For a long time, I’ve been frustrated by supermarkets. Partly because I feel like trips to the supermarket are a waste of my time, partly because I am uncomfortable with their market dominance, and partly because I feel that they sell a lot of rubbish. We’ve tried some local farm shops that are nice on occasion but somehow never seemed to work for us as a regular thing. We also had two periods of ordering veg boxes from Abel and Cole but for some intangible reason were never really satisfied.
Then, a couple of months ago, we decided to try Riverford Organic and it has genuinely changed our lives life. We’ve been ordering a weekly bumper veg box, a salad box, and a fruit box with occasional additional sacks of juicing ingredients like carrots, beetroots, and oranges.
Here’s what I love about it:
I can’t quantify this but compared to even organic veg from Waitrose or Abel and Cole, the food just seems a lot more appetizing. It looks great, it feels great, and it tastes amazing.
Although some food does come from abroad, they have a no air freight policy, keeping emissions down compared to supermarkets.
Since we started ordering from Riverford, our kitchen bin stopped filling up. They do send the occasional thing in a plastic bag or pot but the majority is either packaging free or in a paper bag or tray that can be composted or recycled. To make it even better, they deliver veg in brilliantly designed collapsible and reusable boxes that they collect each week. A great example of real sustainable design!
It’s hard to do a true like for like cost comparison due to variations in size and quality but we’ve definitely been saving money… a lot of money!
It seems unbelievable that the quality of our food could go up while the cost goes down, but that’s what has happened.
The reason? No packaged goods. Apart from a small selection of deli items, Riverford just sell ingredients and not products, whereas supermarkets are designed to encourage you to purchase food products that are much more expensive than their base ingredients.
We might spend less but the benefit to the real economy is much greater because we are buying our food from a family business that sources all of its food either from its own farms or from organic cooperative farms that they know and trust. No complex supply chains, no offshore bank accounts, and no remote shareholders putting their own interests before the customers on the planet.
Every week, we receive so much beautiful produce that Vineeta and I have been inspired to make more delicious food with it, to try new recipes with new ingredients such as cardoons, and to make an effort to ensure that we eat it all and don’t waste any.
The result of all of these factors is more enjoyment of food and even better health. Riverford Organic really has changed our lives in a very positive way. It has relieved my inner conflict of buying from supermarkets, improved our health, made us better cooks, reduced packaging, reduced food waste, reduced the carbon footprint of our food and saved us money.
It’s by no means perfect but it is surely a giant leap in the right direction.