There are tons of companies out there who deliver diet plans to your doorstep. And while they work for some people, I’ve been more inclined to invest in food that is as natural as it is meant to be. So, a box loaded with fresh fruit and vegetables and/or organic meat and poultry is always welcome on my doorstep. And it was when I embarked from yet another trip from somewhere around the world back into Reading station, that I noticed the pop-up stall for Riverford and I decided to investigate.
Riverfood has been growing organically since 1987 choosing varieties for flavour while looking after the soil, wildlife and birds. They never spray unnecessary chemicals on vegetables and as a result all their produce is 100% organic. The Riverford box scheme began when farmer Guy Watson started delivering vegetables locally to 30 friends in Devon. Today some 47,000 boxes a week are delivered around the UK from their regional farms. Naturally, I wanted to try a box so I went on their website to select one (boxes from £11.45).
The box scheme works by choosing a seasonal organic box – there’s lots to choose from. You then top up with further organic fruit, meat and milk and more. The local veg team delivers the products for free (you don’t have to be at home). The box arrives with recipe cards or you can check out more menu ideas online and start getting creative.
And there are lots of combination of boxes to choose from such as less or more root vegetables, juicing packages, purely veg or fruit boxes, veg with meat and various sized boxes. There are set boxes and then there are ones that you can tailor for your needs. I personally love food shopping, so it was great to be able to trawl through their site looking at all there was on offer. I eventually settled for the Medium Veg Box (original) Plus Meat. (£32.90). The boxes are designed to last all week.
As the contents of the seasonal veg change each week, I had no idea what would arrive in the box. But generally speaking the, the medium veg box contains eight varieties of vegetables including staples of potatoes, carrots and onions. In addition, there are three cuts of organic meat from the Riverford butchery, such as mince, diced meat, prime steaks, chicken breasts and the occasional roasting joint.
And as regular as clockwork, the two boxes arrived at Richard’s home (I was on my travels) on delivery day, with the meat completely insulated for it to have been left outside for the whole day. Diving straight in, I was impressed with the amount of food that arrived in the box. The meat – beef mice, lamb and chicken drumsticks – all looked rather inviting to eat. Included as promised were a couple of recipe cards as well as an A-Z of Riverford veg. The guide helps you to identify veg and gives you tips on how to store, prepare and cook them.
Ever since my appearance on Come Dine With Me, (when I actually couldn’t cook!) I have been experimenting with cooking. They are often simple dishes mind and both Richard and I will be in the kitchen at the same time to help inspire each other. The Riverford box gave us proper food for thought and we attempted to get adventurous in the kitchen. I can’t say our dishes were worthy of Masterchef or award winning, but the Riverford box got our creative juices flowing!
And when you’re done with the boxes, they will be collected with your next delivery to be reused up to 10 times. There is lots more about Riverford farmers and boxes than I have covered so do go along to their website to explore. There is a Riverford pub, restaurant and a farm shop to discover. I absolutely loved my first box – the butternut squash, chicken drumsticks and the cherry tomatoes were a real hit for me while Richard swore by the mushrooms the beef and the lamb. And we both got our five-a-day as a result. Winning!
Where and how?
Riverford Organic Farmers Ltd, Buckfastleigh, Devon, TQ11 0JU, UK
Phone: 01803 227227. For more information visit here.
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