Whether you’ve tried (and failed) to grow your own vegetables, or are seeking something more inspiring than your supermarket selection, a spiking demand for vegetable boxes during the pandemic has led to more choice than ever before.
More farmers, producers and wholesalers hit by the hospitality sector’s travails have started selling directly to consumers in a move that tallies with a growing appetite for fresher, healthier food.
“There’s definitely a degree of excitement about vegetable boxes,” says Jack Ward, CEO of the British Growers Association. “They enable people to become more emotionally invested in the food they’re eating and there’s a growing interest in the backstory behind the produce and knowing where it’s come from.”
For first-timers, Ward advises getting to grips with which vegetables need to be eaten in which order and understanding your own best-before system so you get the most out of what you receive. “You never quite know what’s coming and it’s very seasonal, which means you probably get confronted with a different variety of vegetables than you would in a supermarket,” he says.
A huge benefit of buying vegetable boxes is their focus on seasonality and, as Ward tells us, “you’re going to be getting these crops at the peak of their perfection – they’re often the first cuttings and will be at the absolute top of their game.”
How we tested
We tested all of the vegetable boxes below for the quality of the produce upon arrival, before sampling in a variety of dishes, both raw and cooked where appropriate. Consideration was also given to the ease of purchase, available selection, customisation options, delivery and packaging, with those eschewing plastic for more sustainable options earning particular praise.
Here, ranging from earthy organic pioneers to digital-savvy newcomers and specialist, one-crop producers, we’ve listed nine of the best boxes for adding a healthy kick to your kitchen repertoire.
The best vegetable boxes for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Riverford zero packaging veg box: from £13.25, Riverford.co.uk
- Best for tomato aficionados – The Tomato Stall organic tomato box: £25.50, Thetomatostall.co.uk
- Best for veg box first-timers – Abel & Cole medium very veggie veg box: £17.70, Abelandcole.co.uk
- Best for climate-conscious cooks – Oddbox large veg home box: £15.99, Oddbox.co.uk
- Best for organic simplicity – Daylesford Organic market garden veg box: £15, Daylesford.com
- Best for salads – Pikt seasonal salad box: £17, Piktfresh.com
- Best for fully customisable boxes – Boxxfresh 10 portion boxx: £17, Boxxfresh.com
- Best for adventurous palates – Turnips at Borough Market VIP veg box: £45, Goodsixty.co.uk
- Best for chef-grade European produce – Natoora peak season box: £35, Natoora.co.uk