I’m on my third week of a permanent order for a fruitit and veg box from Riverford Organic and so far I am loving it. Just £15 gets me a medium sized box that is packed with top quality produce, which is the perfect amount for me and Will.
I have to say I have joined at the least exciting time of the year, they call March-May the ‘hungry gap’, because stored vegetables have run out and the new seedlings haven’t grown yet, so half of the items each week have been imported (from reputable suppliers, still organic, and not air freighted can I point out). I am positively bursting with anticipation for June when we will have summer berries, courgettes, spinach and all sorts of other delights.
This week for example I got about seven apples, four large oranges, a bunch of six bananas, two lots of celery, a large cauliflower, beautiful vine tomatoes, a bag of mixed lettuce leaves, four leeks, a big bag of absolutely delicious purple sprouting broccoli, a huge bunch of swiss chard and the very best bit an EXTRA item – wild garlic picked from the woods.
So far this week Will and I have had for dinner: Salmon steamed with Asian spices and coconut milk with a large side serving of ‘spiced greens’ (using the chard and some of the purple sprouting, plus some frozen peas), vegetable curry (using the cauliflower, onions left from last week’s box, and some added sweet potato) and stir-fry of prawns and purple sprouting broccoli in ginger, garlic and oyster sauce (the broccoli is divine stir-fried) with homemade egg-fried rice. Tomorrow I plan to have a large mixed salad with hard boiled eggs and steamed Jersey Royals and on Thursday a summer vegetable minestrone with the celery, tomatoes, onion, left over Jersey Royals, the leeks and anything else I can find. Plus there was also enough for a large batch of cauliflower cheese soup, which Will is going to take to work for lunches and plenty of salad for my sandwiches.
So after that marathon of food you can’t dispute that a veg box is value for money. Riverford regularly do price comparisons with supermarkets and come out on top and let’s not forget delivery cuts down on carbon emissions, the produce has a lower carbon footprint, soon nearly all of the produce will be from the West Country, there is very little packaging and the packaging that there is can be recycled or given back to Riverford to use again. There is no looking back now I am part of the veg box clan, join us! By the way I don’t work for Riverford, there are plenty of other great box schemes such as the nationwide Abel and Coles and smaller localised ones.
Below is a recipe that came in my bag of delicious wild garlic and was a beautiful way to enjoy the subtle yet pungent taste of wild garlic. I have very roughly halved it so the recipe is for two people.
Wild Garlic Risotto
Half an onion, finely chopped
One clove of garlic, finely chopped
150g risotto rice (Arborio)
1 litre of chicken stock, heated and kept on a gas ring (I used around ¾ of the stock)
Knob of butter
Good handful of wild garlic leaves, shredded (not too thin)
Couple of handfuls of grated parmesan
Optional half glass of white wine (I hate white wine so don’t use it)
1. Fry onion and garlic very gently in olive oil or butter until very soft but not coloured. Thrown in the rice and coat in all the yummy oiliness.
2. At this stage you could add some wine and let it sizzle away. If not add your first ladle of stock and stir to make the grains really rich. Continue in this way, adding stock and stirring to encourage the starch to come out of the grain.
3. After about 10 minutes add the wild garlic leaves. Keep adding stock until the grains are soft but still have a bite to them.
4. Stir in the butter and parmesan and serve will there is still a bit of sloppiness to the risotto. Decorate with wild garlic leaves.