Thursday, 6 June 2013

picking cauliflower

(Stereophonics - More Life in a Tramp's Vest)

I have been thoroughly enjoying andherlittledogtoo’s posts about her stitchfix deliveries. It’s a brilliant idea, particularly for someone like me who has a dislike of changing rooms and lack of any real fashion sense in equal measure. It’s such a shame that it isn't available in England (yet), although perhaps it benefits the bank balance.

I love parcels, or post of any kind, especially as personal mail is so rare these days. I do enjoy a good handwritten thank-you note, and happily send cards through the post for any and every occasion. Old-fashioned though I may be, I am not yet grown-up enough to have acquired an address-book. Or at least not one I fill with any useful information. So alas, the cards I send are somewhat lacking in the element of surprise, preceded as they inevitably are by the less than old-fashioned text asking (again) for the recipient’s address.

I am digressing. The stitchfix post today coincided with my own parcel, and I thought I would follow suit and share it with you. We get a fortnightly organic delivery. There, I've said it. I feel like I should be embarrassed, it appears to be a contentious topic recently. Vanessa the Balabusta labels herself a “middle class cliché”, and I have that same sense of somehow having to laugh awkwardly, and half apologise for my indulgence. They have recently been held up as a symbol of the “comfortably-off" and had their ethical credentials weighed up against their “snobbery points”.

Personally, I don’t really see it as an extreme moral or political statement. It’s just some fruit and veg in a box. I’m not a staunch supporter of organic-only eating, or a vociferous vegetarian. I recognise that it’s a small luxury, but also like to think there are some benefits to buying local produce on a fairly regular basis. I absolutely love my delivery, but its not really anything to do with a sense of ethical superiority, or feeling like my foodie ambitions have been realised.

(arty photo attempt, not sure my persistence is paying off just yet )

In truth, I just find it far more fun than a trip to the supermarket! There’s a real treat in getting home and having a box full of food to unpack. There’s often  things I wouldn't have bought myself, particularly as The Husband isn't really a fruit and veg fan. Usually when we go shopping together I do a thirty second dash around the fruit and veg aisles, getting the basics without really thinking. So I like the chance to try something new, a bit like the clothing idea, the things I would never pick up in the shop.

We have used two different companies. Abel and Cole originally, who I am very fond of. My mum used to treat me to the very occasional Abel and Cole box when I was at University, I think hoping the novelty would encourage me to reach something in the region of five-a-day. I really like their company style, their website is a doddle, the produce and recipes included are great, and there is regularly a surprise free gift too; we've had milk, yoghurt, eggs and lemons to name just a few. We recently transferred over to Riverford (the lure of a free recipe book, and the temptation of combined fruit, veg and meat boxes). We've had a few minor teething problems, and the recipe book has yet to arrive, but their customer service team were incredibly helpful today, and the produce is good, so we may persist for a few more deliveries.

(an attempt at a casually thrown together vegetable shot -  which involved several minutes of focused mushroom manoeuvrings)

Practically, we still visit the supermarket, but rarely need to buy fresh things to top up. We always get the smallest box, and as there’s only the two of us it lasts between one and two weeks quite easily. I have recently bought a juicer to help make use of the one or two apples left languishing in the fruit bowl, and of course, squishy fruit is an excellent excuse (if one was ever needed) for a spot of baking. As far as indulgences go, it is a pretty tame one, but it brings me a lot of enjoyment – easily pleased as I am. Now I must go and put the artfully arranged vegetables away.

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