I’ve just started getting vegetable boxes Instead of wasting my time in a supermarket (ours is a joke…), I can buy a box of seasonal, locally grown, organic veggies, and have them delivered, or pick them up from a local shop
Vegetable Box Schemes seem to be becoming popular here, so I was wondering if anyone else used them? What are your experiences of them? How do you cope with all the cabbage?
Vegetable box schemes are usually run buy a farm. They simply fill a box with assorted vegetables. Sometimes the farm might pack some cheese, eggs, pickles or jam, if you want. They are often organic, and always local and in season.
You order your vegetable box from the farm, by telephone or over the internet, or through a local shop. For example, my Healthfood shop will order vegetable boxes. They cost between £7 and £10, depending on the farm and the size of the box. The box is delivered to your house, or you can pick it up from the shop or farm (including evenings and weekends).
This might seem a little odd to some people reading this post! Let me put it in context:
Supermarkets have put smaller greengrocers, bakers and butchers out of business in many UK towns.
Where smaller shops and food markets do exist, they tend to only open during week days. So anyone who works 9am-5pm cannot use them. My experience is that they are run by older people who still think that all women are house-wives! (I don’t actually know any women who are full-time housewives - even young mothers usually have part-time jobs - I don’t know how common this is in other places)
The fruit and veg in the supermarkets is over-packaged, not organic, and imported from other countries. When they do sell organic food, it is usually expensive.
British people have been encouraged to eat Mediteranean and Asian food for several years, because it is healthier and lower in saturated fat that traditional British food (we are an obese nation, and prone to heart attacks…). These types of food require ingredients that are not native to the UK, or would only be available over summer.
As people lead busy lifestyles, they often eat more convenience foods, fast food and take-aways. So they don’t tend to buy and cook with local produce.
Of course, this is a generalisation, and not true of the entire UK. But this is certainly true of many areas where I’ve lived and worked.
Recently there has been a rebellion against this! Celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall have been encouraging people to start cooking fresh, organic food (instead of relying on convenience food). Traditional British food is becoming popular again! People are also aware of their “Carbon Footprint” - and are starting to choose food that is locally grown with minimal packaging becasue it is more environmentally friendly.
Well, if you don’t want particular vegetables they will leave them out, and give you some extra potatoes.
A big challenge is learning to eat the types of vegetables that are in season. At the moment, there is a lot of cabbage, potatoes, turnips, carrots… I’m not really used to cooking with these things every day! Most of the vegetarian recipes I know are asian or mediteranean, and use exotic or summer ingredients.
Today I went to a lecture on energy. Apparently, without energy imports (gas and oil), Britain could only feed around 2 million people (Britain currently has a population of over 60 million) I suppose this is because intensive farming methods use a lot of energy? As well as finding new sources of energy, I think it is important to eat food that has not needed a lot of energy to produce.