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Monday, 25 January 2010

It's all in a box

The box scheme is a very simple and effective way of getting your organic fruit, vegetables and much more. With over 100,000 registered users in the UK alone it is also catching on fast. More and more farms across the country are switching back to traditional farming and becoming organic certified. When a farm decides to do this it can be difficult for them to cut a living because the big supermarkets want everything (including organic) pre-washed in chlorine or the vegetables have to be an exact size, colour or shape. Madness!!! Most farmers who use modern methods won't even TOUCH the produce in their fields let alone eat it because of all the chemicals involved. Watch this interesting short video for some insight. This is where the box scheme comes in. Basically, a lot of organic farms can come together as a co-operative to produce a massive variety of good quality, natural food and then a coordinating company can deliver this food straight from the field to peoples homes in a box. Most of these companies operate online so it is very easy to set up a regular delivery and very easy to ammend the items you want. Most box schemes will deliver weekly, fortnightly or monthly and will offer easy methods of payment. Wherever you live in the UK you will have access to a well established box scheme.

I have been using a box scheme for a while now and I would never go back to buying eggs, vegetables, fruit or salad stuff from a supermarket. The difference in quality is HUGE. There are no chemicals at all, virtually no packaging and usually the food will have travelled very few miles to your door. The biggest surprise is the price! I have a weekly delivery capable of feeding around 4 adults for less than £25 and this would typically include: Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, swede, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce and half a dozen large eggs! All of the above is fresh, natural, certified organic and delivered right to my door!

Here is a list of some of the best box schemes from across the country:

Although the largest in the country with 45,000 customers this family company holds to its founding traditions and ethic. Through franchised drivers they deliver boxes of fresh seasonal, locally farmed produce to households across the country via their network of sister farms. It also offers fruit and salad boxes,  Prices start at £8.95.
Boxfresh Organics
Right through helping to plan crops and talking prices with growers, this company speaks to farmers in its collective on a daily basis, and covers the West Country right through to the North Midlands. Its value organic box is just £13.49.
Doorstep Organics
Tending to northern English counties, this friendly, green thinking service supports Yorkshire famers in supplying organic produce that is Soil Association approved. With mixed boxes ranging from £12, they will also refill your eco-friendly household products when you leave your empty veg box out for collection each week.
Northumbria Organics
The largest outfit of this kind in the north-east, this team is committed to sourcing certified organic fruit, vegetables and fresh eggs from local sources for local people. The company offers free delivery to Newcastle and the surrounding areas. Although their website is very limited their service and produce is excellent.
One of the oldest Organic businesses in the UK, Sunnyfields delivers fruit and veg boxes, specialist herbs, dairy and a great selection of meat and poultry. It is green thinking and flexible to suit individual customers, aiming to provide high quality produce throughout the year.
Abel and Cole
With 20 years experience of organic produce delivery Abel and Cole have been around a bit. They pride themselves on service, customer satisfaction and their ability to exceed expectation. They are a large business with a good delivery area and boxes start at around £10.95.

The Advantages:
By signing up to a box scheme you are helping to protect the environment, jobs, traditional farming along with its unique skills, the welfare of animals and most importantly your health. The food is delivered right to your door which saves you precious time in the supermarket and lots of transportation fuel. The box is collected at the next delivery to be reused so there is very little packaging and everything comes straight from the fields so no nasty chemical washes.You always get a good feeling when you see the box, you can smell the goodness and see the beautiful colours and textures just waiting to be turned into meals worth having!

Box scheme operators closely monitor their prices against the big four supermarkets on a monthly basis and although the comparison goes up and down by a few percent the box schemes average 21% cheaper than the supermarkets. That is a big, big saving!!!

I recommend that you use free range and organic produce for every recipe, diet, juice and detox found within this site. There is no substitute for good quality food!


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