the mud debate

muddy carrots

There is no doubt that unwashed roots retain their protective skins and keep better. I live a muddy life, but having cooked in some of your kitchens I am wondering if I have been excessively dogmatic about the stuff; would it be better for us to do a quick wash (as we have the last few weeks when the carrots have been very muddy)? If kept in the fridge and eaten within two weeks I think the effect on flavour will be negligible. It would also help us to reduce packaging because there would be less need to contain dirt and the boxes would stay clean(ish) for more trips. If you would like to share your views on this topic, we would be very interested to hear what you think.

Guy Watson

434 responses to “the mud debate

  1. Sounds like that would be a good thing, especially if the flavour isn’t affected.

  2. I for one would be thrilled if you kept up with washing the carrots! I can assure you it has no effect on keeping qualities or flavour, so please, please do carry on, as I hate it when the rest of the box contents get covered in mud thanks to one of the roots!

  3. I’m always unsure whether I should leave the mud on when I get my weekly box and keep things in the fridge in a muddy state.

  4. I don’t mind a bit of mud, but caked on wads of dirt are a little annoying. On the other hand, I also love the smell of ‘fresh out of the ground’ veg. I guess I’m sitting on the fence.

  5. I always clean mine if I want to put them in the fridge, but this time of year they just go in the garage.

  6. I would like a bit of pre-cleaning, as big lumps of mud aren’t much fun to shift. They don’t have to be perfect, but it’d make life a bit easier.

  7. Love the washed carrots,cuts the preperation time, which is important when you cook from scratch everyday!! The little video was great. To see and hear Guy Watson after all these years of using /recomending Riverford was a treat.

    My daughter who is living in Nottingham also uses riverford having been bought up on it in surrey, now that you work with other farms. Bloody Fantastic. Love you all. Shauna

  8. Please leave the mud on. I like to see the variety of the colours of mud that you get. It makes me think what part of the country they are grown.

    Also I am convinced it is healthy.

  9. hi, dirt on clumpy mud off, a bit of dirts good in my opinion but when its clumpy and alot of it a light wash would be good ,but no scrubbing to a shine like supermarkets please!!!!

  10. I’d prefer a quick rinse, for parsnips also.

  11. Sheila Greenhalgh

    When I completed your recent questionnaire, I opted for less mud on the carrots. However, I have now changed my mind having had “clean” carrots in recent boxes. They seem a little anaemic after the wonderfully orange carrots which emerge after washing the mud off of the dirty ones. Otherwise I am still very pleased with the box contents.

  12. I think it’s great that you leave the mud on. I know that I am getting real fresh vegetables pulled out from real soil. How different is that to plastic sterile veg from a supermarket! Please keep it this way!

  13. I don’t mind the mud at all, makes me feel that whilst I know they are organice they really are with the mud still there.
    Riverford is just the best.

  14. I love the mud so I vote to leave it on too (unless there’s a massive amount of it)
    I love the smell of the fresh carrots when I’m scrubbing them

  15. If you wash the veggies in your kitchen sink, the dirt goes down the drain and it may not be flushed clear, leaving a residue that builds up with successive washings.

    If I was a plumber, I’d quite agree with those who like the dirt on their vegetables.

    PS I wish I lived in a Riverford area now. I used your veggie box a few years back and was so impressed with the variety and the quality!

  16. The mud drives me round the bend – this week the parsnips are muddy, whereas the carrots are fine.

    The last thing I want to do when I get home from work on a box day is spend 10 minutes washing carrots. I tried putting them in the fridge without washing them and the mud got everywhere.

  17. I agree with Suzanne. I like a mud-free fridge, and find the extra time needed to wash them puts me off using them as time and energy are so precious.

    I prefer to have them washed, get fewer and buy a fresh lot every week. I don’t want them hanging round for 2+ weeks with mud on them.

  18. On the fence too – outside for mud lumps and washed will mean straight to fridge storage for eating. Also teen sons grumps when mud sighted!

  19. I loved reading all the mud versus washed comments. When we had a garden and my darling used to drop a load of veg, caked in Bedfordshire clay, in my sink I did used to wonder if I was wasting water rinsing, then heard some gardening expert say you should rinse them outside. Mud and potential cack shouldn’t be going in your U bend! Hurrah!

  20. Some cleaning would be good, especially when there is loads of mud. I don’t mind some in theory because I know it keeps the veg for longer but I have a very muddy fridge…

  21. I like the idea of leaving the mud on but to be honest it is just really a pain in the bum, a little bit of mud is ok but when they are caked in it it is a real pain to prepare. I really do hate having to stand washing thick clumps of mud off the skin before starting to make dinner and it always makes me mutter to myself….not enough to buy washed from the supermaket carrots you understand but the air quality would be cleaner in my house if the roots were washed 😉

  22. A bit of a rinse would be appreciated! I end up with a really muddy fridge, and washing the mud off in the sink not only leads to all the gunge going down the pipes, but mush be far less water-efficient than if you did them, en-mass, before putting them into the boxes.

  23. Thanks for the comments so far and please keep them comming; looks almost unanimous for getting the worst (clods) off but some division over how far to go with the cleanliness. Leaning towards carrying on as we have the last few weeks.

  24. Since getting dirty carrots I no longer find a need to keep them in the fridge. I have a cool area in the kitchen where I keep all my root veg. Not only that with a family of 5 who love their fruit and veg I wouldn’t have room if I kept everything in the fridge. I’m quite happy to have dirty carrots and the children love scrubbing them. I cook every evening for the family and don’t find it a hassle even on the days when I’m working for long hours.

  25. I was disappointed the first time I saw the washed carrots in your boxes. They did not arrive as fresh as the unwashed ones and the taste was not that great either. I am definitely a BIG fun of your unwashed, real carrots!!!

  26. personaltrainingbath

    Whilst I know it is better to leave the mud on I would prefer them scrubbed. Time is an issue for many of us and the mud can be a reason/excuse to choose something less healthy sometimes! Keep up the good work – I love the boxes and recommend them to my clients. Zita Alves

  27. Like a lot of others, although I prefer the dirt on the carrots, parsnips, etc. I would prefer the lumps off as they do make the fridge messy. Having said that, I don’t want the flavour to be compromised by they’re being too clinically cleaned. Love the Riverford vegetables, and not knowing what’s coming, but would prefer not to get lettuces at this time of year as we’re not salad eaters in early spring

  28. We as a family have always loved all the veg in the boxes and find our delivery day quite exciting but the mud removal did take its toll at times. There is a difference between ‘muddy’ and ‘dirty’ veg – we don’t mind dirt but caked in mud wasn’t much fun. Thanks soooo much for all your wonderful veggies yummmy.

  29. I much prefer unwashed carrots; honestly, how long does it take to wash a few carrots?!

  30. Yes i would really like to have cleaner carrots – it would sometimes put me off cooking the carrots when i had to wash off caked-on mud to get to the carrot!!

    thanks for taking the time to listen to the punters!!

  31. Where on EARTH do some think carrots actually come??

  32. I have no room in the fridge to store root veg! Please leave the mud on if it means they can be kept out of the fridge. You can buy gloves for £4 that helps get rid of mud (google potato gloves or similar – I am not a secret seller!).

  33. Too much mud is a total bore. Thanks for removing some of it.

  34. I think a compromise would suit me – i.e. a quick rinse to get the worst of the mud off, but NOT a thorough scrub. I do not find the mud appealing when it gets all over the floor and fridge, but I do love the taste and quality of your root veg.

    Keep up the good work, I love the challenge inherent in the box way of life – so much more fun than having to choose beforehand.

  35. The good thing about no mud, is it shows up the bad bits. This is a helpful when it comes to baking potatoes for instance. I have been put off buying the Riverford bakers, because I can’t rely on not having to cut bits off and loosing that lovey skin. I’m sorry, but I always buy washed bakers now, I can see what I’m getting.

    I would think that it is cheaper to transport mud free veg, and Riverford gets to keep its soil – more eco.

    Also, I’m lazy, no mud = less work for me, and more doing more interesting things….

  36. Rinse rinse rinse pls

  37. If you think the mud is excessive, by all means knock some of it off (ie with the carrots) – however in general please don’t wash everything! The further you can stay away from the practises of the supermarkets the better – we really appreciate the food comes from the ground, and the 30sec it takes to wash the veg just prior to using is NOT a problem!

  38. I appreciate the slightly cleaner veg – thanks very much – as I hate the mud/grit getting everywhere in my fridge and kitchen.

  39. I love to have my roots with mud on as nature intended, after all they do come from the soil. You can get washed veg in the supermarket and that’s where it should stay. I have found that wrapping my roots in a piece of newspaper stops any mess in the fridge and you can recycle it afterwards or put in your composter.

    It takes 5 minutes to rinse them in a bowl of warm water and if you don’t want it clogging up your sink water your plants with it.

    Keep up with good work with supplying us with fab fruit and veg that look as though we’d just dug it from our own gardens.

  40. I like to see my root veg as they have been picked from the ground and put straight into the box. I don’t keep my root veg in the fridge at all and it keeps fresh for longer if it hasn’t been prewashed. Any contact with moisture and carrots skin certainly seems affected, as soon as this starts I cook up a batch of spicy carrot soup so there is no waste but I would like to see the mud stay, I think it reminds us of why we shouldn’t buy our veg from a supermarket and can continue to enjoy the great produce that you supply us with!

  41. Like many others I like mud on for the difference with washed supermarket veg. I keep the small card boxes and paper bags that some of the veg come in and then re-use them to put any muddy veg into before putting them in the fridge. Keep up the great work

  42. just love the mud- a little extra time to wash before cooking is no problem- they are organic after all, its as it should be.

  43. Please wash them, the mud is one of the things that niggles me about the veg boxes. The bottom of my fridge gets dirty with soil and when you bring the box in you have to sweep up the floor afterwards. Not normally a problem, but when you are 7 months pregnant and have a 3 year old, it would be one less thing to do!!

  44. Hill... Iffley Rd.

    Hello all,
    For me convenience is not the major issue. I think the considerations should be – water consumption (is it more water efficient to mass wash them at source or for individuals to wash them at home?) and quality (is there any evidence anecdotal or otherwise that would uphold the belief that carrots taste better with the mud left on?) I also think people should ‘brush’ the mud off outside or into the compost – washing mud down the sink, to clog up your u-bend etc. is really not a good idea! Riverford you rock! Love the fact these debates are even taking place – keep up the great work…x

  45. Please leave the mud on – so I can smell the lovely Devon countryside each week – having been born and brought up in Buckfastleigh – it reminds me of home – and I’m sure it’s better to be left on – – – – – and some years ago when alfalfa appeared in the box – an Argentian friend who also had a box said that the alfalfa smell reminded her of her childhood in Argentina (and they fed it to the racehorses!!!) PLEASE KEEP THE MUD

  46. I have loved having less muddy carrots recently, as a family of four with two children aged 8 and 10 who are whizzing about after school and rushing off to swimming lessons, tennis, gymnastics etc it is great to have a
    healthy snack ready in the fridge to just chop up and hand out whenever necessary they are also great for lunch boxes when I am looking for alternative snack. Previously I have cleaned the carrots and prepared them ready for eating but they havnt lasted as well and now that I have gone back to work there is less time. So I say “thanks” for the clean carrots.

  47. Dear Riverford Farm,

    I am 19 and currently live with my parents; my father and I are the main consumers of the fortnightly small veg box and are huge fans! I am extremely pleased that with this weeks box came a chance to voice my opinion on “the mud debate”.

    Without exaggerating, when I noticed that the carrots were not muddy in our last box I was outraged. Although the carrots are the item that my father and I find the hardest to use we would never dream of buying then in a supermarket since we became you customers over a year ago. After seeing how they come naturally (I prefer them with the stalks attached) I became sceptical as to how the large supermarkets clean their carrots, and other fresh produce.

