Grow It Yourself or Delivery – Which Organic Vegetables Are Better?
I have to say I’m really pleased that organic box schemes are on the increase. It means good food grown organically is available to more people wherever they live. The vegetables are in season, should be locally grown and easily traceable to the farm or supplier. For me this is a big plus in terms of quality and assurance. The exception will be exotic fruit, most of which will be sourced from warmer climes.
In this clip John from growingyourgreens.com asks the question whether fresh produce delivered by an organic box scheme is as good as the vegetables he grows himself. He looks at the cost of the delivered produce, the range of fruit and vegetables and predominantly the quality. Bear in mind the video is one of the lengthier ones, so you jump in at just before the two minute mark to see the contents of the box.
The first point he makes is it is more expensive to get organic fruit and veggies delivered than growing your own. But is it more expensive to join a box scheme than buying from the supermarket or local market? In my experience, no. I used a delivery box scheme for years. It was definitely cheaper than buying from the supermarket, and importantly all the veggies were locally grown. I have bought produce from organic health food shops, and the prices were also higher (but clearly the overheads are higher.) My local market doesn’t really feature organic produce, so I have to go further afield to farmers’ markets to buy. This adds petrol on top of the purchases.
Another point John makes is that the organic box contents are less fresh than those growing in his garden. Well, yes. I would expect that. Whenever my organic box featured greens such as broccoli or kale, I did have to use them quickly, within a couple of days, otherwise they wilted. But they were clearly recently picked – firm, and often still had moisture clinging to the leaves. Organic box suppliers want to harvest and despatch as quickly as possible, for obvious reasons. Using a local delivery scheme will help make sure you receive really fresh produce.
John compares the cost of buying organic onions and spinach. He makes a good point: onions are cheap to buy, easy to grow. Spinach is expensive to buy but still easy to grow. So consider what you grow – choose the veggies and fruit that cost more to buy.
Another vote for DIY produce is the nutritional content. Certain vitamins reduce considerably within twenty four hours of the plant being picked. With the best will in the world, a commercial organic delivery scheme will find it a challenge to deliver all the produce from field to doorstep within that time scale.
Another point to bear in mind is how well the organic farm is feeding the soil. When you grow your own you are in charge soil health. If you buy veggies, whether organic or not, you don’t know what the farmer uses for soil nutrients. It can be a bit of a lottery. For box schemes, it’s worth talking directly to the company about fertilisers. The company may well recommend you talk directly to the farmer, or suggest you visit the farm for reassurance. It really is worth doing the research – soil health is the plant’s controller for nutritional content.
Without doubt it is better to grow your own produce. In an ideal world everyone would do it. But that presupposes everyone has the time and space. Not everybody does. For me, healthy fresh food, free from chemicals and synthetic residues is the priority. Whether you’ve grown it yourself, or joined a CSA scheme or have it delivered from a local box company, the fact that you have chosen organic food means you are supporting your health and that of the planet in the best way possible.
Filed under: Organic Farming
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