Review by Collette
Each morning, while the rest of us are still tucked up in bed, Julie Corcutt and her partner Bela Dobrovenszki are down on the farm prepping for the day ahead. They own and operate the award-winning Veg in a Box Company – an incentive that has gone from strength to strength this year, collecting fresh produce from local suppliers and packaging them up for eager foodies.
Julie and Bela pride themselves on sourcing fresh local produce for their customers and have a keen eye for quality. Having recently introduced a sister company, The Devon Meat Box, their early mornings just got a little earlier and it looks like we can expect exciting things to come. Needless to say, when we found out about their exploits we were keen to take on the challenge and try a box out for ourselves…
I ought to preface this review by letting you know that i’m not the most adventurous cook. In fact, I’d probably go as far as to say that I can be quite lazy in the kitchen… I had pondered over buying a veg box for a little while, but I couldn’t shake the niggling little thought in the back of my mind that if we didn’t use the entire thing it would be a lot of waste. Then out of the blue, Julie from Veg in a Box kindly offered me a box of vegetables to try, so I really had no excuse but to give it a go!
When our box arrived on the doorstep I’ll admit I was a tad shocked by how big it was. Once the contents were emptied out onto the kitchen table, the mammoth challenge of preparing the weekly meals suddenly dawned on me – you get a lot for your money. I mean a lot. There was a punnet of strawberries, raspberries, a bunch of bananas, a bag of plums, three varieties of apples, 2 large oranges, a handful of satsumas, nectarines, two cabbages (cannon ball and a sweetheart), a large cauliflower, runner beans, sweet potatoes, large new potatoes, a brown paper bag filled with yellow and red onions, carrots, a large red pepper and two large avocados. Phew. Everything in the box was definitely of a high quality and each product was beautifully clean and fragrant.
Finally, my creativity was awaked and I set to work planning a week’s worth of meals. I had one goal and that was to use all of the lovely produce and not waste a thing. I won’t bore you with every last detail, but here’s an idea of what I managed to put together with the ingredients we had:
Mexican chicken with roasted vegetables and potato wedges.
Guacamole with carrot sticks
Caramelised nectarines and plums with baked camembert (served on a sharing platter with quartered apples, satsumas and strawberries from the box)
Cauliflower, Potato and Chickpea Curry
Strawberry and Elderflower Spritzer
Apple Tart Tatin
Curried Sweet Potato Soup
Pickled Cabbage Slaw
Banana and Raspberry Breakfast Smoothies
If trying a veg box has ever crossed your mind then take it from me, it’s a great way to force yourself to try new produce and plan ahead. It’s also a fantastic way to encourage the family to get involved in cooking the evening meals, whether it’s inventing new recipes or suggesting novel ways to use up your box. I was surprised by how easy the whole experience ended up being and my fear of waste proved unfounded as we did manage to use up (and enjoy) the entire box of fruit and vegetables. Would I recommend giving the Veg in a box Company a go? Absolutely! From my experience Julie and Bela will bend over backwards to accommodate your special requirements and I believe that supporting their initiative is a lovely way to support local producers.