    The vegetables within the veg box are hardly difficult to clean or time consuming to prepare. I now look upon supermarket cleaned vegetables as another conformist and regulated item that the supermarkets enforce. I don’t wish to make it sound like a large conspiracy theory and I know it sounds odd to be so passionate about such a trivial issue but I think that the mud on the veg is something one would expect from and organic veg box and is part of it.

    I hope that other people email in with the same point of view as me as it would be shame to change just because it is convenient for a few.

    P.S Have you ever tried growing Pak Choi? We seem to eat mountains in this house. Also don’t take my previous comments that we find the carrots hard to use up the wrong way! Once a month we make a delicious spicy carrot soup. We never throw anything away if it’s still edible from the box!

  48. The less mud the better from my point of view -I’d much rather you washed the carrots than I did! I have not ordered any root veg this winter because I couldn’t face all the mud – so that meant no boxes, which seems a pity, I would have ordered at least some boxes otherwise.

  49. Yes, I’d love it if you gave them a rinse before they came. I am in the same position as Kathryn Joyce and it is much easier and better for the kids to be able to have them straight from the fridge. I also have found that if I wash them and put them into the fridge they don’t last as well and the kids don’t like them as much!!

  50. Just a quick note re the mud. I have had your boxes for a couple of years now and living in the countryside, a bit of mud doesn’t usually bother me. However, I was pregnant with twins last year and given that certain bacteria and organisms in soil can be harmful to your babies, I have to say I nearly gave up the boxes in favour of washed supermarket veggies during this time. I didn’t in the end as I preferred to have fresh, nutritious veg. But having to empty the boxes and peel veg with rubber gloves on was a bit of a challenge!!

    Now, the mud challenge continues as if my toddling twins get to the boxes or the mud that drops through the holes before me, I can end up with mud quickly spread around the house. The muddy salsify recently sent me into a tailspin trying to get that into a bag, without the mud going everywhere. It also stayed in my fridge for a couple of weeks until my husband dug it out and dealt with it. It was so muddy I was completely fazed by how much time it was going to take to prepare. Time is everything with twins!!

    So, yes, please keep on giving your veg a quick wash just to get the chunks off.

  51. Hi, Riverford.
    Scrubbing muddy vegs is just one more chore and I do appreciate it when the carrots have been pre-washed. Because I don’t want my fridge full of mud I always wash and dry them before I store them so I am pleased when I don’t have to do this. Flavour seems okay and they keep for as long as I need them to.
    Also, the very muddy water after washing – if I pour it down the sink I’m afraid of an increasing heap of sediment accumulating in the u-bend so I pour it on the garden but I’d rather not be doing that on dark wet evenings!
    So yes, please – a quick wash before delivery would be appreciated.

    Re stockpiling – one can make some very interesting soups with what’s left at the end of a veg box week!

  52. My three year old daughter enjoys washing the carrots before week cook them, this encourages a lot of language, personal, social and emotional development, knowledge and understanding of the world and physical development.

    We store them (muddy) in the bottom of the fridge in a container which we then wash after use, ready for the next delivery.

  53. I prefer the carrots unwashed. But if it helps you in anyway, then go ahead and wash them. As you say,two weeks in the fridge should not hurt them.

  54. Claire Robinson

    Please don’t wash the carrots or other root veg–it robs them of all their taste and freshness. If you are going to continue washing the carrots I might as well go to the supermarket and buy their horrible stored and washed carrots–they taste of nothing. If you decided to wash regularly I would actually change my orgie veg supplier to a local scheme that has a policy of not washing veg. I’ve been a Riverford customer for 9 years so I’d miss you all but taste, freshness and nutrition are vital.

  55. yes please – wash the veggies just a bit – it keeps my fridge and sink much cleaner and does not seem to affect the freshness, thanks very much for asking!

  56. HI – I have much preferred the cleaner carrots over the last few weeks. It makes a hectic family life just a little easier and stops my fridge getting so dirty. I don’t think the flavour has been affected in any way at all. If you eat them quickly like we all do!

  57. Please leave the mud on – what a difference it makes to the taste of the carrots! can’t believe some think it makes no difference… and a lot of nutrients are in the skin or just under it, so it can’t be good to damage it by washing.

  58. Although I know there are good arguments for mud, I hate it – and even give myself a week off Riverford sometimes just to avoid it! I have always felt guilty about this in the past – so it is great to know I am not the only one!

  59. Prefer washed, as if they’re really muddy, and the mud doesn’t come off easily, then I feel I have to peel them, which defeats a lot of the point of organic.

  60. I must admit that I found it hard at first to adjust to ‘mucky’ veg when we started getting our riverswale boxes.

    However, I have noticed that the carrots and parsnips keep for much longer in the fridge when they have not been washed, thus saving on waste. I have a drawer that I use for muddy roots, and also a couple of removable trays inthe fridge for beets etc. These get washed each time, and help to keep the fridge relatively soil free.

    I would tend to agree with the ‘no lumps or clumps’ folks, whilst not minding a bit of dirt.

    Must say that I keep a large bowl purely for washing the really muddy stuff, then use that water on the garden. Definitely wouldn’t want all that down the sink!!!!

  61. I don’t understand how people can get “mud all over their fridges”! Put any muddy veg in a bag, (if it doesn’t arrive in one) then put it in the fridge. Keep one fridge shelf or one half of a shelf for this purpose. Or keep the salad box for such veg. Problem solved! Use a nail brush to remove mud in the sink. Or if you peel the veg the mud goes away along with the peel, & then into the compost – no waste down the sink. I agree with Elli VV – the whole point of “organic” is that it’s as nature intended – mud included!

  62. I’m probably not typically representative since where I grew up I think mud counted as a ‘toy’…? We certainly seemed to play in/with it a lot. So muddy carrots aren’t really an issue for me, even considering I cook from scratch nearly 100% of the time. Mud kind of goes with the box ethos… much preferrable to mouldy carrots.

  63. Please take the mud off, totaly off everything, especially off the potatoes. I cook from scratch everyday for a family of 5, this would save alot of time- don’t worry we all know where root veges come from!

  64. I would prefer that you leave the mud on the carrots (and parsnips). I don’t think the washed carrots tasted as good as the unwashed ones. I can put up with a muddy fridge if it means that I’m going to get tasty carrots! Maybe taking the big clumps off would be helpful but I think the carrots in recent boxes have been washed too much.

  65. Partial wash would be appreciated, thank you. As the weather warms up I have to keep the veg in the fridge and with all the mud on it’s too messy.

  66. I will be very disappointed if you continue washing the carrots. I have had to peel the dry skin off them whereas usually I can just wash them, reveal the lovely fresh skin and cook them. The taste with skin is wonderful – the flavour of washed not half so nice. Also I can’t believe that a bit of mud is going to affect the life of the veg boxes. Getting people to return them is much more significant surely. Also, if you end up keeping the carrots a bit longer that intended they still taste fresh. But perhaps as the supplier that does not suit you.

  67. Hi there

    As a busy mum to two children, one who is profoundly disabled, time is of the essence and I would rather the mud was off beforehand!!


  68. I like the mud – and would rather the cost of you washing it off did not seep its way into the box price! Muddy veg does keep better and I am certain that the minerals absorbed from the glorious Hampshire mud (my box comes from Upper Norton) might be doing me some good.

  69. PS – I don’t mind the odd slug or two – the very first box I had from Riverford about 3 years ago had a glorious stick/branch of broccoli with whole family of slugs in it – just proved it was the real thing.

  70. I vote keep the mud…I don’t mind it at all and I love the reaction when I sometimes donate excess veg to my dad…the look of horror on his face makes my day (I wonder if they didn’t make them dirty in his day…!).

  71. I have four children and a husband and we have been enjoying your lovely veg boxes for over a year. They have definately increased our veg intake generally, and I love reading your news letter every week. As regards to the mud debate, as I do not have an old fashioned scullery, I would like less mud as its a lot of work to clean out the sink etc afterwards.

  72. We are delighted to be amongst the majority who think that the boxes are excellent. We would be happy if the veg could have quick wash as mentioned in this weeks letter

  73. Dear Muddy Carrots. Interesting one……I kind of think we should wash our own carrots so that we remember where food comes from, and you can get on with growing all the lovely things that come in our box….but if it cuts down on packaging then it could be worth doing?? I was reading with interest that people get stuck with leftovers ( I think that happens to everyone if you have a manic week) – your tips are great but wonder if you would like to tell customers about – it has loads of tips for leftover foods and ways to store to get the most out of stuff. I am a community food worker and people coming to class find the ideas from the site helpful.

    Ps – another fab box this week so thank you!!

  74. Yes please to washed carrots!! After a busy day with baby often the prospect of having to wash my carrots before chopping and cooking is what makes me reach for the frozen peas, they have consequently been my most frequently ditched item. That taken into account, for me personaly having them washed would make them less likely to go off as I’d eat them sooner!!

    hope that helps and keep up the good work, I think the boxes are outstanding!!

  75. Much better without the mud thanks

  76. I often wonder if less water would be wasted if the carrots arrived cleaner? If you clean them a bit rather than each individual customer cleaning a few at a time surely it would mean less water used overall, am I right?
    I don’t mind muddy carrots as I understand the reasons behind them but when they arrive clean it does make me happier and makes my life easier!
    Also on another note written about in your newsletter. I absolutely hate waste so if I feel I have too much of something I do as you say, find a recipe to use up my excess, soups or stirfries are a great way to use up veg. if I can’t do that I peel/chop my produce and freeze it, especially things like parsnips, swede, turnips etc as they all freeze well. I chose my box each week and sometimes just pick one or two off the extras list if I don’t want a whole box. If I really have too much and I invite people round to share it with me!!
    You’re all doing a great job, your boxes are fantastic.

  77. Colin and Elaine

    I don’t mind mud up to a point and I also agree that “dirty” veg keep better, even though I put a lot of mine in the fridge anyway.

    With a very wet season I expect a certain amount of mud even if it is a nuisance and means that it takes longer to prepare veg.

    Only once or twice have I ever felt that the mud was just too much and that has been after extreme weather. If I get too much mud I remove it by hand before bagging and putting in the fridge. It is a shame when mud gets on things like cauliflowers and spoils them a bit but I think, on balance, I would rather deal with the reality of the fact that veg grow in dirt!!

    To bag or not to bag is another question of course. On balance I would rather have a recycled bag to protect non mud friendly veg as I put my unbagged veg in bags anyway to keep them fresh.

    (And on your other point about using up the box contents – this way they keep long enough for me use everything. I do check the contents and juggle around with cancellations or change of box size to avoid things I don’t/can’t use. I very rarely actually throw away anything. Might occasionally, only very occasionally, give away something that I just know I can’t use. I used to pass things on to my daughter but she has a fortnightly box of her own now!! So you will be glad to know that the next generation of Riverford customers is coming through.)

    Perhaps because in the past we were serious vegetable growers, feeding goats with giant flak carrots, huge dutch cabbages and kale like trees, as well as ourselves with more usual sized veg, that my mud tolerance is reasonably high.

    Keep up the dirt and don’t you dare go the way of the sterile supermarket – as if!!!!!

  78. If having mud washed off carrots help reduce packaging then I’m all for it – it is sometimes a pain when the mud gets onto cauliflower curds as it’s difficult to get rid of (and you have wonderful tilthy mud which spreads and dries…..) and it doesn’t half muck up the
    sink. Our carrots don’t usually last long enough to worry about
    keeping properties – and they always taste delicious.
    PS thank you for the gift of vanilla – it is yummy and my house smells edible!

  79. I’m very impressed by your marketing efforts to find out what customers really want – especially cooking in someone else’s kitchen.

    Yes, please, please wash as many root vegetables as possible. We always eat our carrots quickly, so no flavour problems, and all that mud is a real pain, messing up worktops and the floor, and gritting up the sink. Also, it really slows down vegetable preparation. I calculate that it adds 10 minutes minimum to my prep time. Horror of horror, I’d have you wash potatoes and parsnips too, as it would make food preparation so much easier.
    However, over all I’m a VERY satisfied customer.

