JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Veg box awards

If you have a veg box, here's a link to the 2007 Veg Box Awards.

If you don't have a veg box, you may be interested to know that Guy Watson of Riverford has calculated that his boxes are often cheaper than the same selection of non-organic supermarket vegetables: last week's comparison with Tesco/Sainsbury/Waitrose showed you'd be out of pocket by 27% for a minibox, 72% for a small box, 55% for the medium, 74% for the large, 40% for the fruit and veg, 42% for the summer box. All this before we try to put a value on the freshness and quality. Which is light years ahead of anything I've ever bought in a supermarket.

Lots of people say they don't subscribe to a veg scheme because they don't know how to cook unfamiliar vegetables ... here are links to recipes at Riverford and the awards. But there's not much that's unfamiliar - and that which seems unusual often isn't really: I"m thinking particularly of kohl rabi, which I would never have bought because it looks so weird, and which supermarkets don't sell because it's the ugly duckling of the cabbage family .... but the taste is sublime, like a really fine and refined broccoli - and last year, I had a note from a man who drives long distances to stock up on kohl rabi during the season.

If you don't have a veg box, here's a good reason not often cited: it puts vegetables at the heart of every meal ... you think, what shall we have with the butternut?

Oh yes, and someone said to me that subscribing to a big scheme like Riverford was as bad as using a supermarket. No, no, no and no again. One, the local schemes round here were all oversubscribed when I tried to sign up. Two, Riverford doesn't airfreight anything. Three, it is much much more environmentally friendly to have one van doing a regular round to, say 20 customers, than to have those 20 customers all get into their cars and go to the supermarket. Four, Riverford grow vegetables all over the country. Five, everything is seasonal and organic. Six ... well, you get the picture.

Guess who I've voted for!

I'll get off my hobbyhorse now ... but DO give it serious consideration


Amanda at Little Foodies said...

We used to have Riverford but when we moved back here we didn't carry on with it. We have been talking about it a lot though. Might just make a call now actually. No time like the present. They are very good.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link, what a helpful website. I have voted for our box scheme, River Swale (same company as Riverford). I love our fruit and veg boxes, it's like getting a present every week, and you're right that it forces you to work meals around vegetables. I buy a larger veg box than is strictly necessary for two of us just because I love it so much; the day before delivery-day has become Roast Vegetable Day where everything that's left over is tossed in olive oil, ovened and then mixed with canned beans - as easy as a takeaway but so much healthier and more comforting.

Joanna said...

Amanda, I do hope you did / do ... I really believe that subscribing to a veg scheme has really improved our quality of life in all sorts of surprising ways

Eleanor, I've got Monday night dinner sorted now - what a fantastic idea ... and, as you say, just as easy as a takeaway, only much much nicer. Jamie's recent series had a good idea for coating veggies before roasting them: some coriander seed, cinnamon, and a little chilli bashed up in the oil ... that would be good with beans


Hannah said...

Just wanted to let you in on a pumpkin carving secret - the rooster is a cookie cutter - just press any cutter in to the pumpkin flesh and it gives you a super quick and very effective design!

I usually get veggie boxes from Gregg Wallaces Secrets Farm - really lovely produce - but I will definitely give Riverford a try!


Anonymous said...

I saw Jamie (I love that you are on first-name terms) coating vegetables before roasting and agree it would be wonderful with the beans - I sometimes use his balsamic vinegar suggestion to add some tang, although not nearly as much as the half-bottle he used.

Usually, I swish the beans in some fat-free greek yogurt with a spoonful of pesto and drop them into the roasting tin to warm through/drip their yogurty coating onto the veg - the creamy dairy aspect makes me less itchy to smother the whole thing in parmesan cheese!

Hope you enjoy whatever combination of veg you're left with. I was amazed how delicious roast broccoli was.