By Ben Thorpe on 12 Aug 2017
A regular vegetable box delivery is a very tempting thing, but also one that presents a challenge by virtue of being at odds with consumers used to year-round availability of all vegetables in supermarkets. The fear of the unknown can be a significant barrier to entry for many people, triggering worries about being presented with a box full of unfamiliar produce that will go to waste or be too difficult to integrate into the week's menu. Riverford Organic Farms regularly run vegetable masterclasses to combat those concerns and make sure their customers are getting the best from their boxes. My curiousity was piqued, so I happily accepted an invite to see what the course was all about.
The course was held near one of Riverford's farms not too far from York up at South Otterington, in whose village hall we gathered to receive instruction from a friendly young tutor by the name of Ben. Nine of us were in attendance to put together a rice salad, a curry and spiced dip while taking tips on the broader points of cooking with vegetables. I like to think that I'm a competent home cook, but it was nice to have my technique reinforced by a pro' as we ran through basics such as chopping onions and basic knife skills.
Over a couple of hours we talked through suggestions such as 'curing' spring greens with lime while we kept on chopping, and ended up with a delicious spiced carrot and cannellini dip and a spinach, green bean and chick pea curry along with a delicious rice salad that used those cured spring greens.
All the attendees commented that they had learnt something new as we enjoyed the fruits of our labours over lunch so Ben deserves great credit for keeping the day moving to schedule and making sure that all skill levels were taken into account while neither boring the more experienced nor patronising those newer to cooking. One thing I'd not realised about Riverford was that there's no subscription; if you have an account you just order as and when you fancy taking a box. That being the case, it's certainly something I'm going to be looking at more closely.