    Keep up the good work – excellent quality, value and service.

    PS: Ever thought of sorting out banking?

  80. Please keep your carrots muddy.
    Once washed they do not keep the same, going ‘rubbery’ even in the fridge.
    At present I can keep them for ages if necessary. If they were always washed I would move to a ‘pick my own contents’ rather than a regular box in order to avoid them. I enjoy the convenience of having a regular box which I occasionally change for an alternative box so please, please keep them muddy.

  81. Mud or no mud. Being at one with mud nothing better than mountain biking, hiking , gardening or just with nature. If I want carrots all washed and looking pretty then I would go to the supermarket. I want carrots as nature intended if with mud then all the better. Its the whole fresh organic experience, and long may it continue.

  82. Derek & Glenyce

    Having been in Swaledale where our son receives deliveries, and where we viewed the muddiness of his vegetables, we can assure you that the state of your veggies is not a problem.
    Lawsons in Totnes sell a little potato-shaped brush which is ideal for cleaning veg. Anyone (ourselves included) accustomed to harvesting home-grown produce, is more than aware of what it takes to bring good vegetables to the table. We think you should resist further washing of yours, and allow your customers to come round to the ‘complete organic experience’.

    On another matter, we could assit with the replanting of Jerusalem artichokes during the weekend of April 25th. Maybe you have set a date already?

  83. Have to say I have loved the clean carrots and they have kept as well as the muddy ones.

    I think a quick wash would be a great idea, perhaps a mass quick wash by you would use less water than all your customers washing their vegetables individually and agree that the boxes might be cleaner and therefore recycle more often.

  84. Dear Guy

    Thanx for yet another excellent article.

    I think it will serve both city folk, like myself, and the farm land to have most veg washed.

    I believe this will reduce the loss of soil from your very valuable farm land.

    Kind regards

    Juls Jonker

  85. I think a quick wash for the carrots is a good idea, especially if it helped reduce packaging. The washed carrots still tasted good and I always eat my box scheme carrots up soon so there isn’t an issue of them being kept for ages.

    All the best

  86. Muddy carrots are part of the charm of the whole box experience. However, I must admit to a small sigh of relief when I see they have been washed. I don’t mind bagging them and sticking them in the fridge or the washing of them when I have a few to do. It is the ones and twos I do frequently, as my kids love your carrots raw, that are annoying when caked in mud. So I guess my vote is for washing them – I don’t think the flavour is compromised and they are not in my fridge for long enough to become a problem !

    While I am here I just read 32% of box users can’t use up all their boxes. I am not surprised by that figure as I know when I used to do my one big weekly shop at the supermarket I would always optimistically buy loads of veg and would end up wasting a lot more than I do now I use a box. I will admit to throwing the odd thing out but on the whole I am doing better than I used to. Soups are brilliant at using up left over veg and luckily my parents love beetroot !

    Keep up the good work !

  87. I really like the muddy carrots and I do think they keep much longer this way – I sometimes do keep mine for 3 or 4 weeks though and even after such a long time there still nice and crispy

  88. I like the mud, it helps me to be remember, that real food comes from the land, not from a factory. I’m also a student, and only get a box fortnightly, and don’t have much fridge space in our shared house, so I keep vegs in the box for quite a while, so making their shelf life longer is good for me.

  89. I find that a small veg box lasts me a week or so – so I’d be up for more washing if there’s still a 2-week freshness factor!

    I have to say I wash a lot of the veg on the evening when I pick up the box, firstly so my fridge doesn’t get muddy and need a lot of fiddly cleaning, secondly so when I come in at 8-ish in the evening I’m more motivated to cook with the veg rather than throwing up my hands and going “OH NO I have to clean it as well, what a hassle!”.

    I’ve really liked the recent spate of cleaned carrots, and would love it to continue with all the root veg.

  90. Please wash them. I too often find myself wondering whether it is less economical for me to run a bowl of water to wash my vegetables than you washing them all. Especially when I consider the extra water I have to run to clean the sink of mud. I also have a baby and a toddler and sometimes its just time I don’t have.

  91. Indubitably the taste of just-washed muddy carrots is incomparable. And although I am much-too-busy and far-too-lazy, that alone is absolutely worth the bother of scrubbing them.

    Mud all over the place IS a problem. But that’s simply solved by your delivering them in paper bags (and us making sure that wherever we store them is bone dry).

    There are a few tips that make the whole difference between Problematic muddy carrots and Marvellous muddy carrots which are:

    1. Washing them in a bowl and throwing the water into the garden (reuses good mud and doesn’t clog the sink).
    2. Using warm (not cold) water to wash them (fingers stay warm).
    3. Letting them soak a few minutes before scrubbing (eases the mud).
    4. Using a Tawashi vegetable brush (£3.99 on the Internet) makes scrubbing easy. (The brush itself is beautiful.)
    5. An eccentric tip, which appeals to my silly nature (and fools me each time into believing all this is just play), is first scrubbing them very roughly, randomly, in a nonchalant fashion; and only then, when most of the mud is off, do I take the trouble to scrub them seriously–by now they’re a doddle to do–and it’s all about the delight of seeing the bright pink of carrots or the bright white of parsnips appear. Succulent!

    Long live glorious, flavour-preserving mud!

  92. personally I find it so much more convenient if the veg are given a quick wash.I’m sure the nutritional difference is negligible but if can be a real pain to stand scrubbing mud ( and washing it away) before cooking.I have mentioned this to my distributor Simon in the hope that it would become permanent!

    the new roots and greens box has been tremendous, great value and no odd s=ds I don’t know what to do with!

    More meat offers if poss might tempt me to splash out

  93. I definitely prefer my root vegetables washed sufficiently to stop them shedding mud all over the kitchen and cupboards! I am quite happy to have potatoes with mud as they stay in the paper bag until they are peeled but prefer everything else to have had an initial wash. I always use the veg within a fortnight of receiving them – in fact usually within a week and always within 10 days.

  94. Yes – clean would be better, easier and if it makes minimal difference, then it would be better. It has made be reach for Waitrose carrots before now, but then you tempt me back with clean ones from time to time…. clean all the time would be good.

  95. Thanks for your newsletter with my lovely fruit and veg today. I like muddy carrots as they:
    Bring a bit of the countryside to London!
    I don’t have room in my fridge for root veg so if the mud keeps them better then that’s great
    It also reminds me that my veg is not from Sainsbury’s!

  96. We would be happy to see less mud, please.

  97. Firstly, thanks for a great service; we’ve been using you for a while now and are very happy. I’ve even tried parsnips. Still don’t like them!

    But, as you have asked about mud…

    Here in central London, and several floors up, we don’t have the luxury of a kitchen door to bring the box through, or a garden to sweep the dirt into. We originally switched from one of your competitors because it is quite inconvenient to bring in the box, wash the veggies, then vacuum the flat. Your paper bags work well, but if you do want to save on the packaging can you please wash at least most of the dirt off?

  98. YES PLEASe, washed carrots and parsnips what a saving that would be to us busy chefs.
    The one thing with the boxes which has so nearly stopped me from continuing is trying to clean the veg and then the sink of mud!
    Keep up the customer kitchen visits, it obviously shows you the few pitfalls in the system.

  99. Please can we have the mud back on our carrots! The carrots keep much longer and taste better I really haven’t enjoyed the mud-free carrots we’ve had recently. Also I’m very concerned that if you wash the carrots where will it end? Will the parsnips and potatoes also be washed? Give me my mud back!!

  100. A difficult question. I have not found it too onerous to wash the roots before peeling in the past. Mostly – they can be peeled with the mud on.
    But parsnips do stain if they are not washed first. But hey – its really not that hard.

    I’d personally say that the issue is probably a decision for yourselves
    – is there an economic benefit in washing due to lower packaging costs?
    Do you attract/keep more customers with cleaner veg? I personally can cope with the mud – but I do also aim to use the veg within a 1-2 wk period – so its likely that the flavour loss for me would be negligible either way.

    On another point – we very rarely struggle to use the veg in the box. I do most of the cooking and I tend to have either a stock of favourite recipes that use the seasonal ingredients – or I search your website and others by ingredients to find one that suits. A perfect example this week was a need to use Celeriac, Parsnip and Swede. This one came up
    – The Chicken, spelt (or pearl barley) and kale soup.

    I made it without the chicken, using pearl barley and free range organic chicken stock cubes. I’ve actually made it twice this week. The pearl barley is a lovely surprise – a true taste of days gone by.

    No – I don’t struggle to use the veg in your boxes – its actually half the fun.

  101. I am pretty mud tolerant I think and definitely understand that it improves flavour and keeping qualities however on balance I think I would prefer if my veg did have a quick wash before they got to me, less mud on the kitchen table after unpacking the box, less need to peel therefore more goodness left and less time to prepare. I certainly support less packaging and using the boxes for longer. they are fab boxes great design and I love the way I can fold them up and they take up hardly any room!

  102. Catherine & Michael

    We would 100% favour receiving all the veg clean. The fact that some veg arrives muddy – and very often these muddy items ‘contaminate’ the clean items – is the only thing that we dislike about the box. In fact, it is really annoying and this mud would be the only reason we would be likely to stop having a box – we have talked about this a few times before! I would imagine that many people like us don’t really have storage facilities for muddy veg. either.

    Thanks for asking the question,
    Here’s hoping everyone feels the same!

  103. I like not having veg caked in too much mud – easier to handle.

  104. I would be happy with washed carrots and no packaging. Mud is not so good in refigerator compartments whicht do need cleaning out more often.

    It is a little about convenience and saving packaging for me. Keep mud at the farm not in the fridge!

    Great that you ask your customers for their thoughts, and good luck with retailer of the year – we voted for you.

    Keep the fruit and veg coming – its great!

  105. We have always backed and understood the principle behind getting muddy veg in a box. However when cooking on week nights it has had an impact on what we choose to cook because of the labour involved.

    Having received the washed carrots over the last few weeks (and the fact that it is rare for veg to last more than 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge otherwise we would be having a massive build up!) it has made a big difference to receive them washed. My kids have definitely eaten more carrots as I can easily prepare them for their suppers which I generally need to put together in an instant.

    My view is that washed veg is a good thing with the occasional reminder that it does need to be used more quickly than unwashed veg.

    Hope this helps.

  106. I’m happy with muddy root vegetables, which I keep in the pantry. I haven’t got much room in the fridge for vegetables. I scrape off the mud with the back of a knife into my compost bucket to be added eventually to our garden.
    If the muddy veg are in bags, they don’t dirty the box.

  107. I have to say that I do find this a bit of a problem. I keep most of the veg (not the onions or potatos) in my fridge and find that the soil makes a terrible mess in the fridge. We quite recently had a new kitchen and I was loathe to put the veg in my lovely new clean fridge! I try to keep as much soil as possible out of the fridge but its very hard. I have taken to lining the fridge shelves with kitchen paper to try to catch the soil but it gets in the drip tray and clogs up the system. The parsnips seem particularly bad and I find that when they are so muddy even if you wash them before you peel them its still hard to peel them without getting soil on the newly peeled parsnip. We tend to put any soil we get on our garden as your soil is much better than ours!!

    So if you decided to wash the veg I would be delighted. We enjoy the boxes and the challenge they give us to use up all the contents and we usually end up making soup of some kind or other with anything left at the end of the week.

    Congratulations on a great product and we hope you win the award this year – we have voted for you.

  108. kate and andrew hale

    With some feeling of guilt I have been hugely relieved to have washed carrots in my box over the past few weeks. Why the guilt? well I suppose I have felt to have the organic way of life one should have muddy veg in your fridge and not the pristine ones found in the supermarket. However just beneath the surface lurked a frustration as yet again I scrubbed and washed the veg with envious thoughts of all those clean packaged stuff I pass during my weekly shop. So thank you from me for taking a little bit of the work out of my long day and I now put those precious moments previously spent scrubbing with perhaps making a pudding. He’s delighted too!

