Just after Christmas Paul and I were offered a free veg box from River Ford by a friend, never being the sort to turn down free food I jumped on the chance. Not only was this a bit of a novelty, the idea of someone growing organic fruit and vegetables and delivering them to our door, it was also something we'd been thinking about for a few months now. It wasn't long before the first box arrived and we got to know our local veg delivery folk, who are very accommodating and helpful when it comes to setting up your orders and settling into a regular routine, lovely folk.
Above is a photo of our most recent fruit & veg box, this included the best grapes I have ever had, ever. They were better than most sweets I've had. As there's only two of us we opted for the mini boxes on a fortnightly basis, one fortnight just veg, the next fruit and veg. This allows us to top up with veg for specific meals around the side or eat out without worrying about wasting all that food. You're pretty much guaranteed to get carrots, potatoes and onions but that's fine by me, they are the basis of many different kinds of meals and they are always really good quality.
A major highlight of the fruit and veg box for Paul was getting tomatoes. Tomatoes can be quite watery, boring even, when bought from a supermarket, a disappointment, specially if you've had good tomatoes while away, probably in Spain. The veg box tomatoes were sweet, ripe, fresh and even had a fantastic tang to them that is so often missing from the supermarket tomatoes. The result was the best cheese and tomato sandwich we've ever had, followed by several salads.
Another highlight, of similar nature was receiving our first cucumber this week. Cucumber is another fruit that has lost it's way and gained a reputation as simply being a thing that tastes of water in the supermarkets. I can tell you that this cucumber was crisp, full of flavour and did something I've never seen a cucumber do before. When it was left cut open in the fridge a few droplets formed on the exposed white area, these were sugary, syrup like even. A cucumber so bursting with flavour it was fighting to get out.
Even the cabbage is a welcome addition to our plates now, specially when cooked up with some pepper, lemon and pancetta cubes. Served with pasta. Yum. Or in a pork based stir fry.
I've never encountered a veg I wouldn't eat, but occasionally a bit of inspiration is in order to figure out exactly what to do with the more unusual additions to the box. That's when recipes come in handy, every time you get a box you also get a recipe card with a few seasonal recipes on it. If that isn't enough for you there's also a whole section of their website just for recipes, cooking and preparation tips.
I'm quite looking forward to an excuse to try the meat boxes, could be great for the run up to Christmas, or for a BBQ if the summer weather behaves itself.