A Week In The Life Of A Veg Box

7 01 2009

It’s early January and the overnight frosts have been harsh, so I was pleased to see plenty of comfort food in our veg box this week.

I’ve just started with a new provider (don’t you love moving house?!) and went straight for their mega box. It really is as big as it sounds. I wanted to set myself the challenge of moving our diet over to being mainly vegetable based (more alkalising), so decided to start big!

And here’s what was in our box this week:

Potatoes, onions, beetroot, Swiss chard, Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, parsnips, salad leaves, cauliflower, swede, sprout tops, mushrooms, parsley – all grown within a 10 mile radius of the farm – truly seasonal and local 🙂 . It was missing the turnip, carrots and coriander, but that’s probably a good thing, as I’m away this weekend.

Once I had unloaded it all, I realised just how much veg you get in a mega box. I have never seen so many potatoes – 3kg! And 400g chard is a lot, lot, lot.

So how am I going to make sure we get through it all?

  1. I’ve started by accepting that I need to make life easy for myself.

    So all the muddy root vegetables got a good scrub last night and were left out to dry, before going in the bottom of the fridge. If you’re anything like me, the thought of de-mudding them, when you’re already in a hurry, is enough to make you reach for pasta again.

  2. Then everything got listed on the fridge door.

    That way I don’t have to think about what’s left. The idea is that stuff gets crossed off when it has been used.

  3. The next thing I did was to be honest with myself about things I don’t really like eating…

    and decide to use those first.

    So cabbages and chard will be eaten early in the week (along with the salad leaves, which would otherwise go off).

  4. Next? Get hunting on the Veg Box Recipes website for some tasty ideas.

    And there are plenty of them.

And I thought it might be interesting to do a week’s diary of how we use the veg box, in case it inspires anyone else out there who might be feeling overwhelmed?

Day One

Veg box arrived at lunch time.

Half the swede and some of the spuds became swede mash (I always “dilute” the flavour of the swede with potatoes, but that’s mainly to get it past my fussy eaters). I ate my portion with a sprout top (picture to follow), sliced and sauted with pine nuts.

Evening: 1/2 a red cabbage, finely shredded with a mandolin, served with toasted, ground sesame seeds and tamari sauce.

A long way to go, but we’ve made a start!

More soon in a week in the life of a veg box.

What are you doing with your veg box this week?



It’s Time to VegBox Vote Again!

18 12 2008

get voting!

Hot off the press! Voting is now open for the 2008 UK Veg Box Awards, this year being affectionately dubbed the “Golden Gourds”!

If you get a veg box, read more about the awards and get voting now on the VegBox-Recipes.co.uk homepage.

You can rate your veg box provider on quality of produce, locality of produce and value for money, as well as telling us what they’re doing well and what they could do to improve.

And if you run a veg box scheme, read more about the awards here, and don’t forget to let all your customers know where to vote.  After all, you’ve got to be in it to win it!

Look out for the results in February’s newsletter*

The VegBox Team

*not signed up for the newsletter? Easily fixed! Just click here.

How Do You Get Your Veg Box???

2 09 2008
Autumn Veg Box

Autumn Veg Box

As many of you know, we’ve recently moved.

Where we used to live, our veg box was delivered to our door by friendly Roger, every Friday afternoon.

The boys used to wait, practically by the front door, listening for the familiar, dulcet tones of the Purton House Farm van, as it pulled up, before systematically removing all the veg from the box, covering the hall floor in mud, and declaring their verdict on that week’s selection.

I’ve waited a little while to get to know the local farms where we are now, before deciding which veg box provider to use. So having made my decision, I’ve just spotted that, in the village we’re in, the farm doesn’t do door-to-door deliveries. It only has a drop-off point.

No problem, I thought. I’ll just pop round and collect my box on the way home from work.

Duh! No can do. The office is at home these days. And the village is 2 miles from one end to the other and we’re at one end, so a village drop-off point could be round the corner or an hour’s walk each way (imagine the speed with the little ones in tow). And it suddenly occurred to me that lugging a box of veggies across the forest tracks with a 3 year-old meandering and the toddler in the pushchair or the back pack is a big ask!

So the only option would be to get in the car, to make a round trip of less than a couple of miles, risking the boys falling asleep too close to bedtime, in order to collect our order.

Seems madness!

I guess I had been so used to having my veg box delivered or being “out at work” and picking it up in the evening, that it didn’t occur to me that local drop-off points can be such a challenge.

Not sure what the answer will be on that one.

But it got me wondering whether any of you face similar challenges?

How do you get hold of your veg box?

What’s working? What isn’t? Does the “getting” of the veg box put you off from ordering one?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!



Go Beyond The Kale – Veg Box Recipes in the Evening Standard

20 08 2008

Today’s Evening Standard has a great article by Charlotte Ross, all about how to make the most of your veg box.