  109. We must be in the 5% of people who never have any probs in eating up all their greens and everything else for that matter, in whichever box we choose. We always chop and change our boxes weekly for variety. As non meat eaters, fruit and veg rarely lasts long in our fridge so washing excessive mud from carrots etc is a great idea for us. It’s a pleasure to bypass the fruit and veg section in our local Sainsburys.

    Best wishes to you all.

  110. In response to your newsletter, yes please to washed carrots. I’ve noticed the difference these past few weeks and it’s made cooking that one per cent easier as a result. I don’t mind a bit of earth now and then, but there are times the mud gets everywhere and it’s just one more chore on top of an already busy day to clean them up. They still taste great. Keep up the great work.

  111. Yes please – washed roots would be great. As soon as my box arrives I give my roots a quick wash & dry before putting them in the fridge or in the dark so I’d really appreciate it. It’s been good to be able to just put the carrots away recently. So – I’m all for washed roots!

  112. PLEASE don’t send out muddy carrots. It makes life a lot easier if they are not muddy. Easier to keep, too. Kids make life muddy enough.

  113. Yes please to washed vegetables!

    I don’t object to mud in theory, but in practice it means preparing dinner for hungry children takes that much longer as veg all have to be washed first, and I have to keep cleaning out my fridge vegetable drawers too as they get muddy at the bottom. Have taken to lining the fridge drawers with kitchen towel to make cleaning easier. So if the veg could have a quick shower first would be very grateful …. Your veg tastes so good anyway I doubt it would make a big difference!

  114. Yes I agree, I think it would be better to give them a quick wash to get the worst of the mud off. This will help the problems of mud blocking my kitchen sink and the vast amounts of mud I have to clean out of my fridge on a regular basis.
    Keep up the good work,

  115. Thanks for your good service ,helpful tips and good communication!
    I am a very regular customer only miss odd week when have lots still.

    Thanks for your concern re mud, I don’t mind the mud. throw bowl of it out
    on garden.

    I enjoy that extra taste and freshness
    However will understand if you go route ‘boxes last more trips’

    I think your approach was good not dogmatic organic may mean
    a bit of mud!

  116. If you could wash the vedgetables then I would go back to ordering potatoes from you again.

    The only reason I stopped my order of this vegetable was because either I had to peel all the damn things (ages with my arthritic fingers) or soak and scrub them for the same amount of time outside in the cold otherwise the mud spattered everywhere in the kitchen and that, in turn, takes time to clean up.

    One other aspect to bear in mind is that when I used to dig potatoes from my parent’s garden for Sunday lunch, the fresh mud washed off easily if done immediately. By the time the vegetables reach us from you, the mud has dried on hard making it very difficult to wash off.

    A resounding YES PLEASE for washed vegetables from this family!

  117. I’m for washing the carrots. I’ve been very pleased with how well the washed carrots have kept (much better than supermarket washed carrots) and it does save a lot of messy work on my part.

  118. I’m not greatly concerned either way but if it will help reducing packaging and keeping boxes going longer then I vote for your sluicing the mud off.

  119. I would prefer that you do give the carrots etc some wash – I now give some wash to any veg going in the fridge, as else the veg trays get very dirty

    I appreciate the weekly recipes – but have not seen much for parsnips and have accumulated some of them – so a few more parsnip recipes would be welcome …

  120. We would be grateful if you decided to wash the mud off root veggies

  121. I’m on the side of less muddy carrots for the following reasons

    1. They take longer to prepare as you have to soak them before you can scrub them

    2. They make my fingers and nails dirty

    3. I hate to pour perfectly good soil down my plug-hole when it could be going back onto your fields

    4. The soil goes everywhere, and my dish cloths are always filthy

    It has been so much easier recently to use the carrots – just peel and put in the pan, put the peelings in the recycling bin, a quick wipe around and I’m done!!

    If you go back to muddy carrots, I will still buy them, but it is so much easier when they’re cleaned.

    Thanks for asking our opinion

  122. Thank you for all the amazing work you and your team do to bring us fantastic seasonal veg.
    I have been happy to receive mud-free carrots of late. But, I do not mind receiving them covered in mud either. Happy either way. 🙂

    Now, to find a use for that left over turnip!

  123. Please, please do carry on washing the carrots. They make such an awful mess of my fridge, not to mention the sink, draining board, and even kitchen floor if my husband cooks them!

  124. I do have to say living in small flat with a small kitchen the last thing i really want to do is have mud from the veggies. I dont mind a little but sometimes it can all be a bit too much so im all for a quick wash before they arrive to us!

  125. I agree that unwashed roots retain their skins better and to me are also tastier and in theory are more nutritious as the outer membrane is still intact. It only takes a couple of seconds to wash so is no problem.

    I say bring back the mud!!

  126. The most important thing here is the taste. As I have told my local supplier in the past, I have not tasted proper carrots like yours since I was a kid in the 50s and 60s. Since becoming a Riverford fan I have started drinking the carrot water again (and apart from being healthy it’s really tasty). So, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I could get washed carrots in a plastic bag from M&S any day. Stay fresh, stay different and stay tasty.

    By the way, ‘Moron Mwdlyd’ is Muddy Carrots in Welsh!

  127. We love your unwashed roots!! Please don’t stop doing them.

  128. What excellent veg we’ve been having from you all through the winter. Thank you. On the subject of muddy carrots, my palate is nowhere near capable of distinguishing any difference between quality in muddy/less muddy/not muddy so, if it’s ok to do a quick wash and it makes the boxes more reusable then please go ahead with the quick wash. It makes my fridge less muddy too.

  129. Whilst it is always a pleasant surprise to find the odd vegetable in our mud box, our kitchen sink and plumber are of the opinion that cleaner vegetables would be A Good Thing. Perhaps not the plumber because he makes good money from cleaning out that bendy bit under the sink. For us city dwellers living in apartments without the luxury of sculleries and larders and boot rooms, life would be a lot easier if we didn’t have to dissolve half of Devon down our sinks once a week.

    I can’t help but think in the time that we’ve been receiving a box, you must have transported at least 20kg of mud up the M4 (I’ve seen the lorries) to our humble flat in north west London. Just think of the fuel savings Guy if clean washed vegetables were in those lorries, rather than Devon’s finest grunge.

    As burnt out city dwellers, time is precious. Some weeks I feel like billing you for the precious time spent scraping and washing and making my soft office worker hands red-raw. Mostly, I just curse.

    As viewers would write into Point of View (remember that?) “Dear BBC, please please please……. could we have our carrots and other root vegetables washed. Otherwise I shan’t be paying the licence fee ever again.”

    And another thing- why are there SO MANY cabbages and cauliflowers? Please can we deselect them…..unless that option’s available, I can’t see the 5% figure of those who find it easy to use up the box contents creeping up any faster than Gordon Brown’s approval ratings.

  130. We like mud. Especially on the juicing carrots. When there is no mud they go off too quickly in our hot cramped kitchen. We keep them in a special window on a North facing wall. Washing off the mud makes us feel virtuous.

  131. Just a quick message to register my preference for keeping the carrots and other veg unwashed as much as possible. I do notice how the flavour seems much richer when unwashed.
    I find that any mud in the box shakes out very easily and leaves the cardboard clean and dry for the next time. We don’t have much fridge space to store veg.
    Thanks for your hard work.

  132. Thanks for my veg and fruit boxes delivered today.

    I was interested in your comments on whether to leave the mud on or not. I can see your point that a bit of mud helps preserve the food in good condition. But occasionally it has felt like there was as much weight of mud as carrots or parsnips! So a bit of a rinse before you pack them would be welcome as far as I’m concerned.

    You commented that your survey showed a high % struggling to use up the last items. Personally I can’t see the point of always having the same type of box delivered every week; I like to ring the changes and choose each time based on what else is going on in life – nights out, friends over to dinner etc. I love days like today when all the fresh stuff arrives and there’s plenty of choice in my fridge. But I also like the challenge of being creative with the odd bits left at a later stage, and if any other inspiration fails practically anything can go into an original and interesting soup!

    And I reckon I spend less on groceries now as I don’t go to the supermarket nearly so often since I started buying from Riverford.

    So I’ll keep ordering from you – but it will tail off quick a bit later in the summer when my home grown produce is ready to eat.

  133. I really appreciate it when the carrots arrive clean as I have young children, so time in the kitchen is at a premium – it doesn’t sound like much but an extra five or ten minutes scrubbing dirty carrots can make a big difference!

    Thanks for giving us the opportunity to feed back our thoughts. We love our veggie box!

  134. I find the mud difficult to cope with and wash them before they go in the fridge. Great if you could save me this chore. Yes please!

  135. i would much prefer to have clean carrots, we find the mud hard to deal with, it gets everywhere in the fridge drawer and around the sink and counter as we try to prepare the carrots, we don’t like it at all.

  136. I live in an small open plan house with an upstairs kitchen. Eventually the mud in the fridge, on my clean drained washing up, crumbs up the stair carpet etc.. and the half hour spent washing the veg became a bit of a grind, and one of the reasons I started shopping at the coop again. I intend to use your veg box service again, but would love it if the mud was washed off first!

  137. I hope you do decide to start washing the veg, and dont get swayed by all the comments from the ‘hair-shirt’ greenies who need to wash their veg in order to feel better than everyone else. Im too busy living in the real world where making green lifestyle choices isn’t an exclusive club, and you dont have to be a martyr. Green Living for the Masses – Let them eat organic veg!!!

  138. I don’t mind the mud at all!

  139. We live in a flat in London. I loved the mud on the veges and I was enjoy washing it till it plugged the kitchen sink. We don’t have a place to wash outside neither. So now I have to wait the mud to dry and brush it off. So the carrots came without mud few weeks ago, we could eat it sooner. Of course less hassle for me, too.
    Can you possibly send veges without mud to City residents ?

  140. I don’t mind a bit of mud and wouldn’t want to get to shiny supermarket types but I have to admit that I have enjoyed receiving the cleaner carrots recently.

  141. Regarding the mud on the veg debate.
    When my box is delivered in many cases the mud is still damp so you know it has just come out of the ground, so it lovely and fresh.

  142. Only one other person mentioned the cost, which surprises me, even the mums who i thought would have less cash to splash.

    But if it doesn’t cost anything to rinse the mud off, then go for it, but I can’t imagine how you would manage to.

    Regarding packaging, I don’t see the method behind it – some stuff comes in paper bags, some stuff loose and some stuff in plastic bags. I think the paper bags would be ideal for muddy carrots, but they come in plastic. And the muddy parsnips come loose. The bags of potatoes are fine though!

  143. I have a water meter and washing carrots and parsnips make me wonder if that makes them more expensive. I think LIGHT wash when really caked with mud would be nice. If it takes time from you growing our wonderful veg. then don’t worry I will have enough Devon soil to start my own organic farm!!!. (Joke) Thanks for starting the hard work of growing our veg.

  144. Please leave the mud on! The root veg don’t keep ss well without the mud and I don’t want to store them in the fridge and don’t have space anyway. I have thrown away Riverford carrots for the first time since they’ve been arriving clean, as they shrivel up.

    I find it amazing that people who are prepared to order organic veg are going on about hygiene and convenience – don’t they realise this is real food and that’s how real food comes and it keeps better that way? As far as I’m concerned, if you wash the mud off the carrots they are exactly like supermarket organic carrots – they don’t keep as well, they don’t taste as good, they go rotten at the ends – but they’re a lot more convenient!

  145. not having a fridge, mud on the roots is great and means i still have good veg at the end of the week.

  146. Sherry Cuthbertson

    I totally agree with Bobbi. PLEASE LEAVE THE MUD ON! Veggies taste much better and a little of bit of mud didn’t do anyone any harm.

