Don’t get me wrong – we love going to the farmer’s market. We love buying fresh, organic and seasonal fruit and veg. It’s in line with ayurvedic principles, tastes better because first of all it’s organic, and second we find that what’s in season always tastes better. What we don’t love is getting up every Saturday at 6am to avoid the crowds. I know it sounds like a petty concern, but after five days of getting up early, sometimes the last thing you want to do is grab those bags, get in the car, cross the city and stumble from stall to stall at the market. To add insult to injury, there will surely be plenty of these never-tired, always-smiling, never-sleeping farmers around, greeting you with more energy than you’ve ever had in your life (note: working outdoors must do wonders to your health!).
The other thing that disturbs me is that I shop the same every week. Not just about the same, but the very same items. I don’t even need a shopping list. Consequently, I always cook the same, and my cooking evolves around a few tried and tested recipes. I sometimes look at other items, particularly when they’re in season, and put them back again. Bok Choi, anyone? Hum.
We’ve been regular veggie delivery subscribers in London and have been looking around for another organic and convenient solution in Melbourne. We’ve found ORGANIC ANGELS, run by Scott and Sarah, and yes, their stuff is heavenly. A good veggie box delivery service for me needs to tick quite a few boxes, which they do: First, please give me a two-hour time window, don’t tell me ‘Your box arrives between 8am and 5pm’. And don’t tell me to go somewhere to pick it up – then I might as well go to the market directly. And please, let me exclude some items from my box, always and forever (sorry, Kale!). Also: Please don’t make me spend 20min scrubbing off mud. I don’t mind cleaning, but a box full of mud where I need to search for the veggies is annoying, particularly if I don’t have time (which is why many people get the box in the first place).
And yes please, do include some recipes featuring this week’s box content – which forces me to try new, unfamiliar veggies and new recipes! Because you wouldn’t just throw out a perfectly fine veg because you didn’t know what to make of it, right?
But that’s not it: I’d also like to add things to my delivery to stock the kitchen cupboard. Ideally these should be locally produced food items which otherwise I may not have come across – so please, veggie box, inspire me! For example tell me about honey that is literally harvested in my backyard.
BACKYARD HONEY is run by Melbourne resident Peter Dyer who harvests honey locally – so if your living area is indicated on the jar, most likely the bees have been visiting your backyard. But that’s not all: Peter also helps if you’d like your very own honey – he gets you started with your hive, in your garden, and you get to keep the first 10kg of honey in exchange. From a more general point of view, you’ll also ensure pollination in yours and your neighbours’ gardens and do something for the environment. You can then sit back and watch the buzz, with pets that are always active, don’t make noise and don’t have to be fed or groomed.
Backyard Honey is raw honey collected from a hive within approximately 3km of the location specified on the jar. Each batch is a little different as the foraging of bees is ‘neither within the apiarist’s control nor inclination’. We’ve tried the Red Gum, ‘a classic rich eucalyptus honey’, and the Hawthorn which has a bit of a “bunch of flowers” taste to it.
Overall, we’re big fans of veggie box deliveries – we’re “forced” to try new veggies and recipes, we support local farmers (in a very lazy way!) and we can be sure to get fresh produce (the ORGANIC ANGELS team for example buy the veggies that go in the box on the same morning at the market). Granted, we’re also blessed living in Australia, where most things grow all year round due to the favourable climate, so there’s never really anything we’re missing.
Do you go to the market or have you tried a veg box delivery? What’s your experience?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!