If you’ve not heard of Abel & Cole, they are a company that provide organic food to your doorstep. Knowing about Abel & Cole for a few years via friends, they were just a fruit and vegetable company, however following significant growth they now do other produce such as meat, dairy and eggs. What I think I liked most about them from the start is that the produce they proved are seasonal – encouraging you to eat a variety of fruit and veg rather than the usual you probably get week in, week out. If you’re anything like me, you stick to the usual and rarely get anything you don’t know how to cook, however with these guys I get the chance to mix it up as I’m certainly not going to waste it.
Although I could probably get these products elsewhere and/or perhaps for a cheaper price, these products are 100% organic and sourced locally anyway. We have tried sourcing our fruit and veg locally via visiting local farm shops but we simply do not have the time to do this weekly and a lot of the time it’s a little pricey.
So, last week, we received a voucher that entitled us to a free vegetable box as well as a free cookbook with an order over £12.50. Now, I’m a sucker for a freebie, especially when it’s a book and ESPECIALLY when it’s a cook book as I’m taking great pleasure in filling up my cookbook area in the kitchen (whether or not I actually use them regularly – I have quite a nice collection now) so when there was an option to get their cookbook, I was hooked; especially at £12.50 (the RRP is £12.99).
When you join A&C, you’re given three options; a Veg Box, a Fruit and Veg box or a Fruit Box (never saw that one coming did you?). Once you’ve chosen your box, you choose the size. You can also mix it up and get a small box, for example, but add additional items such as meat, eggs, milk and the like or items such as soups (made by A&C) or herbs. They also do special fruits just for juicing if you’re into that. You can also choose a gourmet version for those more adventurous and are happy to try something out of the ordinary.
As we had to meet £12.50 to get the book, we decided to go with a small vegetable box (£10.00) with some eggs and a soup as I’m a sucker for dark yellow yolks and soup, but you can spend a lot less and still get it delivered to you (delivery is 99p).
If your area isn’t an area where A&C visit often, they will tell you when they’re in your area. I imagine that if you’re in a big city, you’ll get a choice of delivery dates. Thankfully, the date they gave us, suited us.
When arranging delivery, you can choose between weekly, bi-monthly or monthly boxes. We’ve arranged for a weekly box which works out as £60.00 a month but we have a free box so it’s just under £50.00 including delivery which works out as around £12.00 a week which isn’t bad for a variety of seasonal vegetables.
At the moment, we’re probably spending a little under £30.00-£50.00 a week on fruit and veg anyway so this isn’t too much of an expense, but I still want value for money. Although a lot of veg is frozen, we do get a lot of salad items as well as fruit for my lunches (S has the luxury of having fruit delivered to her office).
Before they delivered, I was quite optimistic as I’d heard lots of good things about them so when the box arrived on my doorstep, I was so excited. In our box we got a small bag of spuds, a punnet of mushrooms, a punnet of cherry tomatoes, some chard, two broccoli trees and six large carrots. We also got 6 medium eggs and a vegetable soup. We also got a little Christmas treat in the form of a mini mince pie!
I wasn’t too impressed at first as we used all the spuds in one meal that was split over 2 days (we got about 6 potatoes) as well as the carrots, but when I looked at exactly how much we got and for how much we paid I was starting to come round. There was also a significant difference in taste of the vegetables. They just seemed… Fresh! I guess I was just hoping for something a little different because what we received was no different to what we usually get on a weekly shop. I was also expecting a little more, because I was used to perhaps buying a large bag of carrots for £1.50 but then looking at these carrots from A&C, I now know the carrots I buy are poor, cheap and nasty. Besides, the amount they give us are probably the right amount for two people anyway, cutting wastage. I can only imagine that if someone was on their own, this would last a lot longer!
Veg aside, I noticed and was very impressed with the packaging as it was completely recyclable in the sense that there is no plastic. Everything was packaged within wool and ice packs. When they deliver your box, they simply collect your old boxes. No trips to the dump for me! Result!
On top of this, I was littered with booklets about how to cook using the veg I’d been been provided with, as well as a brochure about other products, and a little note about where they source from. On top of this, they also gave us their Christmas brochure which was/is dangerous as the first page opened with the cheese section! I was salivating!
Overall, I am quite happy and although this is our first box – it may very well go tits up – I am feeling optimistic about our new way to get our veg. It’s one less thing to buy from the supermarket and I don’t feel bad that I’m not sourcing from local farmers as they source locally anyway – so I’m doing my bit. I’m also looking forward to trying out the new cookbook.
I would recommend trying these guys – even if you’re not sure. Even I you just want a free book, give it a go as you can cancel after the first delivery as you pay per box not per month. I genuinely thought I would grab the freebie a leave, but I’m not. I’m going to stick it out.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment or email us. I highly recommend just giving their website a visit – it’s bursting with information about them and their products.
*I purchased, and now subscribe, to these boxes with my own money. I earned a free box by registering online and claiming. This deal can be found on their website.