    There is nothing more satisfying for me, after a long day in the City and a longer commute home, than standing scrubbing, washing and peeling and chopping veg. Gets rid of all the angst and makes one feel much better: with a satisfying organic supper to boot.

  147. I love mud!!

    It reminds me of going to the market with my Grandmother to buy her vegetables. At home I would then get the job of washing the muddy spuds which my Nan would peel.

    This job now goes to me 5 year old son who has his own special stool to stand on to reach the sink and his own vegetable brush for scrubbing – what more fun could be had by a 5yr old than being asked to ‘play’ with mud and water!

  148. Please, please DO rinse the mud off. I hate having a “gritty” fridge and, like others, I sometimes put off using muddy veg if time is short for preparing meals . Lovely, lovely veg thanks

  149. With three small hungry children to feed, it takes longer to wash the cakes of mud off than it takes for them to get up to mischief in the next room!

    They don’t need to be spotless but if they are clean enough to peel without having to scrub them first it sometimes means the difference between fresh veg and a tin of beans on a busy school night.

    Also, surely less water overall would be used if carrots are washed in bulk at source rather than each customer using a few inches of water in a washing up bowl a few times a week.

    It’s lovely to see what sort of soil they are grown in but I bet the soil is better off staying in Devon that being flushed down our sinks never to be seen again.

  150. If boxes last longer when roots have had a quick rinse then that should be the way forward?

  151. My fridge is always full of mud! If they’re not too bad I put them in a box . The washed ones seem to have kept Ok.

  152. I prefer carrots and root veg with the mud washed off. Just a quick rinse is fine, I’m happy to do the rest. I’m more likely to cook with them first and it’s a lot less faff and mess.

  153. I don’t mind either way about washed or unwashed carrots. I keep all my veg in the fridge in ‘stay fresh longer’ bags from Lakeland Ltd, and I keep a couple of muddy ones just for the muddier items, so I don’t get that much mess in the veg drawer. If I have to get mud off things, I leave them in a sink of tepid water to soak for a few minutes and then scrub them – this seems to get the mud off faster. Though I’ll be getting a bowl for this now, after all those tips about blocking your sink with soil!

    It would be a help to have less carrots in general, washed or unwashed – we seem to be getting them every week in the small veg box. We don’t eat them as a side dish that often – and chucking them in things in ones or twos doesn’t really go through them fast enough. I do make carrot soup sometimes, but after about 8 years of veg boxing with various companies, I still don’t like it all that much, however spicy I make it. And it’s hard to fit carrot soup into the weekly menu as well as all the beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower and squash I have to eat solo because Him Indoors doesn’t like them. At least with spring coming, I can make coleslaw…but maybe next winter could you maybe consider including carrots only fortnightly?

    However, even with the carrot mountain in my veg drawer, I still keep getting your boxes because they are so fresh and delicious and also great value, and most veg boxers I know have switched to yours too. Keep up the good work!


  155. Yes I am in total agreement for carrots and parsnips or any root veg to be washed down before sending to us. It is the one thing that I really dislike about my riverford veg. the mud creats so much work. my fridge is often very soily and my sink and hands go through a rough time with all the mud and its time consuming. I must confess, if i have people coming over and I want extra root veg, I will go to the supermarket because they are cleaner… so yes it would be a great help if they were less muddy.

    Secondly, I love my veg box, but I do find it difficult to use up the last big of cabbage or Curly Kale etc because they are not favourites in the family, especially when its in the boxes week after week. Cabbage is in most of the boxes most of the weeks! Perhaps you can have a box with a set price, where you can choose your own 7 or 8 variety of veg?

    Mostly the quality of the veg are good and as i say I’m very happy to be able to buy all organic and have the variety. But last week I received a cauliflower and it was only a little bigger than a tennis ball… it didn’t feed a family of 4 or even 3!! A few weeks ago 4 out of 6 bananas were really bruised and the children did not want to eat them. Then its dissappointing, because we are paying good money for this fruit anf veg. I dont mind paying, but we need to receive good quality.

    Despite my niggles, I am a loyal customer because I am passionate about organic fruit and veg… I do rave about riverfords to everyone, which is why I dont like to be let down.

  156. Many thanks for the always interesting and often enlightening weekly blurb and recipe. I was happy to read about the mud debate because I have much preferred the cleaner carrots of late. I have to admit I don’t like mud – in fact I loathe it – and it took so long to scrub them and made my kitchen sink so filthy, that it was a bit of a burden! So I would definitely vote in favour of the cleaner carrots!

    Also thank you for the suggestions for improving the box usage, mainly preventing waste. I will take your tips on board.

    Thanks for a great service and,most importantly, healthy food for our family –

  157. In response to your question regarding the issue of mud, may I share with you my comments about my first ever box while phoning everyone I know and sharing my excitement; “They gave me muddy carrots and even more muddy beetroot! At last! I never have to eat the horrid rubber ones from sainsburys again!”

    I appreciate that you must do what you is right for Riverford and the environment, and of course, we will still look forward to our box each week. However, I can’t deny that I would miss having vegetables that look just as they are supposed to- freshly pulled from the earth.

    Thank you for keeping my family healthy and organic!

  158. Yes, please, wash root veg. We have drainage problems and can’t wash mud away, so all bowls of muddy water have to be tipped outside on grass verge-laborious.

  159. In response to your Box Life article, I would like to express my preference for root vegetables without mud, if possible!
    I also like celery with root and leaves – I hate the way the supermarkets cut both off!

  160. Firstly, thank you very much for all the fruit and veg you have delivered over the years, it’s delicious and I love not having to go to the supermarket for it.

    Secondly, you asked for opinions on muddy carrots, and I have to say that the mud is a barrier for me! Your carrots really are tasty, but I live in a second floor flat and have a small kitchen. The mud from the carrots gets everywhere, and is one of the reasons I haven’t ordered carrots from you for a while.

    I feel like a terrible city dweller, but I would LOVE it if the carrots came without so much mud.

    Can I also let you know how brilliant the delivery person is in this area. Back in Feb when we had the snow and terrible ice, and no buses were able to run and no cars could make it up the hill, my veg box arrived as usual!

  161. Much as I love your mud, I prefer not to have a sink full of it !

    Your potatoes are tasting very good currently.

  162. I should be pleased if there were a little less mud on the vegetables and would be glad if they were given a quick wash (provided this will not adversely affect the taste and longevity of the produce).

  163. We have been customers of yours for about three years and have even been to the farm and used your shops.
    Yes, it is a complaint of mine that the veg is really muddy. I am a working mum with a toddler and we live in a very small two-bedroom, end of terrace. The box is left outside the front door and I quite often have to get the hoover out between the front door and the kitchen because the box sheds mud. I also have to sweep the kitchen floor when I have unloaded the box.
    I realise this makes me sound like a spoiled-brat, but you did ask and it can be tricky with the toddler. We aspire to a lofty farm house, but we are a long way off that one.
    Sometimes it is a breath of fresh air when I have to buy supermarket stuff, just because it is so much cleaner and easier to manage.

  164. I really do notice the difference between unwashed and washed roots. Muddy roots are always tastier, whether the washed ones are kept in the fridge or not. One of the reasons I gave up buying veg in supermarkets or even the local veg shop was that the washed parsnips and carrots were always so tasteless. Even with your organic carrots, I have noticed the difference since I have had washed carrots.

    Yours in mud

  165. Initially I enjoyed muddy veg……it felt more “authentic” and far removed from spotless, uniform supermarket veg.

    However, the novelty is now wearing thin and I think I would prefer less mud. Not spotless, but less. When cooking from scratch all the time, cleaning off the mud – and then cleaning up the kitchen – adds quite a bit of time into an already busy day. Plus cleaning up the mud (boiling a kettle to sterilize surfaces, using kitchen towel and spray to wipe things down) is probably not that eco …. removing most of the mud pre delivery could be a more eco way of doing things…..

    So less mud please would be great.

  166. Yes please we would love it if you washed the veg first. As I work in catering we spend a lot of time avoiding cross contamination so when I am at home mud in the kitchen is a no no.

  167. a happy customer

    ….they stay fresher for longer and look better….I’m just sick of parsnips at the moment….

  168. I love your veg. but I hate the mud. I’ve fed back loads of times about it and e’d you to say the clean carrots were great. and then you wonder if I’d like the roots to have a quick wash? YES!! I’m very committed, but how do you persuade most people to get home from work, pour a G&T and scrub muddy parsnips in their immaculate sinks?

  169. If I want washed roots, I can go and get them from the supermarket, but I don’t because:
    – they don’t keep as long
    – they don’t taste as nice

    I’m fine with a quick wash when they are VERY muddy, but in general and with the exception of the baby bag, please keep the mud!

  170. Forgot to say for people who find it hard to cope with the mud, a little tip, get yourself a GOOD vegetable brush. I have had a couple before my current one and was struggling like the rest of you. But I have a really good one now, quite big and with hard bristle, it is excellent and makes cleaning muddy roots a dodle. I have a softer one for the mushrooms of course.

    Hope that helps.

  171. I study Herbal medicine and a well renowned tutor of mine believes we should all be eating more soil. Especially vegetarians as it has B vits in. Since I got told this I have not been so thorough with my washing of veg.

  172. excess mud off please!!

  173. I have to say, less mud would be great. Life is busy enough, without washing and then bagging veg to put it in the fridge. Love the quality, though – it’s just about worth the mud (which I do hate)

  174. I like the mud although how much do you loose from your fields?! I add the washing water to my garden so thanks for the lovely soil.

  175. Delighted customer

    Keep the mud – in my opinion the veg is fresher for longer. As to the fridge I put all muddy veg in one compartment that I can wash out each week. Re the sink getting blocked it has not happened to me yet. Please stop putting so much in plastic bags, I would prefer things wrapped in, or separated by, a sheet of newspaper. My biggest bug bear are cucumbers in a ‘plastic coat’. I love the roots & greens box.

  176. Keep the mud on – they taste much better and don’t look anaemic! Scrubbing a few carrots only takes 30 seconds. We all lead such ‘busy’ lives I think it is a good thing that we remember where our food comes from, and the time it takes for someone to grow it for us! Isn’t that one of the reasons we all purchase these boxes in the first place?

    Anything that stays away from the supermarket rubbish is fine by me also!

  177. Sheila Cosgrove

    Just soak muddy veg in a bowl of water and then scrub. It only takes a few extra minutes. And good lord, don’t throw that water down the sink, give it to your plants!
    I have a muddy plastic bag(s) in the crisper drawer for storage; the rest of the fridge is dirt-free.
    Any veg I haven’t used is made into ‘Cream of Left-over Soup’: delicious.

  178. I do not mind the mud, in fact I use the muddy water to water my pot plants (those that live outside all year round). In the days when I brought veg from supermarkets I scrubbed them thoroughly anyway (probably more so)

  179. PS – I agree with the comment about the celery with leaves and a bit of root. I also like the beetroot leaves (I know this is not possible in winter)

  180. I think its very brave of you to take this debate on!
    I don’t mind the mud, but my partner does, and I know two households who stopped getting boxes because of it. I can see that its much more convenient for people, and I think its a good idea if it keeps veg boxes accessible to more people and helps riverford to grow. BUT I think the crucial thing for me is – is it environmentally friendly to wash them? Will this use less water and energy overall? Could they be brushed at the farm instead to save water, and leave a little bit of dirt to keep them fresh?

  181. Although I’m tempted to say leave the mud for taste and keeping qualities, I do dislike having to scrub the mud off as I seem to get it everywhere and increases the preperation time for meals.

  182. I wash/peel my veg in a bucket and pour the muddy water on the garden. I’m sure my plants love having that little bit of Devon in their soil!

  183. If it means the carrots could just be tumbled into the box, I’d compromise on less mud. I do love that small feel and smell of Devon in my kitchen though. I’ll miss the mud but not the packaging.

