Being able to rely on fresh fruit and vegetables is an important part of staying healthy. It is also a great way to show your support for small farmers and producers over the big supermarket chains, while eating more seasonal produce, which helps to preserve the global environment. The good news is that there is now a wide variety of fruit and vegetable delivery services in the UK.
All of these box schemes have different aspects and elements, so it is worth checking out a variety before you commit. A lot of boxes set their own contents, which often change from week to week, though some let you add extras to your order, or swap something you don’t like, and a few will enable you to select all of your own produce.
It is important to choose the right box size depending on the size of your household and your weekly vegetable consumption. You should also bear in mind that this type of organic produce doesn’t always last as long as the supermarket versions, although this will vary, so meal planning can help.
With most English delivery boxes, the delivery comes on a particular day, usually for environmental reasons. A number of box delivery services are fulfilled by national courier, which offers a wider choice of delivery dates along with helpful text updates. You will also need to decide whether to opt for a regular box subscription or an ad-hoc delivery.
As long as you take the time to ensure that a particular service suits your needs and that you are able to maximise the fruit and vegetables you received through effective meal planning, fruit and vegetable boxes can offer an excellent source of healthy food. Here are seven of the best in England:
Eversfield provide organic vegetable boxes in three different sizes, along with a variety of other options that includes a box without potatoes.
The box contents vary every week and although it is not possible to choose what’s inside, you can buy items individually from their website if you prefer.
The popular family-sized large box will feed 4-5 people for a week and you will be able to see the contents of the box in advance, and it is also possible to see the amount of each item that you’ll receive too, which is handy for meal planning. The fruit and veg is delivered in a cardboard box, and there is usually a good range of vegetables for family meals that last a while week. There is a minimum spend figure, but this is not difficult to reach as the site also offers meat and dairy products.
Riverford are one of the UK’s leading fruit and vegetable services. Their boxes are delivered in an open box that can be recycled; just leave it out to be collected when you get your next delivery. In fact, the box can be used up to ten times, according to the company.
You will be able to check out on their website what to expect in your box for a couple of weeks ahead, though they also warn that items might change according to what is best on the day. Some elements of the boxes remain the same, so you will get potatoes and carrots or onions every week, with other contents changing. You can also choose from different sizes and types of box, including fruit or veg only, or a mixture of the two and there’s also a UK only choice.
As with many of the best box delivery services, you can buy a one-off box or arrange a regular order, while delivery is free on a set day in your area. Your Riverford box will also come with a newsletter, storage tips for your produce and a recipe.
Unlike most delivery boxes, Boxxfresh allows you to build your own box, and there are no subscriptions to choose from, you just order as and when you want, choosing the size of the box from four categories, ranging from small to extra large.
The Boxfresh produce is seasonal, and their website highlights which small farms all of the produce comes from. Pleasingly, you can choose from any combination of the available fruit, vegetables and herbs through the website, which is easy to use. You can also add extras including pasta and cheese, and the minimum spend of £25 is low by comparison with other services.
The Boxfresh produce is delivered in a sturdy recyclable cardboard box and absolutely no plastic is used. You will also find a handy recipe in each box to help you get the most out of your produce.
Abel and Co
The Abel and Co fruit and vegetable boxes are really great for encouraging you to +eat what’s in season. The produce arrives in a small box tied with string that includes a welcome booklet explaining the ethos of the service, how to store your produce and how long it should last. Some of the items are delivered in plastic bags, while others, such as potatoes and beans, come in paper bags, while the delivery box itself is fully recyclable.
You can check on their website to find out what you will receive each week, with a caveat that there might be substitutions. With eight items a week in your box, there is plenty of room for variety and the quality of the fruit and veg is always excellent.
The Abel and Co service is arguably best considered as a supplement to your regular shopping as it doesn’t usually contain all of the fruit and veg you will need, but there are lots of extras you can add to your selection. You won’t be able to choose your delivery date, as the delivery will be carried out when the vans are in your local area, but delivery is flexible in terms of how often you receive the delivery, as you can buy as a one off or in eight-week subscriptions.
This is a large box that comes with free delivery through courier DPD and is available throughout England from Tuesday to Friday, providing an impressive amount of veg and salad. The produce comes from around the world, although the company source from the UK where they can.
It is possible to choose from a range of four boxes, detailed on their website, including a standard sized box, an exotic vegetable selection and a luxury fruit option, along with extras, which range from a stew mix to coconut and dates. You can also ask for substitutions in your box.
There are no subscription options with this company so you simply order what you want, when you want. The box remains the same all year, though you will find that the add-ons are more seasonal.
The items are delivered in a handy recyclable cardboard box, with some items like potatoes and cucumber wrapped in plastic, and there is always a healthy range of good produce.
Organic Delivery Company
The Organic Delivery Company offer a vegetable box that is a good mix of basics such as carrots, potatoes, cucumber and tomatoes, along with some more unusual offerings including fennel and asparagus. The quantities in which the vegetables are supplied is generous, and there is usually sufficient produce to last a week.
The delivery box in which the produce is contained is cardboard and features a message that the box should be handed back to the driver next time so that it can be reused. Lettuce and spinach came in a plastic wrapper to preserve their freshness, but there is an option to order a box that is free of plastic, if that is your preference.
The contents of the box are changed every week and you can add other items if you prefer, or just build your own box from scratch. You also have the option of ordering on an ad-hoc basis, or setting up a regular delivery. The company website also has the handy feature of detailing where each element of the box was sourced from. All of the vegetables are amply sized and fresh, and you also have the option of three different vegetable box sizes. Deliveries come through a courier, and are free in the London area if your spend is more than the minimum amount.
Milk and More
Delivered by your milkman, this box is likely to be on your doorstep before seven in the morning. The produce is delivered in a no-frills cardboard box which can be left out and collected during your next delivery for reuse or recycling. Most of the elements of the box don’t have extra packaging although produce such as tomatoes may come in tomato cartons.
The Milk and More boxes change according to the season, and you can find out what to expect on the company website, which also helpfully lists the quantities available by weight. The boxes usually show a healthy mix of salad and vegetables and the organic produce is high quality.
The website itself is easy to use and as well as the boxes, you can also buy items like bread, meat, eggs, tea and milk. Boxes are available as a one-off or a regular delivery and there is no minimum spend or delivery charge, while you can choose from three different weekly delivery days.
Pikt give you a choice of ready-made boxes or the chance to build your own box of up to 25 items, with each item individually priced. All produce is organic, there is no plastic wrapping and you can choose from a range of box types including the seasonal veg box, fruit or salad boxes and even more unusual boxes, including juice.
The weekday delivery service is provided via DPD and you can choose your delivery date, while you can also opt for weekly or fortnightly delivery, or buy as a one-off.
The box is relatively small, but fully recyclable and offers excellent value, providing enough fruit or veg to see you through to your next delivery, helping to minimize waste.