Box Fresh
Box Fresh
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
Open
Open
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
The Contents
The Contents
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
Chard
Chard
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
Broccoli
Broccoli
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
Courgettes
Courgettes
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
Mango
Mango
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
Pears
Pears
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
Onions
Onions
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
Oranges
Oranges
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
Carrots
Carrots
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.
ABEL & COLE
ABEL & COLE
Adam from Rock My Style reviews the entry level Abel & Cole vegetable box and assess it's value for money against supermarket alternatives.

Five A Day

Author: Adam Crohill

Getting my five a day has always been an uphill struggle. The silly thing is that I actually really like vegetables (now I’m a grown up) and I love most fruit. The simple fact is that it’s far easier to peel a mars bar than it is an orange and that’s where I fall down. Convenience outweighs all.

Then in walks Abel & Cole into my life… Promising a good proportion of the nutrition I need in a week, all wrapped up in a simple yet alluring biodegradable capsule that magically appears on my doorstep every Wednesday morning. Like Christmas only with 99.9% less calories.

Motivation

It’s really simple for me. In order to achieve anything in life I need a target, a goal, an incentive. This can be as simple as plotting my times after each gym session in order to see a minuscule improvement or as complex as buying into a fruit and vegetable box delivery scheme in order to force myself into eating more healthily. And because I hate wasting food I know that if I have a cardboard box full of tucker at the start of the week then I’m damn well going to have an empty cardboard box at the end of the week with contents of said box having taken a delicious yet nutritious trip to belly land.

Doorstep Dealings

I’ll admit now that I signed up on a whim… It was a cold call – A tactic I thought had all but died out, but it seems that the Abel & Cole rep who buzzed my buzzer some 6 months ago caught me on a ‘Yes’ day or perhaps he was just gifted with an ability to sell fruit and vegetables to slightly hungover thirty somethings. Whatever wizardry was at play it seemed like a fantastic idea… Actually, I remember now – the deal sealer was the promise of a free recipe book and bottle of red wine. I’m a sucker for wine. Books are ok.

Six months later and there’s no looking back. The box of random food stuffs sent to me every week get my meal thoughts flowing, I embrace the contents as a Ready, Steady, Cook style challenge. It makes meal times much more interesting than if I was left to think of something to create all by myself, especially as most meals are a meal for one these days. My girlfriend is currently working in a military hospital out in Afghanistan and it’s very easy when on your own for the dinner menu to fall into a boring routine. Beans on toast anyone?

Get Creative

I believe there is a wider lesson to be learnt here – restriction breeds creativity. Give a man ten pounds and if he’s anything like me he’ll buy some sausages, a loaf of bread and a suitable measure of his favourite alcohol. Maybe some beans, but give a man a veg box and he will be forced to go forth and create in order to survive! That’s the theory anyway. In short, Abel & Cole have diversified meal times, inspired me to follow recipes, create meals and try foods that I would have otherwise avoided due to, well… Laziness I suppose. Above all else it’s made my day to day dinner menu significantly more healthy. Win.

A Helping Hand

In each Abel & Cole veg box you get a recipe card that directly relates to the contents of that particular box, so you’ll never be stuck for ways to use your latest delivery. Collect all the cards and soon enough you’ve got a pretty comprehensive recipe book. It might all sound a little bit twee but this sort of thing appeals to my geek within… And if you are looking to make steps in the direction of a healthier lifestyle or have an interest in expanding your culinary horizon then this sort of thing probably appeals to you too.

{The Contents}
  • Chard | 600g
  • Broccoli | 600g
  • Courgettes | 500g
  • Onions | 500g
  • Carrots | 500g
  • Mango | 1 Large (480g)
  • Oranges | 4 medium (700g)
  • Pears | 5 small (600g)
{The Cost}

To be as fair as possible I have priced up similar organic produce (where available) during the same week as my Abel & Cole delivery using the numerous Supermarket online ordering facilities available.

  • Morrisons | £9.18
  • Asda | £9.83
  • Sainsbury’s | £12.29
  • Tesco | £12.55
  • Able & Cole | £13.25
  • Waitrose | £14.40

Please note: Where an exact item or exact weight was not available the nearest best fit item/weight was substituted.

So What Do You Think?

Have any of you folks signed up to the doorstep veg challenge? How are you getting on? Which company have you gone for, there are quite a few different companies doing this now. How happy are you with your service and the produce?

If you haven’t yet taken the leap into veg box land what’s stopping you – is it the price, brand loyalty or do you prefer to shop on a week-by-week basis without any exterior pressure?

I really would love to hear your thoughts…

Value

The biggest negative to the Abel & Cole veg box, as far as I can see, is that element of unknown… You can state that you don’t like carrots… And you won’t ever be sent them. You can register your holidays so that you won’t be left with a box on your doorstep whilst off having two weeks in the sun… But if you don’t like having to prepare for the unexpected or if your meal planning requires more structure then a veg box is probably not for you.

