Lazy organic produce boxes Riverford

Lazy organic Eating

Everyone who knows me knows that I love food. I love fresh, healthy fruit and veg, and I love chocolate, crisps and almost anything fried…

For me it’s not just about the eating.  It’s the fun of browsing recipes, experimenting with ingredients and enjoying the social atmosphere of cooking for others. So, as part of my journey to living a greener, more sustainable life, food seemed like an important place to start. A key part of living more sustainable is getting to grips with organic produce. What is it? Why should we eat it? What are the pitfalls? And, more importantly, how can we incorporate it into our lives with little effort or expense?

Lazy organic green living Why Organic?

As briefly explored in my previous blog, understanding Ethical Labels, the term Organic is related to food produced with fewer, or no, pesticides and added chemicals; which could be potentially harmful for the environment and our health. Meats, poultry, eggs and dairy products are given no antibiotics or growth hormones, and farmers work naturally to control pests and look after soil. This means Organic is all about what goes into the food you buy; ensuring it is free from hydrogenated fats, artificial pesticides aspartame, tartrazine and monosodium glutamate (and all those other unfamiliar things we have no idea are coating our food!)

Research has suggested that organic fruits and vegetables is not just a healthier diet to follow daily, but importantly, reduces the risk of cancer, stroke and heart diseases. This is largely helped by the fact that most organic produce contains as much as 40% more antioxidants than non-organic fruits and vegetables. In defence of non-organic produce, conclusions of research globally do vary, and not everything non- organic is automatically penned as toxic.

But, as a Vegan – whose diet is primarily fruit and vegetables – I would much rather have a wonky, slightly discoloured organic apple that an apple laced with pesticides and chemicals that I can’t even pronounce!

why eat organic?

Why not Organic?

So why wouldn’t we all buy organic food? It’s healthy for us, the planet, and our furry friends; and it’s much tastier than GMO food. Well, I’m pretty sure the first thing that pops into your head is the same thing that put me off for so many years…the cost. You can almost guarantee that Organic fruit and veg is the most expensive option in the supermarket, and organic meat can be as much as double the price of its non-organic counterpart. And, whilst the Organic industry has grown considerably over the last decade, choices are not always as varied everywhere you shop. You can also be sure that without those pesky chemicals keeping your veggies colourful and ripe for longer, your organic shopping will need to be munched up within days of buying it.

Boxed, delivered and ready to gobble up!

But here’s where my discovery of Organic Veg boxes has saved the day. At the beginning of this year I decided to suck up the extra cost, and try a weekly delivery from a local veg box scheme. Lucky at the time to be living in Devon, I was in the catchment area of the original Riverford farm; and started to get my fruit, veg, milk and eggs (this was pre Vegan BTW!) from them weekly. Apart from the fact that I was now living off organic, seasonal and tastier produce, I was really surprised that it really didn’t cost much more. In fact, after a price comparison with a few supermarkets; our weekly shop cost a mere £7 more a week…and it was delivered straight to my door for free!  The best news was that after a few weeks of road testing a variety of boxes, I set up regular order so they were automatically delivered each week without me having to even think about it! You can’t get much lazier than that!

Lazy organic produce boxes Riverford

Things to look out for

  1. Where possible, buy things labelled 100% organic. Regulations and standards can vary and products labelled organic don’t always mean it’s ALL organic.
  2. Don’t be afraid to experiment and set yourself up for a seasonal veg box. You may sometimes get delivered something you have never heard of – let alone cooked with – before, or receive another batch of parsnips for the third week in a row; but eating what’s in season means you get the freshest and most sustainable food possible. Plus it pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to try a new recipe!
  3. Buy straight from a local farmer. This will depend on where you live and your access to transport, but farmers markets are an easy way to get some healthy and sustainable grub, and it’s a real experience to chat to the people that have actually produced the food you’re buying!
  4. Avoid the Dirty Dozen. If you can’t buy Organic all the time, follow the dirty dozen list of fruit and veg, which commonly contain the most residues from pesticides. Buy these products organic, and get the “clean list” – those items which are affected less by chemical farming processes – from supermarkets.

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