delivery.
Anyway, the veg box size we have signed up for is Medium which is designed for 3 - 4 people and costs £14.00. According to the Nursery Box scheme the medium box will contain approximately 7/8lb potatoes, 2lb carrot, 1lb onion and a variety of seasonal vegetables. We are going to see how this vegetable box works out for us, as we will be receiving it every two weeks. It will be also be interesting to see, how much we will have to supplement this veg box with other seasonal vegetables.
Anyway, the sack contained:
2 leeks
3 onions
Lots of potatoes
4 beetroots
7 long carrots
1 cabbage
2 heads of broccoli
Jerusalem artichokes (which I specifically requested on this occasion)

I am looking forward to cooking with all these vegetables, however I was a little disappointed, not with the contents, but the lack of information about the vegetables. As a vegetable grower I would liked to have known what variety these vegetables were. For example what are these magnificent long carrots called and what variety are these beetroot. I am guessing the potatoes are Orla, but I don't know for certain. So I'll be writing to them to request if in future they can provide this information. I think it is a reasonable request. It shouldn't be that difficult for them either, after all in the sack was included a newsletter with a recipe suggestion, so it should be relatively easy to supply this information.

For those of you who already sign up to a veg box scheme, especially in the U.K can you please give me some insight into what to expect. I am a little reserved in my reactions towards the vegetable box and think this is because I was able to grow some of these vegetables myself, so think as a new recipient of a vegetable box I may be holding some high expectations of what should come in the vegetable box. So any information would be most appreciated, as I really want to be fair. Mostly I want to enjoy my vegetable box.


  1. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be many schemes around where I live, so I've used Abel and Cole when not going to the farmers' market. They've been fine. Mostly very good quality fruit and veg, the variety is also fine. You can remove items from the box that you don't want, ever or in that particular week. There have been some errors with the deliveries, but they were very good about correcting them, and quick. Now, what I don't like is that some things are imported, and they don't tell you either the varieties or where the veg is from... If they could guarantee local, I'd always get them.

  2. I tried a couple of different veg boxes, about four years ago, and wasn't that impressed - even though you could list the things that your family doesn't like, the system just didn't seem to work for us. But I might have another go soon.

  3. That all looks good, I dont know if we have such a scheme here as I have not heard of one.I would think when you are used to having fresh veg from the plot it will all be used fairly fast and then you will have to supplement for the second week? Keep us posted on the veg box contents and how or if it changes and of course the recipes!

  4. I am so looking forward to trying out your recipes - but some we might have to pass on for dietary reasons. The usual - we eat a low fat, healthy diet to keep us as fit and healthy as possible in our Autumn years.

    Off to read as many posts tonight as I can - and will be back often now that I am a follower.

    Sorry to ready that you no longer have an allotment - such a shame - but I am sure that you will do well in your garden

  5. I will watch with interest because I was just thinking of signing up to one of these myself.

    Torn between the worry about waste and the idea that I will be forced to use the vegetables in healthy nutritious meals.

    I tend to be an all or nothing cook - but I reckon having fresh food would force me into it?

    I will watch with interest in yours and how you get on, as you are a far more dedicated cook than I am! If you struggle to use it all, I will know for sure!

  6. Im so happy you are able to get some veggies! I think its a very resonable request to know the specific type and name of each veggie. Enjoy them!


  7. It looks like you got a good selection there, but I agree that it would be nice to know the varieties.

  8. hi. when I was earning and not a full time mum I got a veg box for about 2 years and as I seem to live in the same general area as you and as I recognise the net and the folded recipe it may be the same company. Or perhaps they all do that. Anyway, towards the end I decided £10 was too much to pay for a bag of essentially carrots, spuds, a cabbage and 2 leeks with one or two "unusual" or especially seasonal things thrown in. I felt I was paying for delivery rather than content and that I really should be growing them myself, which I then started to do. I also now go to the farmers market and buy the same veg from the same supplier, who has a stall there. When I stopped work to have the wee one, I stopped the box as part of my cost cutting and by then I must say it did seem like it was a luxury. I had had to do a lot of supplementing anyway. Sorry to sound so miserable about it.

  9. we had a veggie box delivery for the autumn/winter months of our second year on the allotment. I too recall feeling disappointed when it first arrived. There were often more root vegetables than we needed and only one meals worth of things like mushrooms and peppers (we opted for potatoes only on alternate weeks after a while and this worked better). Initially I liked the challenge of making things with surprise ingredients but I found it limited my scope in the end and some things would still be languishing in the fridge when the next box arrived. I was still popping out to the shops to buy some veggies so we cancelled in the end. We live so close to town that it's easy to pop out daily for fresh veg so it didn't suit how I like to cook. Veggie boxes are fantastic if you don't have time/like food shopping or live in an area where organic options are limited.

  10. I cancelled our veg box, it was very poor quality. The veg looked as though it had been stored for a long time and didn't keep well, within a few days things were going off - very disappointing. That was from Able & Cole, it's made me very wary of trying it again from another supplier.

  11. I have found this discussion very interesting. I follow VegBoxBoy's blog and he has been experiencing problems with his veg box delivery lately too. I have never gone down the veg box route, because we have a good veg market locally and a veg plot, but I have often been tempted. I am not so sure now though, it sounds as if many could do with improving their service and focusing on the reason they are there - to supply good quality veg that people can cook with over a full week or until their next delivery.

  12. Its been many years since we had a veg box, but we were always well impressed with what we got - good quality and a nice variety. I do remember though that we were given information on the varieties provided - I don't see why it should be unreasonable for you to ask for this.

  13. Another Abel and Cole boxer here; as well as the veggies, I get half a dozen eggs each week. Quality is generally very good and the potato varieties are normally given. With A&C, you can check on the website to see which veg will be turning up, but I usually don't bother as I like the element of surprise.

  14. oh i'm so envy! i used to make part of such a programm but it was only testing and it's not working anymore for now... hopefully they will start again this spring!
    grat post!
    have a sweet day,

  15. River Swale's veg boxes do arrive in a box. Mine arrive in a hessian carrier bag/sack - and I'm pleased to report after a dodgy-bag-blip the normal excellent service has resumed (from They are very simple and don't seem to have anything where you can opt-out of different vegetables, but everything is local (which wasn't always the case with River Swale's) and good quality.

    For me, the big bonus with my veg box is that they deliver on a saturday - which gives me time to see what's arrived and try to plan accordingly.

    If you can get yourself a supplier as good as mine, then I'd recommend signing up. I very much enjoy trying to deal with the random things that arrive; whilst I've been using this scheme, I've worked out how to pickle beetroot, found a way to make celeriac taste nice and completely failed to do anytinhg useful yet with Jerusalem Artichokes.


  16. Thank you to each and every one of you who have commented. I have found each comment valuable and it certainly has given some 'food for thought!'



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