I’m loving it though… It keeps my weekly food shop and dinner menu fresh in both senses of the word and in terms of supermarket price comparison I don’t think it’s breaking the bank. The veg box is certainly not a budget option and I would be lying if I said I had never wasted anything that I’ve been sent, but it is largely working. Take-away orders are down – meals created from scratch are on the up and the I’m much more inclined to get creative in the kitchen after a long days work if I have fresh ingredients at home ready and waiting.

To see what I made with this weeks harvest you can read my Dining Diary.

{Contributors}
Author
Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.
Follow Adam on instagram @adamcrohill
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16 thoughts on “Five A Day

  1. I started a similar thing a couple of years ago and I absolutely loved how it made me try different things. I went for the seasonal box so that I didn’t know what was coming each week and I am totally with you Adam, it was a bit like Christmas. Except greener and healthier.

    I stopped them because I head back to my parents for one month of the year to help out with lambing season (I cook for the workers rather than doing anything practical out on the farm myself, too much of a girly girl for my own good). I didn’t get round to starting it again but this has definitely encouraged me to do so when this year’s lambing is over, and I might give Abel and Cole a whirl this time xx

    1. Hi Emma, yes I think mine is seasonal too… I get a good range of veg and as summer approaches I think I’ll start getting salad items min there too.

      Helping on your parents farm sounds fascinating… I think like you I’d prefer to be in the kitchen than out on the land though 🙂

  2. My boyfriend and I get a weekly ‘seasonal meat and veg box’ from Riverford. It’s really good – every Wednesday we get a box delivered with three types of organic meat (this week there was pork mince, a lamb shoulder joint and beef frying steak) and a load of vegetables, although we requested a box that doesn’t contain potatoes. This week, veg wise, we got parsnips, chard, portobello mushrooms, courgettes, celariac and romano peppers. Oh, and carrots. Always with the carrots!

    It costs £31.50 per week and, because we’re out a couple of nights a week we fnd it’s perfect for two. And I completely agree about it making you more adventurous when cooking. It’s very geekily exciting! Jen

    1. Sounds good Jennifer, and although £30.00 may sound like a lot – judging on what you actually get for that amount makes it good value. It would be interesting to do the Supermarket comparison.

      And also like you I have requested no potatoes… I was getting them every week and was just not using them in time. I did email to see If I could get spuds once a fortnight but the Abel & Cole system is not clever enough to process that just yet.

  3. My Fiance and I used to get the Able & Cole veg and fruit box once a week and really enjoyed the variety that we used to get. Unfortunately we both work very long hours at work so we found that eventually quite a lot started to get wasted so we stopped. After reading your post I think I will have another look at restarting these!

    1. Hi Emma, I totally understand where you are coming from – if your routine unexpectedly changes then the trouble with fresh produce is that it can easily get wasted… I’m doing ok so far… Some stuff you can freeze but that takes some organisation!

  4. We had the Riverford veg box for ages, but recently have found the quality and quantity decreased dramatically, and then they put the price up without telling us- suffice to say we have (with a heavy heart) stopped them. Really enjoyed the variety though, and loved trying lots of new veg. Maybe will try the Abel and Cole ones come Spring!

  5. I’ve been getting Abel and Cole boxes for a few months now; like you I started in an effort to cook more healthily and am really enjoying it! I often struggle to use up my box if I’ve had a really busy week at work, but I’ve become a master at whizzing up soups to use up the slightly past it veg, then these can be frozen or are great for lunches.
    I haven’t used any other companies to compare, but I have to say I’m really impressed with A&Cs friendly and efficient customer service, and all the freebies they send! I’ve had eggs, cheese, the cookery book, plus lots of half price butcher and fishmonger deals which definitely make it great value. (PS It might sound like it but I honestly don’t work for them, just very impressed with their service!)

    1. Hi Meg… Yeah I’ve had a similar experience… Lot’s of nice little free things… I’ve had garlic, orange juice and some eggs too. I didn’t want to go overboard in my post.

      I have some soup in my freezer too – so easy to make! I just need to remember to get it out of the freezer and take it to work for lunch now 🙂

  6. I was about to write a comment but I see Meg has said it all! We make a lot of soups and casseroles for the freezer so nothing gets wasted. Everything keeps fresh for a long time and if you have the old Tupperware veg and salad boxes, even longer. I have had Abel and Cole lettuce last 3 weeks in a plastic box with a folded tea towel or piece of kitchen paper under it to absorb the moisture that normally makes it go off. Their customer service is excellent and they always put right or compensate for anything untoward. If you find you are having stuff left over, you can always change to a smaller box. Also love their info leaflets on their producers and their website is fun too.

    1. Hi Chris – I agree, the customer service is great. They respond well on email and the A&C marketing bods have got it spot on too with a good blend of humour, banter and information across all of their literature.

  7. I have just ordered my first abel and cole box! We have gone for the large fruit and veg box.
    I have had a few organic food boxes before at Christmas (riverford).

    I am a mum of three and have started back at work. I feel like we are in a rut of cooking our favourite meals over without too much diversity.

    I chose Abel and cole as they have a fab offer on of first & fourth boxes half price, free olive oil and free recipe book. How could I possibly resist?!

    We are looking to improvise alot with the ingredients! It is coming on Tuesday and I am also geekily excited.

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