31 Aug 2010

Hestia and ....the curse of the veg box

Last week's Veg Box - artistically arranged for your delight
So it came to pass that a business was set up to deliver veg boxes on the island.

It sounded perfect: You pay £7.50 per week and a whole load of lovely ethically grown veggies turn up on your doorstep on a Friday night, delivered by smiling youngsters.  You cook the beautiful veggies.  Everyone gets their five a day.  And we all live happily ever after, right?

Not quite.

When the first box arrived we poured over every item - a huge bunch of aromatic flat leaved parsley, a cucumber, a bag of tiny zingy carrots, a strange white thing, a massive turnip, a cauliflower, some broccoli, a gorgeous speckled lettuce.. My spirit soared - yes! I had made a good decision!!!

OK so, there was a bok choi that was about a foot long with little yellow flowers on it, but hey, it was all quite edible and well, when you are supporting a local enterprise, you've got to be prepared for the odd shot veggie.  Plus there was that little white thing that none of us knew what it was....but it was all good.

But as the weeks progressed and I received yet another MASSIVE turnip in my box AND another cucumber, I could feel my resolve weakening.  The bunches of parsley and coriander lay yellowing in glasses of water.  The cucumber went watery in the bottom of the salad drawer.  My peppers shrivelled like Keith Richards.  My carrots rotted......

It got to the stage, I am ashamed to say, that I was chucking out most of the stuff that was delivered.  I must be fair to the producers - they do, dutifully, send out a recipe sheet with the boxes to help you make use of it all, but I was really struggling to get enthused about it all.  There can be too much of a good thing where turnip is concerned, y'know?

Sonshine is now regarding the veggie box with trepidation.  Believe me, I've come up with some unusual food combinations in my time and he's starting to get antsy about my meals becoming even odder. I'm sure he's having nightmares about what I might do with a Chinese Radish and the three human-head-sized turnips lying at the back door like leftovers from the French Revolution.

Even the hamster is starting to look at me with fear in his eyes.

Along with the appalling waste was the appalling flatulence engendered by the increased consumption of so much veg. I could have tooted the national anthem.

Something had to change!

I turned to that Delphic Oracle beloved of so many household gods and goddesses, the internet, and stumbled upon a great website and blog  that exists specifically for the veg box challenged householder like m'self.

It's stuffed with recipes, information on ingredients, growing guides, lists of what's in season.... and all manner of other useful stuff. I could feel myself turning into Barbara Good just reading through the home page.

I also discovered that it's National Zero Waste Week next week.  If you'd like to find out more about that here's a link to their website

They've got some really unusual and interesting articles that range from 7 Ways to Recycle Your Old Bras to How To Recycle Clothes Hangers !

Now, I need to leave you, dear reader.  I need to find out how to do something edible with a kohlrabi, half a red cabbage, 2.5 cucumbers and yes, you've guessed it, 3 turnips.

Tonight I will be tooting Land of Hope and Glory.


  1. "My Peppers shrivelled like Keith Richards" ROFL that is the funniest thing I have read for ages..
    I have always wanted one of those boxes my pain in the ass Brother and sister in law..Vegan and dictatorial always got one and it looked so great, but apart from ironically the peppers, garlic onions and mushrooms the rest would lay and rot.. I am ashamed at the fruit and veg that we waste in this house.. I insist on buying it as we should eat it.. I do.. but I have to disuguise it. The winter is easier..
    Thank you for making my morning xx

  2. Ali, what an earth is a kohlrabi?

  3. Dash...I'm not sure. That's why it's been sitting staring at me reproachfully for about 3 weeks.

    It's a purple globe-shaped root vegetable with lots of little leafy protuberances around it.

    Have found a recipe via that veg box website, so tonight there will be kohlrabi on the menu - tell you tomorrow what it tastes like lol!

    Ruth - I love Keith Richards too (re your blog!). He's got a face like a map of the Penines, hasn't he. Yet soooo rightfully unapologetic about being a raddled old bag. Rock on Keef!


  4. Hi there-oh dear, have to admit I couldn't get veggies delivered to me on a regular basis, I just would have the same problems you're experiencing lol!! Thanks so much for stopping by too, good luck with the remaining turnips, cues, etc!!

  5. Good to hear that I am not the only one! Turnip was always the bane of my veg box days.

    It does NOT go well in any kind of tomato sauce that uses up all the other vegetables.

    It does NOT go well in minestrone.

    I just mashed it and served it with meat. That seemed to use it up - even if it required me to eat such mountains of turnip mash that I was put off mash for months!

