British Organic Food from Abel and Cole

Posted by Dunc on Jan 28, 2009 in Food Shopping |

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In our continued effort to ‘keep it in the country’, rather than do the usual Tesco trauma trip, we decided to order a box of tasty organic fruit and veg from a company who actively support British farmers, Abel and Cole.

Who are they?

Abel and Cole work with over 120 British farmers, bakers and producers – as well as some further afield (for Fairtrade bananas, coffee and chocolate). They believe that working closely with their producers benefits everyone – the producers get more security, and more time to focus on the food. And we all get to eat it!

Abel and Cole seek out small producers who take great pride in their work. All the food is organic or free range and where an organic standard does not exist, they ensure that the food is sourced sustainably, such as the wild sea fish. They work with over 120 British farms, including many who would be too small to have their own box schemes.

OK. So how was it?

Ordering from the website was easy peasy. There’s loads of things on offer, from meat and cheese, to veg, fruit, beers and wines. We decided to go for a mixed fruit/veg box and some sausages. A day later, someone phoned to say when to expect delivery. At 9.30 am today, the nice delivery bloke knocked on the door with our box of goodies :) A quick rummage through the box showed that everything was caked in mud and dirt, so after a bit of scubbing up, it was all packed (minus an apple) in the fridge.

It all looks pretty tasty and there should be plenty to last the week. They even give you a weekly newsletter with some handy recipe ideas.

Here’s what we got…

8 x Apples (1170g )

Gavin Cherry, of Sweet Apple Orchards, is one of our apple growers, when British apples are in season. Gavin has been growing apples organically since the 1960s, and supplying us for many years now. He also grows pears and Victoria plums. Gavin grows many varieties of apple, including Discovery, Red Pippin, Jonogold and Charles Ross.

5 x Bananas – Fairtrade (750g)

Carrots (840g)

Charley Anstey and John Bennet of Haywood Oaks Farm grow many of our carrots. Haywood Oaks is on the border of Sherwood Forest – it is gently sloping land of sandy soil that is great for root crops like carrots and parsnips. Charley and John plant their first carrots in April and harvest the youngest ones of the year in July, and then have more mature crops throughout the rest of the year.

Cherry Tomatoes (260g)

5 x Oranges (950g)

Parsnips (800g)

Jane and Will Edwards of New Farm in Lincolnshire grow quite a few of our parsnips. One of the most important decisions they have to make is where to grow the parsnips. Looser soil helps the parsnip roots to grow straight in clay soil big clumps could get in the way and make the parsnips grow all wonky! Jane and Will grow a whole variety of other vegetables too, including savoy cabbages, squashes, potatoes and cauliflowers.

Potatoes (900g)

Most of our potatoes are grown by Jon Christopher at Rhydunnog Farm in Herefordshire, in the foothills of the Black Mountains. The soil on Rhydunnog is a rich red clay, which is great for growing potato crops. Jon grows all sorts of varieties from Milva to Nicola and Estima potatoes. He specialises in growing potatoes, but rotates his potato crops with wheat, clover and grass leys to prevent diseases building up in the soil.

Red Cabbage (780g)

Cabbage is a staple British crop, and is one of the few vegetables that grows well into the winter. This means that many of our farmers grow green, red and white cabbages. Jane and Will Edwards of New Farm Organics in Lincolnshire quite often send us some of theirs. Cabbages are a relatively trouble free crop so they can rely on the cabbages while they try out other vegetables that they might not have attempted to grow before!

Swede (680g)

White Onions (500g)

Pork Cumberland Sausages (675g)

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So we’ll give it a week and see how it all works out. I feel pretty chuffed that most of the stuff is from Britain and the organic side of things is an added bonus. Even better that I don’t have to traipse round the supermaket :)

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Full Disclosure:
July 2009 – Apparently Abel and Cole have sent some veg boxes out to various bloggers to get their opinions. Just to make it clear that we didn’t receive a freebie (although we wouldn’t say no!) prior to this review. We raided our union jack piggy bank and paid for the boxes with our hard earned pennies.

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