Since we arrived in Manchester, we have been looking for a good place where we could buy our fruit and vegetables. With an almost vegetarian diet and doing fruit / vegetable juices daily, our vegetable consumption is quite high.
But the problem when we arrived in a new city / country is that we did not know how to go about finding these. We were so used to going to the market or to our greengrocer in the corner of our street in France that we needed time to understand that it is not common to do that here. So we tested different places to find good fruit / vegetables at low prices. But we were still not satisfied because the products that we purchased were often not British.
What made me most angry is that every time I watched an English cooking show, they always showed plenty of vegetables of all kinds from England. Especially in the show “Eat well for less” which is one of my favorite programs here in England. But damn, where do they find their purple carrots and their multicolored cabbages? We thought that there should be a place where we can buy all these good products that our beloved English farmers produce but we didn’t know where.
By doing a lot of research on the Internet I came across the Northern Harvest site. Behind this project is a Warrington based company that has produced fruit / vegetables in their farm, Kenyon Hall Farm, since 1979. In 2002, they created Northern Harvest to link the local producers with the consumers. Today the group includes about 80 producers and offers a variety of natural products ranging from vegetables / fruits to meat and homemade jam.
Kenyon Hall Farm is a farm where you can pick your own fruit and vegetables. We went last year to pick our pumpkin for Halloween. This is a great place to spend an afternoon with the kids or just walk in the fields and breathe the fresh air.
All Northern Harvest products are available on their website or you can buy them in the store at Kenyon Hall Farm (I found violet carrots and yellow beetroots).
Today I wanted to talk about their box of vegetables and fruits. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, every week (or anytime you want) you can receive a box at home filled with fruit and vegetables that come from a local farmer (in this case from 80 producers). Since there are fresh and seasonal products, you cannot choose what will be in your box and it will change every week.
We tested their box and for the first purchase we ordered: a fruit box at £ 10, a salad box at £10 and a vegetable box at £ 10.
We placed the order on Tuesday and were delivered on Friday morning at 5am. To not wake us they left our delivery with the concierge.
Our fruit / vegetables were placed in plastic boxes (they will take them back during our next order).
Here’s what we got:
– 3 large mushrooms (250g)
– 4 onions (550g)
– 2 red bell peppers (350g)
– 6 tomatoes (500g)
– A tray of cress (150g)
– A lettuce (350g)
– 1 broccoli (350g)
– 1 cauliflower (600g)
– 1 avocado (150g)
– 1 melon (700g)
– 1 bunch of spring onions (100g)
– 1 bag of potato (2kg)
– 1 bag of organic lettuce leaves (100g)
– 1 cucumber (500g)
– 2 leeks (700g)
– 1 cabbage (1kg)
– Celery (600g)
– 4 pears (800g)
– 4 bananas (800g)
– 6 apples (700g)
– 5 oranges (900g)
– 4 kiwifruit (300g)
– 5 parsnips (600g)
– 5 carrots (1kg)
The total is about 14 kg of fruit and vegetables for £ 30. To this is added the price of the delivery, which is £ 3.50. Thus, a total of £33.50. We found the price very reasonable.
We really liked the fact that the products were not packaged, avoiding to spend hours to remove all these bloody plastic bags and avoids throwing a ton of packaging. Besides, I found it cool to know that someone had prepared the box for me, and was wondering what they were going to give me. The products are really fresh (there was still soil on the carrots and their tops) and they smelt so good. Vegetables have lasted for 10 days in the fridge and there was no waste. The soup of carrot tops is really tasty. No I do not have a fixation on carrots.
The only downside is the amount of fruit that was insufficient for us to last one week. But the same time during the autumn we cannot ask for a lot of fruit from England. I also wish to have a sheet showing me the origin of the products (eg. the producer’s name and where they live) and more details on the variety of fruit / vegetables (eg. I didn’t know what sort of apples we had).
To summarise, this week reminded us the real taste of fruits and vegetables of our childhood spent in the gardens of our grandparents.