Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

A new approach to eating

I can talk a good talk about buying locally and eating ethically but it’s all too easy to get sucked in by the Tesco machine and find yourself buying strawberries imported from Chile. So when we moved home at the beginning of March the lady of the manor and I made a deliberate decision to do something about it.

Veg boxWe finally got our arses in gear and arrange a weekly veg box from a local supplier just outside of Swindon. We did look at the well known national suppliers but decided against them for a number of reasons, they seemed to contain imported vegetables fairly regularly and still generate food miles given where the main farms are based. There wasn’t any difference in price so buying from a local supplier felt like the obvious choice.

The objective of having a veg box is to force ourselves to both eat seasonally and also eat more variety of vegetables. When you buy from a supermarket it takes some work to check where the vegetables have come from and to see what’s in season with many vegetables available all year round. A veg box ensures you are eating whatever is available at that point of the year which will be a combination of freshly picked and taken from storage. This should of course also mean the veg is at its tastiest best!

July meat box contentsIt’s definitely been a learning curve to adapt our meal planning and eating habits to this new setup to avoid having lots of wastage at the end of the week. We’ve now got into the habit of planning our meals on a Tuesday night when the contents of the veg box is published on the suppliers website. We tick off each item from the list so that we know we’ve used them all, it challenges you to find new recipes to use them all up and not just make the same old things.

Twitter is your  best friend here, the greatest cook book you can ever have, a simple tweet of ‘how can I use this’ and within a few minutes you will have at least 5 suggestions!

The final addition to this new approach is we now also get a monthly meat box from the same supplier. At the beginning of each month we get a box full of meaty goodness delivered that we pop in the freezer. It’s great quality organic and free range meat that is mainly from their own farm so again ticking the local box. The box changes our eating habits in the same way as the veg box, we are forced to eat more variety and think of ways to use up each item brings new dishes to our repertoire each week.

Matilda inspecting the meat delivery

So far we’re loving it, sure we may have too many potatoes sometimes but the box we’ve chosen includes a good variety without too many of the more exotic things that never get eaten. Cost wise I don’t think it’s any more than we were spending before; the veg box is £15 a week and the meat box £80 a month. A reasonable price for the standard of food you get and something we’re happy to pay, preferring to sacrifice elsewhere to ensure we eat well.

It’s also fun getting Matilda involved in food (and Henry soon), whenever it’s delivered she helps unpack and asks us what every item is. So we tell her and try to link it to what she see’s in the fields etc. I want her to know that she’s eating a chicken, the same ones she feeds grass to down the road and what it looks like once it’s been plucked. Then she can see that we choose to buy meat from animals that have been treated well and what a piece of meat looks like.

Has anyone else made a change in this way or have any top tips for eating seasonally?

8 Comments

  1. Interesting to see the prices there. Those aren’t horrific, which I thought they would be.

    We used to get a veg box each week but we found that there were many vegetables that although they were in season, we just really did not enjoy them. They were also of “poorer” condition meaning they didn’t last very long. We eventually stopped as we were wasting a lot more than we used to. However things are different now and maybe we could try it again.

    • yeah no point doing it if you don’t eat it, so far the biggest issue for us is too much chard. Not a particularly interesting veg. But quality is good and I think price wise fairly comparable to the supermarkets.

  2. I’ve
    always tried to be mindful of where my food comes from, using a butcher and
    farm shop where possible. I find the veg from Sainsburys is not great quality
    and I can spend less at my local farm shop. Some things I still buy for
    convenience – a supermarket does make things easy. I like the idea of veg and meat boxes though, I will have to investigate.

    • We too tried to shop at farm shops, but that hassle of going there meant we didn’t keep it up and ending up spending lots more due to all the treats there 🙂
      Have a search for any local company to compare with the big national ones also.

  3. Like David, we tried a veg box but never got on very well with it. Too much cauliflower, swede, greens etc that neither of us like. I suspect the colder, damper climate up here is more limiting than it is down your way.

    We started getting a monthly meat pack from our local butcher a couple of months ago, and it’s great. It’s really encouraged us to eat more RED meat, which we hardly ever bought before.

    And, like you, we’re very keen to make sure our kids know where all this stuff comes from. There’s something really satisfying about seeing cows in a field, asking the kids what we get from cows, and having them shout back “milk, and cheese, and butter, and BURGERS!”

    • We’re definitely fairly blessed here for food, the South West is a great area for food producers. There is also quite a bit of choice in type of box so you can find one that works.

  4. Liz (Margot&Barbara)

    October 17, 2013 at 6:37 am

    I love this post – I have a similar approach to eating and am going to try and give up the supermarket completely next month, to see if i can manage it!

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