Curried Parsnip Soup (The Veg Space)
Sign up to a local veg box, to help support your local farmers. Many are organic (if you garden without chemicals but can’t afford to register with Soil Association, you can use the alternative at Wholesome Food Association). It only costs a bean and works on trust, so you can then carry ‘organic certification’ without the time and expense.
Keep boxes in a safe place, as some items (garlic, onion, leeks, chives, mushrooms, grapes, green potatoes/onions etc) are toxic to pets (they have no covers). Keep ice gel boxes away from pets and children.
Most boxes offer a week’s trial, and you’re usually free to cancel any time. Some even include recipe sheets, so you know what to do with that giant purple cauliflower!
The smaller the scheme, usually the cheaper it is. And there’s no plastic packaging, you just leave out your empty box for collection, and get a new one the next week. A few also offer other groceries like bread.
So how does a local veg box work? Most farmers deliver a seasonal ‘surprise’ box to each week or fortnight (you can usually opt to swap if you don’t like Brussels sprouts). And if you go on holiday, you can postpone your box (leftover food usually goes to local food banks). Some larger schemes let you choose the veggies you want, but most assume you’ll just eat what ripens that week. Fresh from the farm, it tastes better too.
The benefits are immense. It helps to promote food security in your area, so people don’t always rely on supermarket food. And even if you live in a ‘food desert’ with little local food, you can order a veg box.
In many countries, we have a ‘hungry gap’, when not much grows. So for these winter months, you may find your box scheme has to import produce (unless they have a polytunnel). If so, you’ll find that most don’t air-freight. So even if your oranges and bananas will arrive by ship.
And if you eat bananas, you don’t have to choose between Fair Trade (no plastic) or organic (plastic, to keep separated from other produce). If it’s all organic, no plastic is needed.
In London, two good veg boxes are One Organic (North London) which supplies fruits and veggies weekly throughout London, using a friendly reliable service that also delivers fresh bread. And ODDBOX offers truly leftover waste veggies that would be thrown away, delivered in boxes straight to your door. This company rescues fresh fruit and veg that is ‘too odd, too big, too small’ and delivers it to your doorstep overnight.
Scilly Organics offers local organic vegetable boxes, all grown to veganic standards (so no bonemeal or animal by-products). The company also offers consultancy to commercial growers, and has a yurt to stay in, if you feel like a bit of glamping (glamorous camping!) Based on St Martin’s, produce sells out quick – strawberries, apples, peaches and grapes plus a wide range of veggies including potatoes, carrots, courgettes, squash, beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, kale and chard.
Simple Recipes for Your Veg Box
The Veg Box is a unique book on how to use up 10 different vegetables in your fridge or freezer, in 10 different ways. So much fresh food goes to waste, but there’s no need with the simple yet delicious plant-based recipes in this book, that give you 100 recipes in total.
Use vegan butters with no palm oil. Keep these recipes away from pets due to toxic ingredients (garlic, onion, leeks, chives, mushrooms, grapes, nuts, avocado, fruit pips & seeds, dried fruits, nutmeg, fresh dough, green potatoes/onions, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, jackfruit and xylitol).
Twin brothers Steve and David now run an Irish foodie empire. But they started out 20 years ago as greengrocers, so are veggie experts, if ever there were! They explain the versility and flavour of each seasonal vegetable, with tips to reduce food waste, and tips on how to shop and cook more sustainably. The book includes metric measures, plus recipes for quick weeknight dinners, family-friendly meals and sweet treats. You’ll learn information and recipes to prepare:
- Aubergine (eggplant)
- Courgette (zucchini)
- Potatoes (they’re Irish, after all!)
Ideal for anyone who uses a veg box delivery but struggles to find inspiration on what to eat, or those who want to increase their veggie intake, you’ll learn how to transform carrots into burgers, courgettes into cakes and mushrooms into sausage rolls! Recipes include:
- Spaghetti & Beetballs
- Mushroom Kofta Curry
- Roasted Leek, Black Bean & Sweet Potato Bowl
- Easy Carrot Cupcakes
David and Stephen Flynn are founders of The Happy Pear, a recipe site and information on their network of shops, ready-meals and online cooking and baking courses. They also run a popular online cooking channel, with millions of fans. All their recipes feature real wholesome seasonal ingredients. They also enjoy yoga and go swimming in the cold Irish sea for fun!