The Cottage Smallholder

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Abel and Cole organic vegetable and fruit box. Review.

Photo: Able and Cole mixed organic box

Photo: Able and Cole mixed organic box

When we were offered an Abel and Cole organic fruit and vegetable box to review, I jumped at the chance. Ever since we started to really cut back on our spending I’ve been intrigued by these boxes as many people recommended them as saving time and money. A couple of years ago just a couple of companies delivered in our area. Now there are nine to choose from.

Abel and Cole don’t actually deliver to our area yet but they do deliver to my mum’s street in Cambridge so we aranged to have the organic box delivered there. They also sent some chilled ready meals to my mum. Reviews of these in a few days time.

I was impressed with the veg and fruit box. It was packed full of exciting things. If you are very busy and if you add up the cost of motoring to the supermarket and the time involved I reckon that a weekly delivery is of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables is good value. But if your life is time heavy I believe that you could achieve a reasonable weekly harvest with a well planned allotment and greenhouse.

Abel and Cole offer a lot of flexibility. You can elect never to receive the fruit and veg that you dislike.

Our bulging organic box contained:


  • Broad Beans – this were a bit older than the ones that we harvest and eat straight from the garden and had to be de-skinned but they were tasty albeit a little floury.
  • Lots of mini Courgettes – these were in competition with our own courgettes but they were sweet and we tried them in Joanna’s lemony courgette salad and put the rest into our low meat spaghetti sauce.
  • New Potatoes – these got the thumbs up from me (sweet and a perfect texture) but D the Potato King gave them the thumbs down. Talk spuds with Danny and you are almost into the realms of vintage wine tasting.
  • Carrots – I have no idea what variety these were but they were the best carrots that we had ever tasted. In fact these encouraged me to buy some autumn planting carrot seeds.
  • Cucumbers – these were the outdoor ridge variety. Lovely and crisp. We gave one to my mum and made tzatziki with ours, also cucumber sandwiches (my favourite) and cucumber batons in salad.
  • Little Gem Lettuces – We gave one to my mum. These were on a par with our own. Good flavour and crisp.
  • Spring Onions – Lovely strong ones which meant that they went much further. I was ecstatic about these. Just one added a tremendous zing to the tzatziki. We ate these in salads and Danny made champ.


  • A ripe melon – delish
  • Bananas (Fairtrade) wonderful for snacks
  • Apples – these were far the best apples that we’ve tasted for years. Crisp, sweet and every bite a delight. These bought out the selfish gene in me. I hid the last one to savour alone.

The box was delivered on July 9th and I ate that last apple this afternoon. A tiny bit woolly but still a full of flavour.

Three people in my mum’s street have a weekly mixed organic box from Abel and Cole. One of them makes a lot of soup to use up the veg and I’d advise her to invest in the superb  Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book. This was recommended by Kate(uk) way back when. Seraphina lent me her copy a couple of months ago. Having read it I decided to expand growing our own vegetables big time. Steaming and simmering are just first steps.

So we’d give the Abel and Cole mixed organic box the thumbs up. If we didn’t have a large kitchen garden we’d would definitely join a vegetable and fruit box scheme.

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  1. Ruthdigs

    I also have and love the JG Veg book. I’ve recently acquired (from Abel and Cole’s own book ‘Cooking Outside the Box’ and can recommend that too.
    Hope all these veggies are doing you good and building your strength.

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