You know the kind of thing – how to avoid having to compost yet another cabbage or kohlrabi at the end of the week!

Veg Box Recipes - Evening Standard

Veg Box Recipes - Evening Standard

And she says some glowing stuff about the Veg Box Recipes website and our new Veg Box Recipes Club, in particular!

In her article, Charlotte talks about the challenges facing veg box users to find out what to do with all the different vegetables they receive – and to get out of the rut of just doing stir fries or pasta sauces each night.

Charlotte says: “There is little worse than admitting defeat and throwing your Jerusalem artichokes in the compost bin. My boyfriend… for one, will be thankful that help is at hand, in the form of a new veg box support group. Run by Clare Josa, who also hosts the popular website Veg Box Recipes, and billing itself as a private members club for vegetable enthusiasts, the helpline is fast becoming a hit.”

She goes on to say that she can see quite some demand for the club and she can see like-minded cooks teaming up to share advice on what to do with beetroot or, in her case, the first cabbage of the season, sitting stubbornly in her cool box!

As ever, it’s great to get publicity for the website. Everyone involved puts in lots of effort and it’s great to know it’s appreciated.

If you’d like to join the Veg Box Recipes Club today, we’re offering a free 28 day trial.

Join the Veg Box Recipes Club now.

Courses For Cooks – Veg Boxes Made Easy

14 02 2008

Here’s some information from Sarah from courses4cooks. It’s about a great course they ran for people using veg boxes. Sounds like it was lots of fun!

Courses 4 Cooks

The Courses For Cooks Veg Box Made Easy Cookery

This course is about being creative with seasonal veg, without fuss or faff. It’s about making healthy eating quick and easy. On the day we went through the latest veg box, create an interesting menu from the contents, and then cooked it as a group.

It was aimed at people who want to eat seasonally whether they are using a veg box scheme, the local farm shop or greengrocer. For those who would like to have a veg box delivery but find the idea of being faced with a load of (possibly unusual) veg a bit daunting – I showed them how to turn the box into an easy, but tasty, menu in minutes.

For those who already have a veg box but are running out of ideas – this course provides some new recipes and a chance for guests to share their experiences and tips and have a sociable day cooking. The course is also useful for people who just want to eat more seasonal veg – without taking on a regular veg box delivery.

This is hands on cookery in a small group [maximum 6 people] in a normal kitchen – informal, sociable, fun and relaxed.

Find out what was on the menu for the January course.

For more information: www.courses4cooks.co.uk or contact Sarah on 0115 9160861 or by email to: vegbox [at] courses4cooks [dot] co [dot] uk
There will be more courses soon, so please visit Courses 4 Cooks to find out more.


Clare x

Sprout Tops – What Are You Doing With Them?

27 11 2007

Brussel SproutsHas anyone else got sprout tops in their veg box this week?

I knew they were on their way because I’ve started to get emails about what to do with them.

So I wasn’t surprised to get one this week.

The good thing about “sprout tops” is that the Brussels Sprouts on them seem to keep fresh longer than “picked” sprouts – so don’t complain if you get one. You’re less likely to be eating wilted, yellowing sprouts. Bags of picked sprouts only keep a few days. A sprouts top will keep (usually) for a week or more.

The easiest thing to do is snap off the sprouts you need and leave the rest for later in the week.

I’ve also been asked a lot what you can do with the “top”, once you’ve eaten the sprouts. My honest answer is: I’ve not yet tried anything with it. So far I’ve always composted them! So here’s the challenge:

Have you found out anything you can do with sprouts tops? Have you used them for soup? For stock? Or even chopped, cooked and eaten them?

If you’ve been getting creative with sprout tops, please let us know 🙂

Thank you.

Clare x

What’s Your Favourite Winter Vegetable – And Why?

20 11 2007

The seasons are upside down this year. We’re still getting UK-grown courgettes and tomatoes in our veg box, yet it’s December this weekend!

Fresh BeetrootDon’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining – I love the summer veggies, but it feels weird contemplating recipes for courgettes and swedes at the same time!

I guess we’re in the last few weeks of the late summer veg and the abundance of root vegetables in veg boxes shows that we’re now in “late autumn”, so it’s time to think soups, bakes, casseroles, mashes and all sorts of other comfort food 🙂

So I was wondering: what’s your favourite winter vegetable – and why?

I’m going to cheat and opt for two – beetroot and butternut squash (though probably not together).

Butternut squashes stay in season for months and their bright orange flesh adds a wonderfully sweet, creamy flavour to winter dishes.

Beetroot is just so colourful, packed with vitamins and has a sweet, earthy flavour, that makes a lovely change from the pungent flavour of turnips and celeriac. I’m a late starter with beetroot, having only discovered I like it in the last 18 months. So it’s just as well we’ve got lots of beetroot recipes to enjoy.

So what’s your favourite winter vegetable and why???

Clare x