My Organic Box Sits in The Sun All Day
My organic box comes full of lovely, fresh organic vegetables but often I’m out when it arrives.
The front of my house gets the afternoon sun and this is bad news for my veggies! Even if I had a fairly shady spot on those sultry hot London days we sometimes get I could still have a problem.
Riverford have done some interesting work on the problem and spent a considerable amount of time last year experimenting with solutions. They even got Exeter Uni involved to see what percentage of the year temperatures might be a problem for the shelf life of the various vegetables.
How Do You Keep Your Organic Box Cool?
Riverford have come up with a couple of interesting solutions. They tried all sorts of methods but the two best (short of having a hole in the ground to pop the box in!) were using an ‘eco-cool blanket’ or building a rather charming cold store cupboard/planter.
The Eco Cool Blanket
This is a wonderfully hitech solution. You buy a purpose made cover which keeps your organic boxes up to 5°C cooler and keeps the box dry if the problem is summer rain rather than blazing sunshine.
You pop the blanket inside your previous week’s box which you are returning and your delivery driver covers your new box with it.
The eco-cool blanket is elasticated,fits even the largest box, looks very much like the sort of thing people wrap themselves in at the end of the marathon and costs £4.25
Eco-Cool Food Safe
This is a much more attractive solution but costs quite a lot more. Riverford says:
a wooden safe that encases your veg box in a layer of compost and soil, ensuring that any produce put inside stays up to 10 degrees cooler than if just left on a doorstep.
Not only that but it looks really attractive once it’s filled with plants:
How does it work?
1. The safe has a high thermal capacity and captures the cool of the night to preserve your veg through the day
2. Water evaporating from it gives an extra cooling effect, like putting a damp towel over a barrel of beer
3. When filled with soil and compost and locked, it’s so heavy that no-one can make off with your veg box while you’re out
The Eco-Cool Food Safe comes in 3 sizes, is delivered in a flat pack and costs between £69 and £74.
Low Tech Solutions to Hot Organic Boxes
Much though I like the Eco-Cool Food Safe I’m an old hippy at heart and that food safe looks pretty easy to copy. What I’m thinking is two wine crates for the sides and a wooden shelf for the top. Pop a window box planter (wooden) on top, fill with soil and plants. An old cupboard door could be added and the whole lot painted with a chalky mix of emulsion and water to give a shabby chic white or maybe a chippy pale blue. (This might just be my Shabby Chic obsession talking!) Stand it against a wall, ideally somewhere that gets a bit of shade and your organic boxes are going to stay nice and cool on the hottest day (or dry when it does the other thing!)
It would be a little taller than the smallest bought one but that should make it easier to get your organic boxes out again.