Abel and Cole - a review

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Bit of a review today. I've been trying to be more aware of what I'm putting into my body - I've been stuffing my face with junk food recently, and I'm tired, lethargic, and achy pretty much all the time. Part of the lethargy I think is due to a bit of worry and lack of sleep, but still, the junk food doesn't help. So I've been trying to make changes for the health of our family. Which means cutting down on processed food, and eating more fresh things.

Yesterday, a very nice man delivered this to my house:

Yes, I have signed up to Abel and Cole. Again. Before I carry on with this post I should say that I am not in any way affiliated with them, I just ... like their fruit and veg. ;)

I have been using Abel and Cole to get fruit and vegetables delivered on and off for the past year. I started looking into it when I wanted to wean Jellybean. I felt mildly concerned about pesticides sprayed on fruit and veg I buy from the supermarket. I also felt it would be nice to support farmers, and it felt like a slightly more ethical choice than buying from supermarkets.

On the downside, it's more expensive. Not massively, but it's definitely a more expensive way of shopping when you don't have the option to buy things that are yellow-stickered or on a two for £3 offer. That is why I haven't been using it constantly: it's just a bit too expensive for us on weeks when we have a really low budget for food.

I have been trying, though. I've been mulling over the choices I make with my shopping and where I spend my money, and it's throwing up some challenging questions about whether I really understand where my money goes and whether I am supporting the right people. But more on that another time.

Jellybean obviously had to get involved the moment she saw a tomato. Seconds later, she took a huge bite out of one of them. 

Loads of fruit this time (and a couple of beetroots sneaking amongst them)

If you sign up for a weekly box, you just get the one box packed carefully with your produce, which they either give to you in person or leave somewhere safe (which you arrange with the driver). I had extra boxes this time because I ordered extra stuff, as Abel and Cole have an online store with interesting storecupboard food as well as fresh things.

What I like about Abel and Cole is that you can skip weeks, and skip individual items if you don't want them. Or, you can remove items altogether (they know, for example, never to send me mushrooms). This is quite handy because some weeks I might have carrots or potatoes already and don't need more arriving in my box, so I can skip those items and they will replace it with something else instead.

This is what we got in a medium fruit and veg box:

In the brown bags are potatoes (they send potatoes every week unless you've skipped them) and Jerusalem artichokes, which look like this:

Sort of like ... potatoes, crossed with ginger.

I have no idea what to do with them.

But, when you sign up to Abel and Cole for the first time, they send you a free book, which has recipes for all the fruit and veg they might send you (even the really weird ones). They also explain how to prepare them and what they go well with.

Plus they send you recipe cards every week in the box, too.

They also send lots of free stuff. To entice me back, they sent me a free bottle of olive oil and a teatowel this time (I am a sucker for freebies).

But in the time I used them, they sent me, as a random free gift, marmalade, a loaf of bread, another bottle of olive oil, a second pot of marmalade (!) and lots of little fresh things snuck into the box: chillis, bits of fresh horseradish, or lemons. So they're pretty generous in that respect.

I ordered some extra bits too: bulgar wheat (no idea how to cook that) polenta (again ... no idea) and a couple of packs of dried beans (those I know how to cook). Also rapeseed oil because I keep hearing things about how good and healthy it is.

I also ordered:

Yes. I know. Tofu. A lot of people I know hate it. But, I'm going to try it.

The other fruit and veg box company I've heard of is Riverford, but I chose Abel and Cole because they had the ability to skip things, which was important to my mushroom-hating self.

I feel mixed things about a fruit and veg box: I like the idea of eating seasonal, fresh, organic produce. As I get older (and more boring) these things become more important to me. However, you can't really cheat with a veg box: you need to cook and eat it all, which means you need to be prepared for lots of home cooking.

I won't get it every week purely for budget reasons. But, so far, I've been really happy with them.

Plus, their produce is seriously tasty - their apples are so good!

Have you tried a fruit and veg box? What did you think? Also, what the heck am I going to do with tofu?! Comments much appreciated :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Meg. You write really brilliantly and I loved reading this. Made me quite hungry, actually. I'm off to order my Abel & Cole box immediately.


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