Today we have a guest post from Tom Howlett explaining just why we should all think about just who we buy our veg box from.
If you are looking for a veg box you have to make, what I believe to be one fundamental choice. Do you find a small local scheme or go for one of the 2 larger national companies.
Britain is becoming dominated by 2 large national veg box schemes (Riverford and Able and Cole). They do an amazing job of combining the benefits of a local veg box with real convenience. They make veg boxes more easily consumable by providing recipe cards and making videos of how to prepare the more unusual weirdly shapes things you’ll find lurking at the bottom of your box. They have done a great job of bringing veg boxes to the masses through their funky marketing. They provide a huge range of products and you can change your order online. But I don’t think they are the real deal. Here’s why.
We don’t just choose a veg box for the fantastically fresh seasonal produce. A local veg box connects us with our local farmers. Our hard-earned cash isn’t filling the pockets rich businessmen, it’s helping local people earn an honest living from the land.
Many local veg box scheme’s purity means they include a more limited range of produce then the national schemes. The ever-changing seasons mean we are delivered an ever-changing variety of vegetables. On good days we discover fantastic new recipes. On bad days we struggle to find a use for 3 swedes and a beetroot. All year round we are challenged to find recipes for a new seasons produce; its part of the fun and help us regain our connection with the cyclic nature of our environment.
What about convenience? If you want to change your order with a local scheme you usually need to make a telephone call, although more personal, it’s easy to forget and at times it can go wrong. The large schemes spend 1000′s on online systems that allow customers to change their order week by week, encouraging them to buy more and giving the company the opportunity to sell a wider range of produce and provide a viable more ethical alternative to a supermarket shop. At From Where It’s Grown we are providing local veg box schemes with solutions that match the sophistication of the big 2′s systems for a small monthly fee.
So if you are faced with this choice do at least find out about and give your local veg box scheme a try. If they don’t offer what you are looking for tell them what the need to do to win your custom, I think they will appreciate your candour. Local veg box schemes are a unique type of business. They are driven by beliefs not money, They deserve our support.
So there you are, will you think really local when it comes to buying your veg box?