1. Taste the difference
A box-scheme delivers food harvested when it’s ripe, so it comes to you full of flavour.
2. Seasonality Supermarkets give us ‘permanent global summertime’. Box-schemes bring us in sync with nature’s seasons.
3. Save a British family farm
Box-scheme suppliers get at least 40p in every pound. Supermarket suppliers will see as little as 5p.
4. Unadulterated salad leaves
Those ‘convenient’ pre-packed supermarket salads are doused in chlorine then preserved in bags with lowered oxygen levels, depleting vital nutrients.
5. Real value for money
A ‘value added’ £1.99 vegetable and pasta bake would cost you
only 40 pence to make with boxscheme produce – and would be much healthier.
6. Reduce climate change
Air-freighted fruit and vegetables contribute 33 times more CO2 than UK-sourced produce. Box-scheme food is typically grown within 50 miles of your home.
7. Stop the beauty parade
Apples that don’t fit a supermarket’s exact colour specifications are ‘graded out’. Box-schemes don’t reject food on looks.
8. Maintain food diversity
You’re unlikely to find black salsify or Lady Godiva squash in Tesco, but you could well do in a box-scheme.
9. Reduce waste
Over 40 per cent of household rubbish that goes to landfill is supermarket packaging. Unpackaged box-scheme food is naked naturally.
10. Reduce traffic congestion
Centralised distribution systems mean that up to 40 per cent of
HGVs on our road networks are delivering food to supermarkets.
Box-schemes gather and distribute food locally.
11. Stop migrant labour exploitation
Box-schemes would see an end to the illegal trafficking of migrant workers in the UK, driven by supermarkets’ determination to keep prices low.
12. Community, not cash crop farming
Box-schemes encourage an ethos of selfsufficiency in their suppliers. Villagers in Kenya are left hungry in order to supply our
supermarkets with mange tout.
13. Stem the ‘splurchases’
A staggering 60 per cent of a weekly supermarket shop is now bought on impulse. Box-schemes stop you frittering your money away.
14. Support local economies
£10 spent on a local organic box scheme can generate £25 for the local economy. Supermarket profits are channelled into the bank balances of distant shareholders.
15. Lighten your shopping load
Weekly fruit and veg delivered to your door means the rest of your shopping could be done from local independent shops on foot.
Three steps to food heaven...
To survive and thrive on your box scheme this month ALL you need is:
1 A weekly box full of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. To find your local box scheme supplier click here.
2 The following store cupboard essentials: salt, pepper, olive oil, vinegar, butter, milk, eggs, sugar, basil, garlic, oregano, thyme, vegetable stock, white wine, parmesan and blue cheese, walnuts, sunflower seeds, nutmeg, pastry crust, whipping cream, lemon juice and paprika.
3 And this month’s no nonsense, simple and delicious recipes.
POTATOES ROASTED WITH LEMON AND
HERBS (serves 6-8)
4 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, salt and pepper, 1 tsp fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp paprika, 900g (4 cups) peeled and quartered potatoes
1. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and paprika in a large bowl. Add potatoes and toss.
2. Transfer to greased shallow roasting pan and bake for about
35 minutes until tender and well browned.
PARSNIP PIE (serves 4)
1 cup peeled and sliced parsnips, 25 g butter, salt and pepper, 2 eggs, 2 tbsp sugar, ½ tsp nutmeg, 225ml/1 cup milk, 9 1/2 inch pie dish
lined with shortcrust pastry
1. Place parsnips in a saucepan with salted water. Bring to the boil, cover the pan and quickly return to the boil. Reduce heat
and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash.
2. Add the butter, salt and pepper
3. Beat the eggs, add the sugar and nutmeg. Add the milk. Stir
into the parsnip mixture and mix well.
4. Line the pie dish with pastry and pour in the parsnip mixture
5. Sprinkle with nutmeg and bake in oven, 190C (375F/Gas 5) for about 30 minutes.
LEEK AND WALNUT SOUP (serves 4)
4 medium coarsely chopped leeks, ½ pint vegetable stock, ¼ pint white wine (optional), ¼ tsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar, ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts, 1 tsp vinegar
1. Place leeks, vegetable stock and wine in large saucepan with lid. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 12 minutes, or until just cooked.
2. Add salt, sugar, nuts and vinegar. Simmer uncovered for seven minutes.
CURLY KALE PESTO
1 cup chopped curly kale, 1 ½ tsp dried basil, 2-4 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp Parmesan ¼ cup sunfl ower seeds, ¾ cup olive oil, salt and pepper
1. Blend curly kale, basil, garlic, Parmesan and seeds in a blender
or food processor.
2. With blender running slowly, gradually add olive oil. Season to taste. You may need to add a little more olive oil.
3. Keeps well in jars in the refrigerator for up to three days.
SWEDE WITH BLUE CHEESE (serves 4)
450g (2 cups) peeled and finely sliced swede, 1 peeled and finely sliced onion, 4 tbsp vegetable oil, 150 ml (1/4 pint) whipping cream, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, salt and pepper, 125g (1/2 cup) blue cheese such as Stilton or Roquefort
1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F/ Gas 5). Mix together swede, onion and vegetable oil and place in a baking dish. Cover and place in oven for about 30-45 minutes or until cooked.
2. In a small pan, combine cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and let cook for one minute.
3. Remove swede and onion mixture from oven, remove cover and pour cream mixture over. Sprinkle with the blue cheese and return to the oven, uncovered.
4. Cook in oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
Recipes are from The Boxing Clever Cookbook by Jacqui Jones & Joan Wilmont. For more seasonal box-scheme recipes, this cookbook is available for £9.99 from www.theboxingclevercookbook.co.uk
This article first appeared in the Ecologist February 2006
For ethical and sustainable suppliers of Food and Drink goods and services check out the Ecologist Green Directory here