Saturday, 5 September 2015

Riverford organic box scheme

I love food, I love shopping, I really hate shopping in supermarkets. It wasn't always the case, but with every year I use supermarkets less and less. I find that trying to get an all organic shop from a supermarket is not only very difficult, but also fairly expensive. About nine years ago, with the help of my friend Google, I came across Riverford (that was after obsessively watching "you are what you eat", and seeing a veg box being delivered to someone in one of the episodes).

 

Riverford started as a very small operation, but now they deliver across the UK from their regional farms. They also work with different organic farms around the world to source some of the more exotic produce (they always say where it is from). I find that having these box deliveries is one of the best ways to eat seasonally and get seriously tasty food.

 

There are lots of boxes to choose from: meat & veg, veg, fruit, salad, meat, and recipe boxes. They vary by size and content, each friday what is inside the boxes is posted up on their website, so you can have a look at what is in store for next week.

 

How does it work?

First of all you can choose to set up a regular delivery and the same type of box will be delivered to you automatically. For example a small original veg box, that has enough food for 1-2 people, includes 6 small portions made up of 4 seasonal varieties and 2 root staples potatoes, carrots or onions. So you are getting different veggies every week but the box type stays the same.

 

You can choose to place a one-off order every week, and switch it up as you please. Personally I like to browse to see what is in each box on the week I'm ordering and go from there. Sometimes I don't want potatoes so I will choose a "less roots" small veg box, or a fruit & veg one, or a salad box.

 

Every order you can top up with extras: fruit, veg, bread, eggs, dairy, drinks, deli choices, olive oil and so on. I absolutely love the olive oil that Riverford stocks, especially the latest addition that is made using olives from a single estate. They have a really lovely range of wine, and amazing bakery sourdough loaf (bread available will depend on your area as they use local bakers).

If you don't want to have a preselected box, you can just makeup your own from the selection of all the extras, in this case the minimum spend is £12.50 but there is never a delivery charge.

Your food is delivered in colapsable cardboard boxes, every time the new box is delivered your old one gets picked up and reused, until it's to old and then they will recycle it. The prices of boxes vary depending on which type you get.

For example Original veg box: small £10.35, medium £13.45, large £17.25. The ones that also have fruit and/or meat cost more. Also recipe boxes are more expensive, as they come with all the ingredients to make those specific recipes.

 

 

Just to give you an idea, for our family of two, I normally order a small veg box of some sort, either a bag of mixed fruit or a fruit box, and a few extras like eggs, bread maybe yogurt. The bill comes to between £30-40 and that is all the food we need for a week. If I'm also ordering olive oil, pesto or sundried tomatoes, maybe a bottle of wine it goes up to about £50-60, but of course I don't need a bottle of olive oil or pesto every week. They also just expanded to provide cupboard staples like rice, pasta, tins of tomatoes, so if you want to you can actually do your whole shop with Riverford.

Depending on the area you live in, there is a particular day of the week your box will be delivered on, it is the same day every week, however, the hour may vary depending on how many deliveries are on that particular day. You don't have to wait around for your box, they will leave it for you in a safe place which you can specify.

I end up getting a box every other week as I like to go to a farmers market whenever I have time, so I've never set up a regular order. If you do have a regular order set up, you can alway pause it if you don't fancy a box that particular week for whatever reason.

 

When my sister was staying with us and she saw one of the boxes arrive, her reaction was "wow it looks so beautiful". And it does, really gorgeous fruit and veg, with some unusual varieties that I've only discovered thanks to Riverford. With every box you also get a newsletter to let you know what is happening and a couple of recipes to make the most out of your produce, and even tips on how to properly store your veg so it stays fresh for longer. Riverford also has lots of tips and recipes on their website and YouTube channel.

 

Have you ever tried a veg box scheme? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

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