And what's it all over? Vegetables.
Just plain, boring, ordinary veges.
After finding that carrot in our letterbox, I've had two vege boxes from Foodbox.
The first one was amazing! The second, not quite so much. It just didn't feel like I got nearly as much as in my first box! Buyer's remorse quickly set in. Had I made the right decision? Was this going to work? Had I wasted our precious money? Were they ripping me off? Had I jumped to ecstatic delight too quickly? Or was it just that circumstances had conspired to make this box a little less appealing than the last?
I'm hoping it is the later. There's certainly been a combination of contributing factors.
Firstly, there was apparently a glitch in the system which meant two items I thought I was getting I didn't (they were listed accidentally on the website). Foodbox apologised and offered an extra top up next time. No worries. I'll just take silverbeet quiche off my menu.
Then there was beetroot and fennel, both specialty items that I'd not normally buy. Both nice enough, but having them means (I think!) that you get less volume, as they are more expensive veges. In all honesty, I need volume. We're trying to eat a lot of veg. Yes, we want variety, but we also need good value.
Plus, I did a bit of a tricky thing and asked to swap out my onions for Ambrosia apples. They were on the list for other boxes...not mine of course as mine is officially a vege box. The lovely Foodbox people did happily include the Ambrosia apples, but that means we got an apple each when probably I needed to ask for another lettuce or something green instead!
I didn't get a box this week. I'm on fortnightly orders so my next one won't come till next week. My mum did, however. She asked whether my veges had been okay. "Yeah, sure." I replied. Well, she's had a few freshness issues (corriander that was too limp to revive, cucumber with rotten end, silverbeet leaves with rot in top). She's going to email Foodbox. I'm actually quite surprised about it, as one of their drawcards is that their produce is fresher than the supermarket. Not quite sure what's gone on there. Now, obviously every grower, food supplier, or any kind of business for that matter has 'off days.' But it's still a bit weird she's had three things. And in her first box. Not a good look. Hoping they sort it out quickly.
So having done the pendulum of delight, disappointment, and then subsequently still wishing I was getting a box this week when I saw the Foodbox van driving past (hehe!), I have made some decisions.
1...I will continue my Foodbox for one or two more fortnights and decide after that whether to continue it or not. 2 boxes is probably not enough time to really be sure about whether this is going to work for us. It's such a different way of doing your groceries, so it takes some getting used to not just buying what you want to cook with, but cooking with what you have instead. I'm really enjoying how it's helping me menu plan and use up what we have. When I used to not buy enough veges because I'd not want to spend the money, instead now I'm really motivated to use what I've already spent money on.
2...I'm being more ruthless in my 'banned items' list. Our box is really too small fortnightly, but too big weekly. So I'm trying to balance out the fortnightly one by banning some items that store well. Carrots and onions to be specific. Still deciding about the potatoes, as the first ones I had with Foodbox were so, so, so nice! Grin. I'll buy my carrots and onions at the supermarket. They keep well, they are cheap. Then I can get more other things in my Foodbox, hopefully making it last better. I'm banning not only things I hate, like brussel sprouts or corriander (which makes me nearly puke!), but also things that are okay, but simply not good value for us. The beetroot last week taught me that. I got three. I don't like them roasted, so I boiled them, skinned them, sliced them, and marinated them. Now it's not a really awful process or anything, but that was time I could have spent doing something else. I really don't mind tinned beetroot. No more Foodbox beetroot. I am so wishing I got another lettuce instead. The lettuce we had last week was AMAZING. So tasty. So crisp. Just not big enough. All gone. Sigh.
3...I'm returning to our local Farmers Market. When I first moved here, the Farmers Market was too exclusive/expensive. Not enough variety, too high price. But there are some newer traders now, and I can get some local greens and other veges for good prices. I haven't been going because I've been cleaning for my mum on Saturdays. But I'm going to try changing that now, which means I can go to the market Saturday mornings again every few weeks without it becoming this majorly big hassle. I am going to try just getting some greens. Our vege gardens are just not producing enough...not enough for salad or stir-fry let alone that I make us about 3-4 green smoothies each week still! What is growing, our chooks get before I do! So greens from the market. I'm going to take $20 this week and see what I can get. I might yet stop Foodbox and go markets. The main issue with this is that I still can't get EVERYTHING at the markets. So I'd still have to go there, then at least one other shop (whether supermarket or greengrocer). Our local greengrocer has discount fruit which is terrific, but not good quality veges. So I'm stuck between Foodbox and whether it is good enough value for this very lean season of our lives, and having to shop around and around and around which I already do too much of in order to try and get our general food items on special! I like the idea of supporting a business other than the gigantic supermarket chains, and not having to leave my house to get my veges, but still need to make a really good financial decision at the moment. Ugh. Well, on the bright side, we are eating just fine. Definitely no hunger in my household. I guess I really don't have anything much to complain about after all, do I?
What I got in my second Vege Patch Box (above):
3 Ambrosia apples (instead of onions)
2 packs mushrooms (smaller, one of button, one flat)
1 fennel bulb
1 butterhead lettuce (small)
bag of mesculun5 stems rhubbarb
My current permanent ban-list:
carrots, brown or red onions, garlic, broccoli, mung beans, brussel sprouts, red cabbage, large green cabbage (asian, savoy or baby cabbage are ok!), lemons, EXTRA mushrooms (1 per box is great!), beetroot, coriander, swedes, fennel
I've asked for them to be replaced with more salad or stir fry greens.