Monday, 4 May 2009

Veg boxes revisited

Even though I've decided that veg boxes are not for me every so often I feel I have to give them another try. So many people (including my daughter) swear by them that I feel I'm simply not trying quite hard enough. This time I ordered a box from a local Bristol supplier Wrington Greens whose produce Ive bought and liked from the farmers' market. Only I rarely manage to get there in time to get the salad greens which is what they do best.

I ordered the so-called 'super-healthy' option which meant extra greens and fewer roots - appealing at this time of year. There were baby spinach leaves, mixed leaves (above) and some hot, spicy mustard leaves plus some watercress and mint (superfluous since I've just planted my own) red onions, beetroot, leeks, mushrooms and mixed sprouts.

We've had an unexpectedly busy week - always the way - so I've again struggled to finish it up. I had to chuck half the beansprouts today because they were looking a bit manky (the first half I used in a stir fry of red onions, mushrooms and spinach, an oddly successful combination I posted on my student site

We had three salads, one with roast beets and feta, a leek and watercress soup, plenty of fresh mint tea and an odd but tasty rice dish made with leeks, asparagus stalks (not included in the box but picked up at the farmers' market yesterday) and a couple of courgettes I found lurking in the fridge. We've also been scrumping some sweet juicy apples. There's now just a leek and a few onions left.

I have to say it was a lot better than the boxes I've had before - to have so many really fresh leaves was a real treat - but I still encountered the same old problem that I didn't get exactly the produce I fancy at this time of year. No asparagus. No rhubarb. And you do have to work hard to ensure you use the contents up, turning your back on other ingredients that are cheap and which you might have fancied buying.

On the credit side I'm sure we've eaten more healthily than we would have otherwise done so I'm going to give it another go, probably in two to three weeks' time. I'll crack it eventually!


Karen said...

We gave up our veg boxes because we were disappointed at the lack of seasonal 'treats'. We tried two suppliers but they both seemed to think that broccoli and carrots were required year round staples. And one kept on sending pak choy.

We never got asparagus, peas, beans, spinach, rhubarb, strawberries etc. In fact, the boxes felt distinctly un-english in flavour.

Anonymous said...

I think just dipping in and out of the vegetable box thing is probably a good idea, I used to dread the long winter months with nothing but cabbage.

This box certainly sounds more interesting than some I've seen and lovely to not have to rely on the big names too.

Fiona Beckett said...

Interesting, Karen. I think the problem is that growers (and even greengrocers and market stall holders) are not always cooks. They're driven more by what sells well and what is easy to grow than what is delicious at a particular time of year. Which is why on the whole I like to shop around. But Wrington are better than most and I really like the fact they're local (to me at least) Dipping in and out as ginger suggests is a good compromise.

Alex said...

Reading that you had to throw away the beansprouts makes me feel less guilty about some of my wastage!

Fiona Beckett said...

It happens to the best of us ;-)l

Jean said...

I have occasionally looked into getting a veg box delivered but have been saved by that fact that not a single company will deliver to the area I live in. And having read and heard about other people's disappointments with them, I don't think it's for me.

Fiona Beckett said...

You're right notSupermum - it is a question of individual preference and although I keep struggling and writing about it I'm not sure it's for me, either!