VegBox Recipes

Find A Box Scheme

How to choose a veg box scheme

There are over 500 organic box schemes across the UK and luckily many of them can be found on our Find a vegbox scheme page.

How do you choose the right supplier for you?

Here's a list of simple questions, to help you decide.

  1. Do you want a local or national scheme?
    Most veg box schemes deliver within a radius of the farm. But some deliver nationwide, either by courier or by franchises.

    If you want to minimise food miles and support the local food economy, you should make sure you choose a veg box scheme run by local farmers, rather than a national scheme that may travel hundreds of miles to get to you.

    Deciding whether you want to buy from a local farmer or a national network is the first step.
  2. Do you want fruit, vegetables or both?
    Some organic deliveries offer just vegetables. Others also offer fruit bags. Most offer a range of sizes to suit the needs of couples through to large families.
  3. How important are food miles to you?
    If you're not fussed about food miles, then you won't need to check this one out.
    But if minimising the environmental impact of your fruit and veg delivery is important to you, ask potential box scheme providers what proportion of their produce is sourced from the UK - or even locally to your home.

    Many, for example, supplement their fruit bags with New Zealand apples in the summer.
  4. Can you opt out of stuff you hate?
    Can you elect not to receive certain fruit or vegetables? If you know that nobody in your family is ever going to be persuaded to eat celery, can you request something different instead?

    Most schemes will agree to you having a "blacklist" of 1 to 3 items. Any more becomes a logistical nightmare for them!
  5. What's their policy on quality?
    Over the years, we've seen some amazing quality in veg boxes. But with one provider we no longer use, we regularly had to compost 1/3 of the contents.
    We're not talking cosmetic blemishes here - we're talking about mouldy plums and rotten potatoes...

    What's the company's policy on replacing stuff that arrives in an unacceptable condition?
  6. Do you have anywhere safe to receive deliveries?
    If you're not likely to be in when the box is delivered, is there anywhere shady, secure and dry they can leave your fruit and veg?

    There's nothing more disappointing than to get home from work on a hot summer's day, only to find your freshly picked lettuce has gone slimey after a day in a plastic bag in the sun...

    If you don't have anywhere suitable, do they have a drop-off point near you, where you could collect your box in the evening?
  7. Do you know anyone else who is happy with their veg box?
    Recommendation is the best way to find a box scheme provider. It's reassuring to know someone who is happy with their delivery, before you commit.
  8. Can you get a sample box?
    Can you sign up for a one-off delivery, to test the quality and the concept of a veg box?
  9. Weekly / fortnightly deliveries?
    Not everyone needs a veg box each week. Some people prefer to receive one once a fortnight. If this is important for you, check whether it's an option.
  10. Notice period for changes
    If you're going on holiday, how much notice do they need to cancel your box?
    This shows how far ahead you'll have to plan.
    Some providers allow you to cancel - or even increase / decrease the size of your delivery - at the beginning of the week. Others need several weeks' notice.
 
Armed with the answers to these questions, you should find it easy to choose your veg box scheme provider...

... once you've found some!
 

How to find a veg box scheme

You can either:

Check out the Soil Association's listing of veg box scheme providers.

But bear in mind this scheme isn't exhaustive.

Or:

Check out local farmers' markets. Most box schemes will have a stand at these. So that may be another way of finding them.

Or:

Ask around. You might be surprised how many of your friends and colleagues already get a box scheme.
 
 
In Your Box
Next: Already getting a veg box? What's in yours this week?!
 

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