I have been meaning to write about veggie boxes for a while now. This year has been a year of huge changes in my life. I have taken some drastic steps to add and modify things in my lifestyle. We brought a house, we got married, I gave up alcohol and meat completely.
With my husband, constantly fighting to be as green as we can practically be and being surrounded by people who are all about community welfare and supporting local and independent businesses, I have become more conscious than ever.
Food has been an important part of my life and is a big part of my Indian culture. When we plan a holiday, we first think of the cuisine before the sights there are to see. I cook fresh and hot meals everyday for our family and we thrive on good food. For years, I have been living to eat. But this year, I had a change of heart. I am working my way towards a healthy and more environment friendly lifestyle. I am not all the way just yet, but baby steps are what I am taking.
One of the biggest addition to this step is boycotting supermarkets for weekly supply of vegetables. We have started welcoming fresh and locally grown vegetable boxes into our lives. There are a few options in the area of Margate (Thanet) we live in but the one that satisfies our appetite is Nethergong Nurseries.
Nethergong Nurseries is based just outside Canterbury. It is run by the Jenkins family and they work with other local farms in order to put together the veg box that they deliver to your doorsteps every week. The one I order is meant for 2 -3 people and although we are two adults and 2 children, believe it or not, the box keeps up with all four of us and leaves a few treats (carrots) for the dogs too. So everyone is happy!
I have been ordering this veg box for almost 2 months now (after trying a few others), and I am pretty happy with the choice. The veg box comes with some standard supply of onions, potatoes and carrots with a smattering of other seasonal vegetables. I didn’t even know they grew mushrooms here. The box comes with at least one surprise element every week.
This week’s surprise elements were some red spinach and Crown Prince Squash? Yes I mean what the heck is that? One would not know because supermarkets seldom have them.
Reasons to go local
If you are not convinced yet, here are some of the many reasons why going local is a great idea:
Nutrition and Health:
Getting a vegetable box from your local farmer mean that these vegetables are freshly harvested and supplied to you. Most supermarket supply is over a week or two old losing a lot of nutritional value, whereas with a regular supply of vegetables from your local farm, you obtain your 5 a day much more easily and the quality is guaranteed.
Look at the size of these vegetables, I mean seriously! I bet you won’t find a ginormous squash in the supermarket or a parsnip this size. Out of season vegetables are much smaller and don’t taste as good. When vegetables are grown seasonally, they look and taste better or shall I say just right!
It isn’t easy to gauge but at the same time, it is a no brainer to say that vegetables grown and supplied locally have far less impact on the environment. They don’t use much packaging, crates or boxes are reused and the mileage covered by their delivery trucks are negligible in comparison to the big supermakets.
When you buy a veg box, you support local farmers and local community thereby contributing towards your local economic growth. In this world of supermarkets and large scale productions, our local farmers who are trying to produce ethically and trying to make a change get hugely ignored. We need to support them and other local businesses.
Saving Money and flexibility:
My veg box is merely £10 a week and that feeds us for an entire week, sometimes I even have leftovers. To give you an idea this weeks box consists :
Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, Parsnips, Squash, Spinach, Purple Sprouts and Mushrooms.
Now, I only visit supermarket for things like detergents etc which saves me money as I avoid the food isle altogether. For extra veg like tomatoes, or some herbs I will simply pop into our local green grocers.
Nethergong people are especially flexible with your demands. They can make a box that suits your family size and requirement. They can supply you weekly, fortnightly or monthly. There are various payment options too. They are always available on mobile phone which helps keep track of your delivery.
Makes cooking easy:
For the ones who worry about cooking, the veg box also comes with a handy sheet full of recipes and information about what is in your box. Pretty cool, I think! Saves my time from googling the surprise elements in the box.
Healthy Eating Habits:
Ever since we’ve started the veggie box, our eating habits have improved a lot. We are not only eating healthy, but also learning some good old traditional habits; something as simple as washing your vegetables. Supermarket vegetables look very clean in their plastic packaging and many of us take it for granted and don’t wash the vegetables. I admit that I have skipped the step many a times. But these vegetables in the box come with some soil still stuck on them, which not only means they have been harvested recently but also reminds you to wash them. To teach the kids the concept of invisible germs on pre-packaged supermarket produce can be a challenge sometimes.
There are various options in Thanet and like me, I’d suggest try out various options first; one each week from different farmers to decide which one suits you best.