With sustainability at the forefront of everyone’s minds (after Brexit), a great way to ensure you eat well is to order a veg box. They take the hassle out of finding local fruit and veg – and stop you getting back from the supermarket to realise that that those green beans were flown in from Guatemala. Veg boxes right a few air miles by promising to include UK produced food (where possible), and in the case of any supermarket boxes, wonky veg that would otherwise be condemned to the scrap pile. If you’d like to make sure your food really is local (or saved from the scrap heap) then choose the Veg Box People, who source from family run farms in Lancashire and Cheshire. Only want to do one shop? Take a look at Foodlife who also do a monthly organic meat and fish delivery AND sell organic eggs, dairy, dry goods and cleaning products.

Gold standard veg: Riverford – from £11.75 a box (pictured)
The grande dame of veg boxes, Riverford is one of the best known national companies. They have expanded their box offering so that you can now choose from boxes of recipes (highly recommend for busy people); veg; fruit and salad; meat; dairy; make your own. Some of their suppliers are international but rest assured the same care goes into picking them as it does the UK producers, and if you’re particularly worries, you can always make up your own box of British produce. The company just became a cooperative too, so it’s business structure is as ethical as its produce. Veg boxes from £11.75 for a small box of seasonal organic veg. Free delivery, no signature required
Tel: 01803 227227, www.riverford.co.uk

Manchester’s finest veg: Veg Box People – from £6 per bag
This amazing company are supplied by farms that are between 3 and 46 miles from Manchester city centre – it doesn’t get much more local than that! Rather than delivering to houses they offer pick up locations across the city (as well as in Salford Quays, Hulme, Macclesfield, Altrincham, Didsbury and Wilmslow). This ensures you don’t miss your delivery and that food miles and emissions are kept to a minimum. They offer four sizes of Veg Bag – starter/student, small, medium or large. It’s great that they cater for students, who often don’t need a family sized box or always buy the same veg, with a smaller box and collection hubs in student areas including Fallowfields, MMU’s All Saints Campus and UoM’s University Place.
 Veg boxes from £6 per bag, collect from hubs across Greater Manchester
. Tel: 07572968523, www.vegboxpeople.org.uk

Everything you need: Food Life Organic – from £12
Food Life Organic has some impressive credentials; founded in 1995 in Bramhall, Cheshire, they were assisted by the Prince’s Youth Business Trust and have gone from strength to strength over the last 23 years. They deliver across the Manchester area and have branched out from just selling fruit and veg: now the company also sells organic eggs, dairy, dry goods and cleaning products. They also sell some non-organic artisan products from local producers. Once a month there is the option to receive an organic meat and fish box, and they do hampers at Christmas time. All of this ensures that you can obtain the best local produce with minimum fuss. Another bonus? Food Life Organic want to reduce waste and so all produce comes in a reusable crate or box that they will collect on your next order. Veg crates from £10.25. Free delivery but minimum order value is £12. www.foodlifeorganic.co.uk

Curated supply selection: Bernie’s Grocery Store – from £50
Bernie’s is a responsibly sourced food and produce store based in Heaton Moor, created by the behind Provisions & Grocery. Visit their cafe-turned-shop and you’ll find a selection of homemade bakes – including sourdoughs by Triangle Bake House and bagels from Prestwich’s State Fayre. Sweet treats, quiches and savoury bakes are also available, alongside a small variety of craft beers. However it’s their hampers that we’re interested in here. Bernie’s Finest Hampers are available from £50 and contain a range of fresh fruit, seasonal vegetables, cheeses and more items cherry-picked by the store’s owners. The contents of each hamper changes every week, so variety is guaranteed. Once ordered, Bernie’s Finest Hampers can be collected from a range of stores – including Grapefruit in Sale. www.ProvisionsGrocery.co.uk

Food and recipes from Veg Box MCR via Grub-E-Mart – from £15
Grub’s Grub-E-Mart web shop has been keeping bellies full of locally sourced street food and drink during lockdown and now they’re helping to keep our cupboards fully stocked too. Working with Veg Box MCR, they’re selling curated fruit and vegetable boxes in two sizes available for £15 and a slightly larger option at £25. Each contain a range of freshly picked fruit and vegetables from their ever-changing stock listing. Expect to find items like garlic, cauliflower, red peppers, mushrooms, cherry vine tomatoes, bananas and pineapples alongside two recipes providing some cooking inspiration on what to do with your fresh food. Local delivery is available for certain addresses in Manchester and Stockport or customers can collect directly from Grub’s Rebank Project venue. www.grubmcr.com/grubemart

Tue 5 Jan
Lily Carden
Published on:
Sun 21 Feb 2021