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Fruit & Vegetable Box Scheme


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#16 Will on the Hill

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 02:38 PM

First report... Abel and Cole

Arrived: Yes
Packaged: Well
Quality:Good
Value for money:Good
Usefuleness: Excellent. Loved the likes/dislikes thing. Got no evil corgettes or very evil celery, instead nice crispy little gems and Chinese cabbage. Like the idea of variety each week. Got the delixe small organic box, like that it is a mix of fruit AND veg.

Will try another company this week.

#17 Will on the Hill

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 07:46 AM

Been off on too many weekends away so have been a bit slow with trying other schemes.

Tried Capricorn a few weeks back, they seem to be a small south London company which you order by sending in an email and then paying when they come or by cheque. They deliver on Tuesday evenings in CP so at least the veg isn't hanging around outside too long if you work. I think it is the sister of the lady who runs the company that does the delivering.

Unlike Abel & Cole (but like Riverford) there is no small box that has both fruit and veg, so the £10 option so you are looking at starting price more around the £14 for both fruit and veg (similar to Riverford) which may be an issue if you live alone like I did. However comparitive to the A&C box there was more in their bag so overall it was of similar value.

Quality was good although - as with organic eg - lasting was a bit of a problem (also being antipodean and new to the world of the leek I didn't realise I should have refrigerated it and it was a little unhappy!!)

So overall:

Arrived: Yes
Packaged: Well - string bag
Quality:Good
Value for money:Good

About to try out Riverford out for this week and will try Planta after that.

#18 Will on the Hill

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 10:01 PM

Been away for a bit so have been a bit slow with my survey.

Have tried Riverfords. Generally happy but not completely sure about contents and the broad beans were missing.

Have also discovered from an ethical living book i read on the weekend that abel and cole have their dustribution point in Loughborough Junction so that reduced more travelling miles for the food. Will check out where Riverfords deliver from before making my final decision.

Arrived: Yes
Packaged: Well
Quality:Good
Value for money:Good
Usefuleness: Maybe I got an off week but there was quite a few odd things in the box and maybe? a bit low on staples. I know it's meant to be seasonal, but gooseberries and kohl rabi (I had to look it up) and various other bits were a bit much for a simple single like me (although I did make a mean apple and gooseberry crumble on a colleaugue's advice). Also being a hot day the lettuce was a bit wilty by the time I got home - which I suppose is a benefit of Capricorn in that they deliver in the early evening. Also there were TWO courgettes AND a cucumber - none of which I'm THAT keen on, and again a bit hard to use as a single. The "likes and dislikes" list of Abel and Cole is look more and more like a winning feature. (especially now I have quite a lot of my own leaf growing and the tomatoes are fruiting etc. so I can take them off the likes list)

Will try Planta soon.

#19 gekko

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Posted 20 July 2006 - 08:24 AM

Abel & Cole moved recently - I think they are based in Wimbledon now, or at least that's the contact address they list on the site:

Abel & Cole Limited
16 Waterside Way
Plough Lane
Wimbledon
SW17 0HB

Anyway, it's still pretty close - nearer than Riverford I think.

The unusual veggies you get are part of the attraction for me, as I love trying new things. I get a bit bored with the staples sometimes. No matter how hard I try though, I really can't dig spring greens :( . Thank goodness for the likes and dislikes feature.

At the mo, we are just getting the Fruit Plus box from A&C. I'm growing my own veggies as well so have an abundance of courgettes (a vegetable of which A&C are a little to fond IMO), sugar snaps, dwarf French beans, carrots and salad. I'm also growing loads of tomatoes - Gardener's Delight and Brandywine - so will have a tom mountain shortly! If I need any extra veggies, I just add them as individual orders.

I also get my weekly dairy products from them too (which means I don't have to go to the Tesco Exp to buy my milk, yoghurt and creme fraiche each week).
Mel, Forum Moderator

#20 becs

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 06:38 PM

We used to get able and cole and now get riverford and have been astounded by the quality. The taste of almost all the stuff has been great and the variety seems a bit better. There is a form where you can add extras too - all sorts of stuff incl. organic wine.

#21 jannism

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 07:20 PM

My last veg box was delivered really late - about 9.30 in the evening. The person delivering apologised for lateness and for her muddy state - she'd only just finished picking it! (It was one of those incredibly hot days at the end of July)

I get mine from a couple just up the road on Perridge farm in Pilton, the same farm as Brown Cow Organics.

Just wanted to gloat a bit really :P ...I'll get me coat... :unsure:

#22 nico

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Posted 19 August 2006 - 02:38 PM

With reference to food miles, and distance from base, Riverford grow and supply much more UK produce. Quite a bit of A&C can come from abroad, and although shipped still travels further than home grown stuff.

#23 rommany_rich

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 07:28 PM

My first post on this wonderful forum is another vote for Riverford.

