Enjoy our pick of some top companies in Devon delivering delicious home-grown veg to your doorstep, writes Su Carroll
Mums are always encouraging their children to eat their greens. It turns out mums are right about that (and everything else) because fruit and vegetables are a really important part of our daily diet. Our ‘five-a-day’ habit provides us with many of the nutrients we need to stay healthy – including vitamins, potassium and fibre. Naturally low in fat and calories (there is no cholesterol in vegetables), they can help reduce our risk of heart disease and some cancers. They promote healthy bodies and can help keep us well mentally too.
Local vegetable growers have faced many challenges. They deserve support from consumers who will benefit from their fresh produce which is supremely seasonal and, in many cases, organic or carefully grown.
You can select your own veg combination for home delivery or take ‘pot luck’ and opt for a regular order of the best of the seasonal produce available.
Here are some of the Devon companies offering veg box delivery.
As one of the biggest names in the organic veg world, the Watson family has been farming organically in South Devon for over 30 years. They aren’t just paying attention to their organic credentials. They are caring for the wildlife and the environment in and around the farm, and are serious about their social responsibilities.
That’s important, but it’s also about delivering delicious fruit and veg: the “carrotiest carrots” and spuds like your grandad used to grow, according to Riverford, a business now owned by its staff. The variety of seasonal veg boxes come in small, medium and large. You can add meat to your order too.
Find out why the Riverford slogan is “live life on the veg”.
This family-run business evolved after Julie and Bela started making fruit and veg boxes for friends, using food from their farmer neighbours. Word spread and Veg in a Box was born. The boxes range in content and price, and there are some great ideas – a Zero-Waste Pick & Mix box which helps farmers deal with a glut, One’s Company boxes for people who live alone and Two’s Company for couples. Also available are Low Carbon Footprint boxes, which contain fruit and veg produced close to home in Clyst St Mary, while the Pick Your Own box allows you to choose what you want.
Delivery is free for orders over £25 in the Exeter area; charges vary beyond that in South Devon. Check online to see if it delivers to your postcode.
They cut out the middle man at Shillingford Organics and now deliver home-grown veg to customers in the Exeter area. The 30-acre farm grows veg, salad and herbs from staples like carrots, onions and potatoes to cabbages, kale and chard. Other fruit and veg is sourced from nearby farms where possible or from ethical sources. You can also order pantry items and vegan food.
This company cuts down on plastic and food miles by delivering locally grown fruit and veg boxes to the greater Plymouth area (and Tavistock). You can order as a one-off, or have deliveries on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. There are set mixed boxes or you can ‘pick your own’. Add extras like eggs, milk, preserves and jams, and there are also fresh herbs and spices. Order by 6pm for next-day delivery. The minimum order is £10 for free delivery.
This enterprising greengrocers in Exeter’s Sidwell Street delivers fruit and veg boxes daily throughout the city. Waste is kept to a minimum, they source as locally as possible and don’t charge for delivery. There’s a wide variety available, including a Detox Box and Something Different, offering some more unusual choices. Check online for discounts and offers.
Richard and Ruth Kelsey deliver produce three days a week from their 50-acre farm at Petrockstowe near Okehampton. After supplying the big supermarkets, the couple decided to go it alone. They now grow their veg in a less intensive way and sell direct through box schemes across North Devon.
As well as veg, they sell pork from their heritage herd and Ruby Red Devon Beef through Hallwood Meat. Any ‘waste’ vegetables are fed to the pigs and any dung is used on the veg fields to replace organic matter. You can add eggs, local butter, milk and cheese to your order.
Based in Torquay, Devon Fresh delivers free to the local area from businesses which, together, have been providing fruit and veg to the English Riviera for over 80 years. There are familiar seasonal fruit and veg boxes (there’s also meat and other food, and even logs for the fire). A favourite is the One-Pan Box – a selection of exciting veg to stir-fry together.
Jim grows organic veg on his parents’ farm, Higher Hacknell, just outside Burrington in North Devon. It is an ultra-local operation delivering veg boxes to Chulmleigh, Chawleigh, Ashreighney, Burrington and High Bickington on Wednesday afternoons. Sign up online to receive a weekly email of what’s available.