  6. Well done for trying anyway - it's the thought and intention that counts. Being vegetarian I eat a lot of veg but I wouldn't use half the stuff they put in those boxes I'm afraid. :-)

  7. Lori - as a veggie, what would YOU want in a weekly box? What's most useful?

    Siobhan - thank god it's not just me then! I'm wondering whether it could make the jump from savoury to sweet. Don't panic! Just idle speculation, not dinner this evening :-)

    My Style - Are you sure I can't post you a turnip? You know you want one.....

    Ali x

  8. This was one of my reasons for not participating in our equivalent of a weekly box, no idea what to do with tons of parsley besides make tons of salsa. Also i didn't really want to go pick it up every Friday morning between the hours of 9 and 12.

  9. I love you. You crack me up. I'd wind up throwing most of the damn stuff out, too. I don't like veg. I really don't. I'll eat a Caesar salad and that's about it.

  10. The thing that puts me off veg boxes is that you don't know what you are going to get and have no choice. I probably don't eat as much fruit & veg as I should, but we get through a fair bit of the ones we like. This summer has mostly been salad :)
    On the subject of unusual produce, I acquired a quince and a medlar (from an Elizabethan garden) this morning. As they're not the sort of thing you find in your average supermarket, I thought it might be my only opportunity to sample such things. Now to research what to do with them :D

  11. God you do make me laugh.The kids are starting to wonder what all the chuckling is when I get on the computer.
    Weirdly I'm in the middle of writing a post about waste.
    Great minds etc.

    Why not do what we always do with excess veg-Soup.Should make you even more musical.

  12. Implausible Yarn - thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to post! I appreciate it :-)

    At least ours is delivered to us. Otherwise, I wouldn't be fagged going to pick it up either ;-)

    Sarcastic - ah you're a sweetheart yourself!

    Ania - I once had a sandwich with something either quincy or medlary...and it's the only thing I've ever spat out (with the exception of soft bodied crabs, which I practically had to be force fed in the first place). I think the problem was that I was expecting it to be lemon curd...and it wasn't.

    Snippet - giggling is good. Spraying coffee all over your screen, not so good :-)

    Ali x

  13. I go to the farmers market every Saturday on 14th St. in NYC because it is a social event, the produce displays are beautiful and I like to support the regional farmers.
    I even invested in a special Tupperware vegetable crisper in which the produce rots from neglect.
    I ate a tin of smoked oysters on Saltine crackers this evening for dinner. One's hopes and dreams never quite measure up to reality.
    I am thinking of growing an ironic mullet.
    X David, NYC

  14. David - Thank you for stopping by! I applaud your dedication to ensuring that your food stays fresher before rotting.

    Smoked oysters are lovely, but smoked mussels are better! I buy mine from http://www.lochfyne.com/ but I don't purchase mail order, I just jump in the car and scoot across and purchase direct :-)

    I have only one thing to say about a mullet (ironic or otherwise): Don't.

    Ali x

  15. Dear Ali, I'm still laughing while I write this... You really cheer up my day!!

    Firstly you should be allowed to choose what you have, surely? I have a fruit and veg box and they asked what I didn't want. One of the things I ticked was turnip! They're taking the piss fobbing you off with that! As for kohlrabi?? I would have no idea what to do with it either.

    If they won't let you pass on a few choices tell them you've found another supplier. They'll soon stop giving you turnips.

    Soup is always good if you can be bothered to mae it...

    In the meantime I recommend juicing for anything you don't use (not turnip or kohlrabi though!). The easiest way in the world to get your five a day.

    Here's a post I did about it http://fashionsmostwanted.blogspot.com/2009/10/just-juice.html

    PS. I know someone who used to go out with Keef and apparently he's AMAZING in the sack... Of course I asked for details!! xx

  16. Hi Ali, Kohlrabi is wonderful with red cabbage, carrot, onion (all shredded) with sesame oil, rice vinegar garlic and ginger. Toss togetehr and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. You could use some of the sliced scallions for garnish and serve with any asian dish. As for the turnip, halloween is coming, or get some sheep. You could then fart a duet, maybe something from the sound of music might be appropriate.

  17. Eri - I stopped by your blog, that Alice in Wonderland jewellery is FAB!

    Legend - you are a man of many talents. I could make that dish! I have the ingredients!!

    Christina - If you don't tell me all the details about Keef, I will sulk. I've totally worn out Messrs Clooney, Depp, Jackman and Grohl...I need a new one. Might as well be KR!

    Ali x


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