Box scheme information
Our box scheme is a pretty simple system. Customers place a regular order for the type of veg and fruit bags they want, and contact us to add extra items to their order. The veg is harvested and bags put together at our premises near Bedlington. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays the bags are delivered to our Collection points throughout the region and then collected by you.
How do I join?
To join the scheme, you place a four week trial order online or by post. The trial gives you the chance to choose different bags and produce for each week of your trial. You can try out some of our bags and extra items and see what suits you. At the end of the trial we hope you'll have enjoyed our produce and look forward to welcoming you as a box scheme member.
What do the bags contain?
Our bags contain a selection of seasonal certified organic vegetables, usually containing potatoes, carrots and onions ( though we may remove the carrots and onions in the summer when our fields and tunnels are bursting with other things! ). There are more salad items in the summer, more roots and brassicas in the winter. The amounts will vary during the course of the year but the value is fixed.
All produce grown by us is certified organic and guaranteed to be free of added pesticides, herbicides and GMOs, and is grown using ecologically sound and sustainable methods. Imported produce is sourced as locally as possible, from other certified organic growers and wholesalers. All produce is class 1 except where noted otherwise.
You can find out what is in our bags each week on the Veg and fruit bags page.
Please remember that this list is for information only. Due to the vagaries of weather, harvest, deliveries, etc, not every bag each week has exactly the same selection in it, though they will contain the full value.
How much is in the bags?
The number of people a bag will feed will depend upon how much veg you get through in a week! We find that no two customers are the same - but you can get an idea of roughly how much is in an average bag by taking a trial.
Where does the produce come from?
Generally speaking, the produce will be as local as possible. We grow as much as we can on our 12 acre site in Northumberland. It isn’t large enough to grow everything we sell, so we supplement it with additional bought-in produce when needed (particularly in the ‘ hungry gap ’ months).
Our main additional suppliers include:
Help! I don’t recognise this vegetable!
We put information in the bags if we are giving you any vegetable that we think some of you might not be familiar with, but if you're still stuck just get in touch !
How do I collect my order?
As a member of the scheme you would collect your order, generally on a Wednesday or Thursday, either direct from Earth Balance or from one of our growing network of link people who provide collection points local to where you live or work. We will do our best to match you to a suitable link.
- Please pick up your order promptly from your nominated collection point and sign for it.
- Please remember to be considerate, as you may be going to the Link Person's own home. Keep to your agreed time.
- If you can’t avoid collecting late, please let the link person know, or your bags may be disposed of.
- Please return carrier bags to your link person to be re-used.
How do I pay?
You can pay for your trial order online via PayPal or by cheque/bank transfer.
After your trial you can opt to join our scheme as a regular customer. Most of our customers pay us via standing order, but other payment methods are possible and can be arranged. Payments are in advance please.
How do I cancel a bag?
Please give us sufficient notice – by 5pm Thursday the week before – if you need to cancel a bag. This is so that we don’t harvest or buy in any produce that is not actually needed and then goes to waste. If late cancellations are made there is a charge of 50% of the value to cover the costs incurred.
What about when I’m away?
If you're going away you can contact the office to arrange to have your deliveries temporarily stopped. Please do this one week before leaving. Any credit arising from cancellations can be refunded on your return, or left on your account in case you wish to order any additional items.
I’m allergic to…/ My family won’t eat…
We don't offer the option of choosing the specific contents of your bag, as we support the concept of seasonal eating. Your bag will always contain the produce that’s coming out of the ground at that time.
In certain circumstances however (especially for food allergies) we can ensure that your bag doesn’t contain specific items. You bag will have a named label attached to it when you collect it.
Can you supply my restaurant/shop etc?
Generally we aren't doing wholesale, as our top priority is to supply our box-scheme customers. In the summer months we sometimes have a glut of a particular item (e.g. courgettes) which we may want to sell on in bulk. Contact us if you are interested in this, and we will get in touch if and when there is anything available.
What is the Hungry Gap?
The ‘Hungry Gap’ is that period of the farming year when all of the last year's harvest has been taken in, but nothing of the new year’s is ready to harvest. Things will be being planted and prepared for planting, but there will be very little fresh UK produce around. Many items, such as root crops (potatoes, beetroot etc) will have been in storage prior to use and so may not be at their best. Traditionally people would have eaten a lot of dried and pickled foods at this time. The whole of the UK is affected by this phenomenon, and much of what we sell during the months of April to June may be imported. Our importing policy is that we buy in from as close to the UK as possible and nothing is air-freighted.
Here is our policy on using plastic packaging (DRAFT)
We take great care to keep the use of plastic packaging to a minimum:
- Any packaging that we send out can be returned to us and we will reuse or recycle it. Please leave them at your link where they will be collected
- Until we find a viable alternative, we use small plastic bags when we consider it essential for keeping your produce in good condition, e.g. cut salad leaves, for anything else we use paper bags.
- We have no control over some bought in items that are in plastic bags.
How do I give feedback / complain?
Please communicate with the office; let us know as soon as possible if there are problems or if you have any questions. We also like to hear if something is particularly good! We are constantly trying to improve the scheme and our service, and your feedback is where it starts!
We always try to maintain a high quality, but sometimes you may find poor produce in your bag. Please contact the office for a full refund (or an equivalent replacement) of the affected items. Sometimes things may deteriorate in the bag (remember our veg are never treated with preservatives). Sometimes the defect may be impossible to see from the outside. We always want to know if you get anything you are not happy with. It keeps our standards up and helps us to refund you promptly, and hopefully keep you satisfied with our service.