We left A&C on someone elses recommendation, and have never regretted it.

Good product, nice service and a well thought out organisation behind it. I have got 3 or 4 of our friends hooked too.



Rich


PS I've stopped lurking, and started posting !

#24 edgar

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Posted 23 August 2006 - 09:14 PM

I've been taking a Riverford box for some time now and have been very pleased, on the whole, with quality, quantity and variety. True, there are some periods when either carrots or mushrooms come at you with dreary regularity, but, all in all, I really enjoy the box. I had started with a fruit and vegetable box, but then switched to vegetables only as I wanted as much UK produce as was possible. Also, the website and newsletters are very good, and the recipes are great. The patatas bravas recipe, in particular, is a real winner:

Riverford Patatas Bravas

But, of course, I am one to have a whinge, and I'm sure Riverford's get this one all the time - it's potatos every single week (and I can't eat patatas bravas Monday to Sunday). They are the stock item in the vegetable boxes every week, and frankly there is very little left, at this stage, that I haven't done with a potato (have even sang sea shanties to them). Riverford's offer a high-quality product and service, and if we even had just the occasional week off from potatos, it would be perfect.

They have, however, my wholehearted recommendation.

#25 Will on the Hill

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 06:37 PM

Well I'm afraid I won't win any awards for completeness of research design as I've kinda got used to the Abel and Cole boxes and have been using those, been loving them. So sorry Planta. If I get around to it I might try them. Have started to buy a few other organic things at their shop, so spreading the love around at least :)

I have completely and utterley changed my eating habits since having the box delivered though. Much more varied and interesting - and making a lot more things for lunch or to just have in the fridge, and eating much more fruit. I agree - I do like having one or two things a week I wouldn't have bought before, so these past two weeks I have been trying interesting things with Swiss Chard (creamy pasta sauce, eggs florentine etc) and a pattypan squash (I stuffed it with wild rice). Like I say I may have just got an off week with Riverfords, but it is also hard to go past the likes and dislikes section, I really detest all stone fruit and a few other odd things and the idea of wasting them doesn't sit well with me. The box I get from A&C seems to be just right for a single person, staple spuds, onions a few slightgly more exotic things, some leaf, then a mix of fruit. Loving all the banana smoothies and fresh OJ on a Saturday.

It's actually become a bit of a work past-time, checking up what is in this week's and then asking around "what would you do with a ...." Also love the ready-steady-cook aspect of using up the stuff towards the end of the week. Made a very tasty carrot and coriander soup today as the carrots were banking up and was a bit over coleslaw!

A&C also have loads of added extras you can order. Have been ordering their bread, haven't ventured into milk / dairy / meat just yet, as have had to cancel a few weeks due to being on holidays and at a conference, but in the quiet post-summer season might try them out as I will be in more of a routine / not away on the weekends.

So it's A&C for me for the likes/dislikes and the cost for a single person (if I was at least two then maybe Riverford would be better).

Thanks all for your comments, hope people have found the conversation useful.

Cheers

Will

PS. Edgar - have you tried any of the online recipe generators for potatoes? I find I don't get that sick of them as you can use them not only for traditional mains like mash, but also for potato salads - and by really varying what you put in the salad you can really change the dish, great for lunch. I also love a potato based frittata, great hot at night or cold for lunch the next day.

#26 gekko

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 05:01 PM

Re A&C, I get most of my dairy from them as it means I'm not having to nip out for things like milk all the time. They do Yeo Valley creme fraiche and yoghurt, which is very nice. I have bought the cheese from A&C before now although I don't think they have an amazing choice. Also, I think the cheese counter in the new Sainsburys is pretty good (stocks things like Cornish Yarg, which I love) so I've been buying cheese there. I used to buy bread from A&C but I didn't really like the range - I know they use The Old Post Office Bakery but the loaves seemed to be quite heavy and I prefer light and fluffy. So I usually just make my own in the bread machine and buy from the supermarket for everyday bread.
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#27 Will on the Hill

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 09:15 PM

I agree I haven't been particularly impressed with the bread, also find it a bit heavy, I ordered the olive ciabatta once and that was tasty though. The organic breads from Sainsbury do seem pretty good though. Your homemade bread sounds nice though!

Edited by James, 11 September 2006 - 09:49 PM.


#28 Emmalina

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 06:57 PM

I know there's already a thread on here for this but can't seem to find it - can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks

#29 skigirl

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Posted 16 October 2006 - 07:50 PM

Maybe this one? http://www.virtualno...?showtopic=3210

You could also try searching separately for Riverfords & Abel and Cole, the 2 major deliverers.

#30 Emmalina

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Posted 17 October 2006 - 09:27 AM

Thanks very much skigirl - will gave Abel and Cole a try. Am about to start baby weaning and like the look of their Baby box!