Organic, Locally Grown Veg
This is connected with my blog post called ‘Hot Dogs and Horse Lasagne’ and my attempts to ensure my family eat in a healthier and more responsible way. This is my very first step!
I’ve registered with a local veg box scheme called Cropshare which is run by Burnley Food Links. The aim is to buy less produce from supermarkets, invest more in the community rather than in huge corporations and to eat more healthily of course. Here’s my experience so far. This is not a sponsored post and I’ve forked out for this myself, they don’t know I’m running this review. I think sometimes you get a fairer view of things if you experience a service as any other customer would.
Yesterday I went to their pick up point at my local town to pick up a standard size veg bag. They don’t deliver to your door which I actually think is a great idea, it saves on their petrol costs and you can simply go into your pick up point (all very accessible) while you’re out shopping and get your supplies. This means you get to choose when it’s most convenient to go and get it, you don’t have to wait in for a delivery which is a bonus.
Every time I ask Tesco to supply my online order without plastic bags, I get a minimum of four of the things regardless of my request, if not more than that. I got a bottle of wine in a plastic bag in my last order, this annoys the hell out of me. Here everything is recycleable and reusable. Even the tag on the side of this bag that had my name on it had a child’s wordsearch on the reverse of it, they’d recycled the paper. I’m impressed at the attention to detail. After you’ve picked up your order you simply return your bag to the pick up point so it can be re-used for your order the following week.
All of the veg was in good condition and I didn’t have to fish any manky mushrooms out or throw any bendy carrots in the bin. There was a little bit of soil still on the produce, but it wasn’t excessive and from what I gather this helps to give your veg a longer shelf life. I didn’t mind at all. A quick rinse before food preparation and it’s all fine.
The veg is locally grown in allotments and schemes in this area and any profits made are reinvested, so I’m helping my local community by buying from Cropshare I love that this is a not-for-profit organisation so I know I’m not lining the pockets of some rich bloke in america. They say on their website that they have strong links with all of their growers and pay a fair price.
A standard bag containing 8-9 types of veg is £10 a week (paid monthly) and a small bag has 6-7 types of veg and is £6 a week. All the food in the bags ‘is either certified organic or accredited by the Climate Friendly Food scheme’ too. Can’t be bad! They accept Healthy Start vouchers too which is a bonus.
My one main concern is been that I’m not a great cook and I’m not known for being inventive (in a good way at least) – so will I end up with a ton of veg rotting in the cupboard unused? I hope not. They do supply a sheet of paper with a recipe on it with each order which will help to inspire me, but I’m going to have to work a lot harder in the kitchen to come up with ways to use all of this. I am a little disappointed that the newsletter appeared to be a list of where the food came from, what it is (for example a Tundra Cabbage), and just a recipe. I’d love to have heard more about the different schemes that work with Burnley Cropshare and updates on progress within the organisation or maybe general food news, but I guess that would be an added expense for the organisation if they had to produce that every week. Still, it would have been nice! Maybe something done on a monthly basis would be an idea? I hope they don’t mind me suggesting that. Then again, there’s a lot of information online about their work already.
So does the food taste better? Is it worth it? I’ve noticed that the veg does seem crunchier so far, no mouldy produce and I’m pleased with the quality. As for if it’s worth it, I’ve yet to find that out. It depends if I can use it all, maybe I’ll get a smaller bag in future if there’s a lot left over or if it goes ‘funny’ before I’ve managed to cook it. I’m planning to use more of this delivery for our food for the week and am going to try and buy less meat and other odds and ends. That should save me a little at least. I would prefer to eat less meat anyway so this isn’t going to be too bad for me at least, although my family might feel differently. All I can say is, if they don’t like it, they can either lump it or make their own meals. Selfish eh! Maybe.
If you’d like to read more about Burnley Food Links please click HERE.
Today on the school run a wagon carrying a load of live pigs or maybe cows drove past us, destined for the abbatoir further down the road. It stank to high heaven and the stench lingered long after it had passed. All three of us held our noses and went ‘Poooh!’ It was horrible. Who knows how long they’ve been in transit and what the conditions were like on the inside of that wagon? I shudder to think. It’s easier not to think about it, but probably not a very responsible thing to do. My next plan is to buy from our local butchers, eat less meat in general and try to avoid the supermarket pre-packaged stuff when possible.
This is my plan. I will fail sometimes I’m sure, but if I keep trying I can relieve my conscience a little and perhaps improve our diet and our health as a result. Baby steps.
Has the horsemeat scandal changed your eating habits? Would you consider buying from a community venture such as this? Do you have anything like this scheme in your area? What do you do to ensure your family eats healthily? Suggestions and comments are always very welcome and I love to read them. :O)