  184. Please carry on washing the carrots! We love carrots – we get through average 2kg per week. I need to prepare 4 or 5 carrots for packed lunches each morning and not having to scrub them saves me valuable time. I am sure the flavour is not affected and I would actually argue that in an indoors or refrigerated environment (ie. in a box in kitchen in winter, in the fridge in summer) the carrots keep better when clean, I find the mud creates soft/soggy decayed patches on the carrots. Clean ones stay drier. Love carrots – love the clean carrots even more!

  185. I wash the mud off when the veg arrives because of keeping most of it in the fridge, so I don’t want it to be dirty. Yet there’s something a bit ‘supermarket-like’ about receiving clean vegetables and I’m not sure I fancy that; is it the thin end of the wedge? A friend of mine commented about my filthy carrots one day and said, ‘what vegetables are those then?’ having been used to sparkly supermarket veg!

    I love your boxes. Thank you for an alternative choice in shopping.

  186. I don’t mind a bit of mud. I was all my veg in a bowl and then use the water on the garden. I figure I’m getting a bit of exra free goodness!

  187. Quite happy for the mud to be removed! My fridge veg drawers will stay cleaner.

  188. I’m for mud free

  189. Please don’t wash the carrots or other root veg. They certainly taste better and last longer if they arrive unwashed. How long does it take to wash a few carrots at home? 30 seconds! One of the best things about your vegetables are how long they stay fresh, anything which affects this even slightly would be a shame. And who wants a showroom kitchen with ‘sterilized surfaces’ anyway!!

  190. I have tried to be virtuous and love the mud but really having cleaner carrots is a relief!.

  191. I have just started having Riverford Boxes again after coming back from living in France – it is such a thrill having them again and hearing the news from the farms. When we originally had the boxes the newsletter was covered in mud and slightly amateurish and I used to love the feeling that it was all so genuine and close to nature! Now it’s all much more professional of course but I would be very disappointed if the mud disappeared permanently as it is so great having a direct connection with where the food is coming from. It’s so exciting when the veg is revealed from under its covering of mud! I’m sure there’s something to be said for the health benefits of leaving it on as well as long as you don’t peel the veg and just scrub it.

    Please, please leave it on – I don’t like it all dry and supermarkety.

  192. I’m happy with the mud left on, not the great big clumps of mud but otherwise I like them as they are, out of the ground almost. The washed ones in the last boxes don’t seem to last as long or taste as good and aren’t so coloured either.
    Can’t they be put in brown bags as the parsnips have been this last week?

  193. Please, please clean them! We love our vegbox and enjoy cooking fresh food, but are a busy working family with very young children and the less mud the better in all honesty. We get through loads of veg a week, and it is a pain to have to wash it all. Might it even waste less water in total to have them all washed centrally than every individual household washing?

  194. PS sometimes (shock horror) our carrots, and even potatoes go to waste because they sit on the side for 3-4 days waiting for one of us to have a spare moment to wash them between laundering potty training clothes and washable nappies, cooking, washing up etc etc etc. Sometimes we find by the time one of us gets round to it they’ve sprouted or even rotted. That’s the reality for us. At times when life is really stressful I have cancelled the box and had the supermarket deliver as it’s just easier. Probably sinful to admit this here, but there you go!

  195. Leave the mud on, these are real veg

  196. I like mud – we are far too clean these days and a bit of mud never did anyone any harm. I use the veg tray at the bottom of my fridge for carrots and parsnips that are muddy, that way I can easilt tip it out when they are all gone.

    Having said that, I’m all for reduced packaging and anything that makes the angels at Riverford happy. Happy to be rinsed, but not scrubbed please! :O)

  197. I favour the mud as feel it adds a touch of flavour and also seems to keep the flavour in somewhat. Also there is the added bonus that unknowing friends think that you have grown them yourself – obviously I put them right on this and let them know where the veggies really come from!

  198. Hi I think you should leave the mud on, except when it is really thickly caked. A quick scrub before peeling is fine.The reason we buy organic is for the taste and your muddy ones taste great. I keep your paper bags from potatoes, bananas etc to keep the muddy veg in the fridge.

  199. Of course the veg doesn’t have to be washed –
    what would be the next thing? Ready cut and chopped in plastic wrapping?

  200. this is Andrea’s other half…he would like to carrots washed, prepared and delivered cooked in time for dinner!

    actually he does not think you shoudl be trunking mud all the way from devon to sussex

  201. This is the food you eat, it’s giving you nourishment and keeps you alive. Spend some time with it – a minute or two to clean some carrots, parsnips or potatoes is probably worth the effort!

  202. clean, please!

  203. I’m with Marianne above. I also spend lots of time washing nappies and love the fact that our Riverford fruit and veg box has always been a mud-free zone. I cancelled my last box scheme because I got fed up with the mud. I know the mud is only natural, but you often can’t get to our sink for the build-up of washing up so one lesss job is very welcome!

  204. Please keep rinsing the carrots. I’ve got 2 small children and don’t enjoy having to wash the mud off the milk before using it. I’m not asking for supermarket scrubbed, just removing the big clumps of earth!

  205. Washing dried on clumps of mud off veg is a real pain. As is trailing mud across the floor when I bring my box in each week.

    Can’t say I’ve noticed a difference in taste or longevity of veg since you’ve been supplying cleaner veg. ALL your veg tastes better than supermarket stuff.

    So, please balance up the cost of washing (either by you or me), transport & packaging & go with the ‘green’ option

  206. They did not keep well in the fridge last week (had to cut out some mushy bits) probably because they were a bit wet so we dried them off out of the fridge this week. We really dont mind the mud as it reminds us of our parents when they lived in the country many years ago.

  207. Don’t mind a bit mud, especially as it helps the veg to last longer and retain it’s flavour. I use the muddy water to put on my plants, they love it! Unless the carrots are caked in mud, please leave the mud on.

  208. A bit of mud is good, but please clean off the clumps. Thanks

  209. Every time I’ve taken 10 minutes to wash the carrots I think of how much more nutritious they are, but now on hearing that they keep well anyway for a couple of weeks, I say yes please wash them a little.

  210. Iwould rather the mud wash washed off. I’ve had to unblock my sink numerous times because the mud settles,especially when it’s the sandy sort.Ihaven’t noticed any difference with the washed carrots either with taste or how long they keep fresh.Ihave noticed a difference with the sink though!!

  211. I’m all for leaving the mud on the root veg. I don’t know why but for me it is reminiscent of a long forgotten childhood when I used to get “proper” veg from my grandparents allotment. I have only had the box since October of last year and already I am a committed fan. Ok sometimes I have an abundence of veg left over but that’s what the slow cooker is for. The other day I had 6kg of carrots left over from various weeks, but I slow cooked them and made them into a gorgeous carrot and coriander soup for the freezer. I also made a curry parsnip soup with the abundence of parsnips I had left over too. Now if only I could figure out what to do with 3 cauliflowers and 3

  212. Prefer not too muddy esp. in winter when the water is so cold for scrubbing.

  213. It would probably make life a bit easier for us if they were washed, even if just a bit to get the big caked in bits off! We never keep them long enough to find out if having mud on them makes them last longer tho so I can’t really comment if that would make a difference to us or not. Either way tho, they are lovely veg!

  214. I’m quite happy to see some mud if it keeps the veg fresher longer. Although we usually use most of the veg within 4 or 5 days, it’s good to know it will keep longer, if needed. Was interested to hear some people don’t put veg in the fridge – I’ve always been afraid it wouldn’t keep fresh in the cupboard.

  215. Anything that means that container waste is reduced should be encouraged. The carrots taste great whether you wash the mud off or I do.

  216. I suggest leaving the mud on for the larger sacks of carrots, but washing them in the regular bags (which I presume most customers have). I often buy sacks of juicing carrots, but they would not keep long enough if they were pre-washed.

  217. British Sugar run a business supplying topsoil using all the “mud” they wash off the sugar beet before they turn it into sugar. Sadly our little bit of Devon you supply on the veg goes down the drain.

  218. I would love you to wash the carrots, parsnips as well it would save my sink getting blocked.

  219. Please wash mud off. Nuisance in the bottom of the box (falls all over the kitchen floor, in the fridge, on other veg) and is another chore for me – also difficult to rinse out of the kitchen sink believe it or not!

  220. Leave the mud on! Your workers will have cold enough hands with what they already do, plus the dirt is a reminder to people that the veg actually comes out of the earth.

    Have never stored root veg in the fridge – have a cool area in my porch where they live happily in your box,until I rinse them outside in warmish water, which is then used to water garden plants. I use the card boxes and paper bags to store remaining veg near to box day, and then we start again. LOVE THE MUD! LOVE THE VEG! THANK YOU! KEEP ON GROWING!

  222. Please wash them. Working full time I don’t want to have to wash the veg if it can be avoided. I didn’t notice any taste difference between muddy carrots and washed ones. The reason supermarket veg does not taste as good is because it has been stored an awful lot longer- not because it has been washed.

  223. I love the new cleaner veg, we eat the veg very quickly and it saves the kitchen getting covered in mud, so please keep washing them. Thanks

  224. I’m for a first wash! I too am a busy mum with a very small time slot to cook from fresh after school (every week night) for too lively little ones! It really does help my prep time.

  225. Victoria Osborne

    Clean veg preferred please.

  226. Although I do love the authenticity of mud-covered veg and I have been quite happily scrubbing away at my sink until now, having recently received less muddy veg has been a bit of a guilty pleasure! My husband is also a fan as it means his scrubbing services are less requested! Seriously, tho, I find that it hasn’t affected the taste or endurance of our veg at all – to be honest it rarely stays in my kitchen that long anyway before being used up. It is also quite helpful to me, at the end of a long day at work, to have less prep time when getting dinner, and also means we are more likely to leave our carrots unpeeled for eating, rather than cutting time by peeling off the muddy layer – we eat loads of veg each day and the extra washing time does add up at the end of an 11hr work day. Whilst consuming a little organic dirt may well do us some good, for those of us who are expecting babies we are told to be vigilant in washing it off!
    My general request would be not so much for no mud, but just a bit less, please!

  227. Leave them as they come, the more natural nad less processed they ar ethe better, if you want washed veg then there is plenty of choice out there. Keep them in the cool and they don’t need washing until you cook with them. What’s in the mud is better for you than than what’s on a prepped carrot, do you know what they wash it in, so they all need washing anyway.
    I guess Riverford doesn’t suit everyone and I would hate it to change to suit the few who want supermarket convenience as opposed to those who prefer flavour and price against convenience. It’s the closest we get to growing our own.

  228. I like to be reminded that my vegetables come from real soil and are not grown using hydroponics. It only takes a few minutes to wash off the mud.

  229. I quite like the mud, for me it’s about knowing where the veg comes from, I particularly like it when it’s the red mud! I suppose it makes it easier to feel the connection between the veg box at my door and the place that produces it!

  230. I do agree that sometimes the mud is a bit too clumpy, but, I clean it off with one of those mesh mitts which helps a lot as well as using warmish water to help loosen the mud. I use a large bowl or the washing up bowl to wash and peel the veg in, which saves the peelings for the compost bin. I’ve always felt it a waste to wash all that lovely Devon mud down the plughole so recently have removed (or strained) the peelings and poured the muddy water over my flower bed. I’m surprised other folk are putting their muddy veg into the frig unwrapped. I use the R’ford paper bags or the longlife veg bags from Lakeland. In the winter they stay in the garage.

  231. PLEASE take the big clumps off, but don’t overly clean them. Often end up peeling them because just don’t have time to scrub and then clean the sink and scoop all the mud out. Especially in the morning when trying to do carrots for packed lunches. and fed up with mud in fridge. Last week my 8year old son licked his finger and dipped it in the chocolate powder left on the side – only to discover when it reached his mouth that it was the powdery mud from the veg box!! We all laughed a lot! Mud is good – but not too much of it please.

  232. i was all for the mud, i love it and the smell of it but reading the pros and cons plus people’s comments, i’m now erring on the side of please wash most of the mud off but don’t leave them supermarket clean. also, think of all the water saved not having to clean my fridge so regularly!

    guy/guy’s helper, do you read every single comment left here?

  233. I’ve been delighted that the carrots haven’t been quite so muddy. Please don’t go back to delivering very muddy carrots again.

  234. Sheila Greenhalgh


    Having already posted my thoughts right at the beginning of this interesting debate, I am now wondering why no-one has asked whether Riverford customers are actually paying for the mud on their vegetables.

    I assume that the carrots/parnsips/potatoes etc are weighed so does more mud mean less vegetables?

  235. I am not sure that that much mud would equal a carrot and we buy by the box not by weight.

    I am also confident as Riverford is customercentric that if they do weigh before boxing then it will always be over and not under.

    Riverford fully understand that without us and our suppport/marketing they don’t have a business, hence the blogs.

    Keep up the goodwork guys the quality, variety, choice and ease of ordering is superb.

  236. Very lazy I know but I would rather not have mud and no packaging

  237. I love the mud – much better than the sterile supermarket carrots. I just keep the carrots in one of the card board trays when in the fridge, this works fine.

  238. mud on please. They dont have to go in the fridge then plus they seem to be more orange and tasty!

  239. pam in Guildford

    I have wondered from time to time whether there was any topsoil left on the farms!

  240. I would prefer the lumps of mud to be removed on my carrots before they go in the boxes. It keeps the boxes and my fridge clean and stops the sink from getting blocked. But why wash them to within an inch of their life?

    But do’t we all wash our carrots again before preparing them? So why waste all that water on the farm?

    If I was that bothered, I would buy scrupulously clean carrots in a supermarket. But I don’t want to do that. So let’s keep the mud!!!

  241. PLEASE LEAVE THE MUD ON! I think its great! It helps to remind people where their veg has come from- the earth- and not sterile and shiny as it is from the supermarkets. I also believe from personal experience that it helps to keep things like carrots and parsnips fresher for longer.

  242. I think it would be great if you can give them a wash before we receive them, I dont mind a bit of cleaning but sometimes my sink looks like a mudbath

  243. Mud, mud glorious rich red Devon mud, keeps in the flavour and the colour. As a city dweller it reminds me of my roots,I am happy to have the clods knocked off, but please do not wash. Root veg are always of such good quality and last so well.
    Congratulations Riverford keep up the good work,variety and quality.

  244. I used to think I liked the mud because I thought it meant the vegetables lasted longer but actually a light wash doesn’t seem to make any difference and they stay just as crunchy so I would say go for the light wash if it doesn’t make everything more expensive. If it does, I’ll carry on scrubbing!

  245. I’d like the mud off to cut down on preparation time.

  246. I like not having mud splattered behind the sink as I try to clean it off! So no (less) dirt & no packaging is my preferred option, thanks.

  247. I have to agree that the muddy carrots always seem to taste better – I don’t mind the mud one little bit. It enhances the straight out of the ground factor.

  248. Keep the mud. I’m sure it protects the outer parts of the carrots and helps prevent them drying out. I agree with other comments that they look more convincingly organic and, I think, more beautiful with the varied shades of mud on them.

  249. I would rather have the mud – the roots do keep well with it left on. The only veg I put in the fridge are lettuce & watercress, even in the summer. Everything keeps fine in our garage but I suppose we are just fortunate to have some cool places. I do sympathize with the busy peeps with young families tho’ – it’s hard when you’re falling asleep at the kitchen sink ….

  250. I am happy to deal with a bit of mud on the carrots and it reminds me how fresh off the farm they are! If it saves time and hassle on your end of things to not wash them, I would have no objection to washing off the mud myself.

  251. I never used to mind the mud. However, since becoming pregnant I have been bombarded with literature telling me how dangerous the stuff is for my baby. Whether or not this is the case, the volume of literature telling me so is enough to make me very cautious. I now find I am reluctant to deal with muddy veg as gloves are blooming awkward.

    I do have a particular problem with having fruit and salad veg scattered with mud from the fruit veg in my box. Its so hard to convince my bombarded brain that I have washed all the mud off before I eat these things without cooking them.

    So, I think an initial wash would help.

  252. I do like a little bit of mud on the veg as I feel it enhances the flavour and prolongs the life of them, but, it can be messy. I certainly don’t want them to be sparkling as you would find them in supermarkets.

  253. Love the mud, too! Are the rest of you not gardeners? I choose Riverford because I want my fruit and veg interfered with as little as possible. Otherwise I might as well get my cleaned organic veg at the Coop down the road.

  254. We think the roots look better and keep better with the mud on and it suits our muddy kitchen. Produce is always excellent but carrots looked like they needed a transfusion over the last couple of weeks, not that anyone complained when we cooked them. Many thanks for the constantly high quality, mud or no mud! Might have to clean the kitchen more often maybe??

    Paul & Yasmin Brown

  255. Never heard about mud being dangerous if pregnant – I heard that the worm bin I’ve got is something you should stay away from, but mud? Got any links to more info? (Might have to stop my pregnant girlfriend playing rugby – only kidding)

  256. When my very first Riverford box arrived I thought ‘at last, real carrots from real soil’! I much prefer the mud and I don’t keep carrots in the fridge so I was annoyed when washed carrots appeared in the box. As many others say, if we wanted washed carrots we’d buy them in the supermarket.

  257. I would much prefer that the carrots are unwashed as I feel that removing the mud does make a difference to both the physical and the eating quality of the carrots. They don’t keep as well with the mud washed off and I think that the flavour is not as good. Some of them seem to dry out even though I keep them in a bag in the fridge.

    When the carrots are muddy, I keep them in one of the Riverfiord brown paper bags which I then put in a plastic bag. This keeps them fresh for longer and contains most of the mud.

  258. I don’t mind a bit of soil but clumps take ages to wash off, adds to preparation time and plugs up the sink pipe and I am not prepared to wash veg outside! I would like all produce to be soil-clump free. The contents of my delivery box is usually eaten within a week and I have not noticed a difference in flavour because of a little pre-washing and most of the norishment is not lost.

  259. Washed carrots! Yes please: did notice it straight away and was sooo pleased. I come often home quite late from work and the last thing I feel like is to scrub the carrots and clear up the mud, Also like the clean boxes, as must falls out. Must owe up that in the past I have bought carrots from Waitrose as they were clean. So I hope you keep it up!

  260. I don’t mind the soil and mud as I think that it keeps the veg much fresher for longer and retains the nutrients. I also store my root veggies in the garage in a box to avoid dirtying the rest that does go in the fridge

  261. PLEASE leave the mud on!!! Keeps veg longer, fresher – I keep mine in the cold conservatory at this time of year. As for muddy fridges, can’t people put paper round the veg? Or leave them in a Rivernene bag. And water your plants with the muddy water or put it on the garden. It takes very little time to clean veg – just put it in a bowl of water while you do something else.

  262. I am a great mud fan myself. I always equate mud with flavour. The organic washed carrots from a supermarket always seem tasteless. I do agree it can be a bit messy but on balnce I prefer mud.

  263. What a relief when the carrots are washed! Please I beg you to wash the carrots as I am used to from German organic farms. Carrots keep well, also washed and there were always fine when bought washed. So please wash them and thank you for bringing up this topic.

  264. Please please wash! Carrots. parsnips, potatoes. I have only my fridge to keep them in and don’t want to keep mud in there. Nor spend the time when the box arrives cleaning everything in it because the mud has spread itself around. And surely cleaning en masse will use less water overall than each of us cleaning our own.

  265. I can’t see what all the fuss about mud is.
    It doesn’t mess your fridge up if shake veg. — as would if just dug up yourself – anyway, why putting in fridge? Store roots in cool place with no light – re-use last week’s potato bag!!
    Quick wash under tap, no need to peel and away you go.
    Want super-clean veg – go to supermarket.

  266. Hi, I like the mud, it smells good, keeps the carrots fresher and reminds me of where they come from. It’s easy to get off with a knife before scrubbing. Think of those poor workers washing all those carrots in the cold! And the amount of water used! Any muddy veg. could be wrapped in newspaper to keep the boxes clean.
    Maid Marion

  267. I love the cleaned carrots. I have one 2 year old and soon a newborn and cooking every evening from scratch already is a lot of work and very time consuming, so every little help is very much appreciated. I don’t think it affects the taste at all, but I don’t store them for weeks either. We don’t have the luxury of a garage and I store everything in the fridge – very annoying if I have to clean it all the time because of the mud build up. My son loves carrot juice and I ordered the juicing carrots but they had so much mud on them that I was scrubbing carrots for 20 minutes before even getting the juicer out. Needless to say I did not order them again, even thought the juice was superb.

  268. Please, please, please leave the mud on the veg! They keep so much better than when they are washed!

  269. I would really prefer the mud left on. The washed carrots have a tendency to go a bit rubbery. And I’m still going to have to clean them anyway, so I’d rather do it from scratch and have fresher, crisper carrots (and other veg).

  270. I like the mud 🙂 they definitely keep longer especially if you keep them, cool outside, in the bags just used a parsnips at the weekend i had forgotten about which must have been outside for over a month and they were yummy. love the boxes, keep up the great work.

  271. Please leave your mud on. Or please don’t wash it off, just brush it off. If you could just knock the really big clumps of mud off that would be enough for me.

    I don’t have a big enough fridge to keep the root veg in so have to store it in a back porch. The mud definitely helps it to stay fresh longer. I have horrible memories of organic supermarket washed carrots and the congealed mess they made within days.

    I vote for mud!!

  272. I love the flavour of your carrots but have to confess that all that mud washing is a bit of a pain. If you don’t think the flavour will be impaired I would be happy for you to give the carrots a little clean-up.

  273. I definitely think the carrots keep better with the mud on. I don’t have a garage or cellar or a very big fridge to keep all my roots on so I really need the mud to keep them nice to the end of the week.

    Top tip, I find, is to flick off the big clods while the carrot is dry – mine go straight into the strawberry bed – as once you get them wet you do get a big muddy mess, but they chip off pretty neatly.

  274. I have to admit that I’ve found the recent rinsed carrots more problematic, than ‘muddy’ ones. For a start, the clods of mud aren’t removed, and the added water just makes them sticky and even more difficult to clean. Plus, damp carrots go mouldy. Dry ones go rubbery, but at least you can still use them in soups. Mouldy ones bypass the compost and go straight in the bin.

  275. PS to Adam re Mud when pregnant – it’s not so much the soil as the cat-poo that may be in it which may be a source of toxoplasmosis.
    to Izzy – don’t fret, love, there’s a lot of ‘may be’s in there. In any case the cat density is a lot lower out on the farm than in your average urban garden and I think normal sensible vegetable- and hand-washing should be enough to get you safely though. Good luck!

  276. Yes we prefer our vegetables unwashed, they keep better (but isn’t there some regulation that says you mustn’t sell vegetables with more than 10% by weight of soil attached?)

    Leeks keep better if you don’t cut all of the roots off, too.

    Disappointed to see no mayonnaise on the products list, and I suppose the delicious blood oranges have finished. And by the price of the apples – local, named varieties are available from the farmers market at £1.50 a kilo. We used to order apples regularly but will think very hard before doing so again, and only if you put the name of the variety on the website.

  277. the muddier the better

    ….they stay fresher for longer and look better….I’m just sick of parsnips at the moment….


    A Happy Customer

  278. we have been having your veg and fruit boxes for a few years now and think it would be great if you could give the veg a bit of a wash before it goes in the boxes, the one downside of organic veg is the layer of dirt in the bottom of the fridge! We tend to eat it within a week anyway so any lose of flavour or it not lasting as long wouldn’t really matter.

    Thanks to your veg boxes my fussy husband and children now eat a much greater variety of vegetables! Keep up the good work.

  279. I love my carrots with earth on them. They keep so much better and taste fresher. Even though I live in a 9th floor flat in central London I keep them outside on the balcony out of the sun and they last for ages. Like digging them fresh. Summertime, yes, it’s the fridge!
    Maybe I just like to remember earth….


    We live in a inner city apartment and the only earth we see week by week is on some of the vegetables. They do keep better than the washed veg we used to get from ****sco.

    AND the earth on the parsnips two weeks ago was truly amazing, it sparkled in the sunlight. We’ve still got a bit. So keep the mud on the veg, at least for the city boxes!
    Thanks for asking

  281. keep the mud on!

    I am sure that any mud on your vegetables helps them to keep better – they keep much much longer than the supermarket veg does. Please don’t start washing the mud off. You already use plastic bags that mean veg end up sweaty after sitting in the sun all day before I get home from work! If you start washing the veg they won’t keep as well and you become too much like the supermarkets. Mud is incredibly easy and quick to wash off – how lazy are some of your customers??!!!!

    best wishes from a very happy customer.

  282. My preference is to have the muddy veg washed before it goes into the boxes – I’m not a fan of lots of mud !!

  283. I’ve been a riverford customer for several years now and am still as excited about the weekly fruit and veg box I receive as I was in the begining.

    I like the mud on the vegetables! They definately keep for longer in my veg basket, and keep me, and my family, in touch
    with where they come from! Any excess soil gets put on my garden.

  284. Having read your article I just wanted to throw in my ‘two-penneth’…… I think we would welcome slightly less muddy veg – much less mess in my kitchen and when folding the boxes to store!!

  285. Thanks for the comments on muddy vegetables.

    I prefer less mud as I find the veg keep fine in the fridge and I often rinse them when they arrive anyway, just so the fridge doesn’t end up like a potting shed. I tried keeping brown bags around for muddy swede and parsnips which are loose in the boxes but it was just easier to wash them. I find veg in the fridge last better than muddy ones left in the box. Also nice not to have such muddy boxes as otherwise the outsides of the other bags (like lettuce) are muddy too

    I certainly don’t expect everything washed to an inch of its life and really it is what works for you too, but personally would prefer less mud on loose root veg. For veg already in bags like beets I don’t mind either way.

    Just another point is that it is something people ask about if I am enthusing about your boxes.

  286. Just to feedback to you – if you were to wash root vegetables before it got to me, it would make a HUGE difference to my life! As a newly singled mum it is amazing what a chore little 5 minute tasks are when there is everything else to do too… I often leave my root vegetables out, intending to clean them up before putting away (otherwise it gets everywhere), but it’s a non-essential task and the vegetables soon begin to wilt…
    I have had no problem with freshness of cleaned vegetables and I am always pleased when my carrots arrive already done for me. I know this is very 21st century of me and just the attitude I dislike in this fast, mod-con world…!
    Maybe when I finish my degree in Nutritional Therapy (and yes, I do encourage clients to buy a box scheme!) and have more time, I will appreciate muddy vegetables more…

    Thanks for listening. And thanks for great produce and ethics… 

  287. My vote is for a quick wash to be done before delivery – which is, I admit, a shallow vote of convenience this end! I eat the veg within 2 weeks so hopefully no storage problem and with the useful side-effect of less packaging your end, as you say, …. done deal!

  288. I have been a committed vegbox customer with 2 or 3 schemes over the years and I read your comments about cleaning up the veg for us with interest. But I feel I have to respond to your suggeesion about storing mud-free produce in fridges…

    I’m perfectly happy with the mud preservation method. I have never owned a fridge, and never wanted to since I stopped living with my parents over 20 years ago. I have no desire to get one now to keep my vegetables fresh in!

    I know that I am unusual in my ‘lifestyle’ choices, even compared with your average customer, but I truly believe that social change usually begins with a few passionate extremists and eventually filters through to the masses in a slightly more dilute form.

    So, if it comes muddy that’s absolutely fine by me – and heaps better for the planet too! Perhaps you could suggest ditching fridges for your customers in favour of larders so the mud becomes useful to them instead? 🙂

  289. Love what you do!

    I would prefer you to do a quick wash, thanks. It saves me time and a lot of water.

  290. yup – keep it – aside from the taste, I like feeling of getting some connection with the field, I like washing the veg and seeing the colour come through and smelling the smells… I like the fact it makes my fridge muddy, which in turn makes me less likely to clean it obsessively as I quite like the au naturel look.

  291. Christopher Chandler

    Washed everything please.

  292. We’d probably welcome slightly less muddy veg – but have you thought about the impact that rinsing would have on your water consumption (and presumably also costs?)

  293. I think your carrots are the tastiest I’ve ever eaten, especially when they’re young and new season. Thank you.

    If removing the mud helps the life of boxes last a bit longer that seems a good enough reason to do it. I’m not sure how you work out how many to give each customer but if it’s by weight, then presumably I’d be paying for mud as well as carrots! If they are muddy, I simply take them out of the plastic bag and put them straight into one of your paper (probably potato) bags I keep for such purposes.

    Something you didn’t mention re: stockpiled veg was using the freezer.
    If I can’t actually use the veg then I’ll cook whatever it is and freeze it for later. Mashed parsnips/ spud/ swede all work well in the freezer and that good ol’ standby, soup.

    Good luck with everything

  294. Yes please, keep on washing the roots!!!! Its a wonderful help….. they keep very well in the fridge.. So pleased with the veg and the service.

  295. First let me say thank you for providing these weekly boxes. To have these lovley fresh veggies and other fresh bits delivered once a week frees me up to get on with my work and there is always something good in the house to eat. Surprisingly, my total food bill has gone down.
    Now, about the mud. The veg does keep well in its unwashed state and I don’t have a problem with mud as I don’t wash them until after I have peeled. The technique:-
    Hold the carrot by its sprouting end and peel as far to the bottom as possible. Chop off the ends, the mud comes off with the peel. It also works with potatoes if you hold them carefully between finger and thumb and peel round the spud, then wash hands before touching the middle bit and peeling the ends. Its wet and dirty hands that dirty the veg. The soil then all goes in the compost heap bucket rather than down the sink. I have a phobia for blocked drains!
    Best wishes and thanks again,

    PS I have never been able to keep a carrot in the fridge without it going bendy.

  296. Yes, we prefer your carrots minus mud. We wolf them down within a few days of delivery, so long-term storage is not an issue, and the flavor is not impaired.

  297. If the carrots are muddy, I wash them gently on receipt and if they are clean I still rinse them before refrigerating as I find they, and other veg, keep fresher and better if they are wet. Perhaps it keeps them alive? It is certainly better for my hands and sink if they are already washed on arrival. Supermarket carrots seem to be heavily scrubbed so that their surface is slightly shredded!

    I would therefore vote fore a gentle wash before packing.

  298. The more rough washing on veges the better – thanks

    When I get muddy items I try to clean them immediately anyway otherwise it makes everything so dirty, and takes up too much time just before preparing during busy weeks.

  299. I’ve had a box for approx 4 or 5years. I’ve put up with
    muddy carrots, but would disagree that they keep better with
    mud on. Even refrigerated they deteriorate more quickly. The
    mud is often heavy clay so a quick home rinse b4 storing doesn’t
    achieve much apart from silting up my drain. I would welcome washed
    carrots, assuming water only and no chemicals used?

  300. In response to your question on to wash or not to wash, I don’t much mind whether or not your veg arrives muddy or not – if they are very muddy I put them in one of your cardboard containers or paper bags in the fridge and knock the mud off and wash as I use them. I use up all your veg by the time the next box arrives, however, so if they were washed thus saving packaging your end, etc, I don’t think we’d notice much of a taste difference and wouldn’t have a problem with them not keeping! Up to you…

  301. I’d be happy for you to wash the veg and use less packaging – getting a weekly box is enough pressure to use them up quickly so I don’t think flavour would be affected.

    A comment also about the “surprising” result from your pre-Xmas survey that over 30% of people find it a struggle to use their weekly veg box contents – I’m sure this is a reflection on the struggle to eat healthily, not on Riverford boxes. I struggle to eat as much fresh fruit and veg as I should, to cook as many meals from scratch as I’d like to and sometimes to use veg I wouldn’t normally buy. However I continue with my veg box because I relish the challenge, enjoy the variety and need a fridge full of veg to keep remind me to keep cooking and eating them!

  302. Just to say that we don’t mind the mud on the veg (it does mean we have
    a muddy fridge but we just have to make sure we clean it out on a regular
    basis). Massive clods of mud on carrots etc is a little annoying
    but we appreciate that it will happen from time to time.
    Would rather not have ‘sanitised’ veg i.e the scrubbed stuff that comes
    from supermarkets. So overall mud is best.

  303. Having young children I definitely prefer washed vegetables.
    With little time on my hand I would rather spend it with my child instead of cleaning vegetables. For many mums it’s one more reason to use ready made food. So why make it more difficult and trying to be to idealistic (if it has almost no effect on flavour). It’s more important to make healthy and yummy food for many appealing.
    Also getting a box every week you have to use everything up quite quickly so it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t last as long.

  304. I thought it would be best to let customers pick when they make their order if they like muddy or cleaner. it would make bit more mess for you in terms of actually having to have both, but you could charge a bit more for clean ones to get back the cost, and who wants to clean them themselfs ( like me using the muddy water in the garden to water my plants afterwards ) and save some money will be happy, while who likes them clean will happily pay a bit more…

    Its great you CARE and thats why people like me can’t live without your box!

  305. Having read Guy Watson’s piece on Box Life dated 16th March, I thought I would throw in my two-penneth.

    I hugely appreciate having carrots washed. My husband thinks Devon is slowly but surely being transported to Somerset and there must surely be quite a lot of mud somewhere down in the sewer system!

    I keep my carrots in the fridge and I have tried leaving the mud on and washing them as and when I use them, and I have tried washing them all clean as soon as they arrive. The mess annoys me either way! However, although I haven’t undertaken a scientific experiment, it seems to me that the carrots suffer less damage if they are cleaned straight away because I have observed that, in the places where the thickest mud is stuck, I often find that some microscopic creature has started eating the carrot before I have got to it!

    I’m sure you’ve got a lovely big carrot washing machine somewhere outside where a bit of mud doesn’t hurt. It looks altogether much worse in the white sink of a small kitchen in a small bungalow. It’s enough for me to KNOW my carrots come from the earth, – I don’t need to have them presented wearing the evidence!

    Whilst on the subject – I don’t need the carrot tops or huge excesses of cabbage leaves either. Sometimes I feel that I have to bin (compost bin obviously!) half my box when I unpack it just so I can fit the contents in my fridge. (I’ve tried keeping the veg in my coolish larder but it all just goes floppy very quickly.)

    I’m in the 65% who find it fairly easy to use up the box – when in doubt make soup, I say!

    Thank you for the opportunity to share all that with you!

  306. I’m happy with muddy carrots – it’s not a problem to wash it off, it seems to keep the carrots fresh and it’s good to remember that they actually come straight out of the field and not from some supermarket shelf!

    PS – We really enjoyed the Field Kitchen evening and the Cook Book is proving invaluable – many thanks.

  307. michael and mimi

    I love it when Riverford veggies come with mud on them because it makes them real somehow – connected to the earth and wholesome – and not the artificially ‘perfect’ veg that supermarkets offer which seem so sterile in comparison. I don’t mind rinsing the mud off (I’m sure they do stay fresher for longer with mud on them!) but I won’t stop buying your delicious carrots etc. if you do decide to give them a bath first.

    Thanks for asking!

  308. I buy a huge amount of juicing carrots every week. I love the mud on (and sometimes in) them. It keeps them fresh and tasty as if they were from my own veg garden.

    Many times the carrots arrive with little white roots and sprouts and I wonder if their vitamin content is still the same.

    I would like to invite you to visit my website Please feel free to contact me for further information.

  309. robert winslowe

    Yes please!! