Fruit and veg delivery boxes

Hello all! I hope you are enjoying the blog. A few friends and acquaintances I’ve spoken to recently have told me that they are, and it’s really nice to know there’s a receptive audience out there. Don’t forget, if you haven’t already, you can “follow” the blog and you’ll get an email every time it’s updated meaning you won’t miss a post.

I’ve now covered a lot of the topics I had thought of when I started this project (and we’re only two months into the year!). Don’t worry I have more ideas, but I’m also very open to suggestions, whether it’s something you know a lot about or something you’d like me to investigate.

If you haven’t read my previous entry about our weekly shop from Tesco, it might be useful to scroll down and have a glance as this one is a bit of a follow up about my research into local fruit and veg delivery schemes and our first delivery.

Huge numbers of suppliers!

We’ve talked for a while about getting a veg box delivery. We know that there are a number of nationwide suppliers, such as Abel & Cole but also a few local to us in Sheffield, which seems like a more sustainable option. I decided to look into a few of these, and a post on one of my new favourite new Facebook groups, The Plastic Free Project, Sheffield, led me to see that actually the amount of choice even locally is huge!

Some of the suggested suppliers were Barra Organics, New Roots, Thorpes Farm, Sheffield Organic Growers and Freeman Biodynamic Garden at High Riggs.

Many options from each of these!

I looked in detail at some of the options offered by Regather and Beanies, a greengrocer I used to live near to and who I know have been running a box scheme for years.

They both offer a range of options and in both cases the veg boxes seemed to have a basis of 1kg of potatoes, 500g onions and 500g carrots plus a varying amount of other random veg depending on how big (and therefore expensive) you wanted your box to be. We decided we’d like a weekly box but weren’t sure we’d use 1kg of potatoes every week.

Regather seemed to have more size options and dealt with fruit and veg completely separately, which I suppose is good in case you wanted loads of fruit and just a small amount of veg or the other way around. Beanies though have options for completely organic and completely plastic free, which is great! All these suppliers seem to want to keep plastic to a minimum, but if a particular vegetable comes pre-packed (eg cucumber) most boxes may include it. With that option from Beanies, you are guaranteed that those options would be completely excluded.

Just around the corner…

What I hadn’t been previously aware of was that Stannington Fruit and Veg, our closest greengrocer, also run a box scheme. I sent them a message and then popped in to have a word. I happened to get there on a Friday just as they were loading up for one of their deliveries, so I got to have a peek at some of the boxes they’d put together. My husband and I liked the idea of supporting such a local business, but the other great thing about Stannington’s scheme is that it’s completely flexible and there’s not even a contact or minimum term.

They source the fruit and veg fresh daily from the market and cost it up based on the price they pay. If you give them a total price you want to pay each week, they’ll provide a mix of fruit and veg up to that price. Or, if you already have an idea of what you want, they’ll deliver to a precise shopping list and bill you later. They can even source lots of other food types, such as meat from the butcher, fresh bread and dairy products (although not milk, so as not to interfere with the local dairy deliveries).

I liked the look of one of the boxes they’d packed for a local family which looked very much like the same mix of fruit and veg that we tend to get from the supermarket each week. It was a £15 box, so I agreed that that was where we’d start too. When I went back and looked at our Tesco delivery, it turned out we’d spent £12.50 on similar stuff, so I was happy with the price I’d chosen.

…and the final result!

We got our first delivery last Friday and it was pretty much perfect! I took lots of photos but Jack was very excited and kept taking things out! I think you can see most of what we got in this first one. In the paper bags are mushrooms, potatoes and a selection of salad (a lettuce, some tomatoes and half a cucumber). The only thing we’ve requested to change was no more cucumber as no one in this house likes it!!!

Jack kept taking the things out of the box one at time and walking round it to show them to me! “Mummy, big orange”, “Mummy, leaves” and in the case of the mushrooms, “Mummy, baby’s dummy”!!! It was nice to see him get so much enjoyment out of it and he’s been loving eating the fruit as well. Now we’re looking forward to the next one! Thanks, Jo and Mark at Stannington Fruit and Veg!

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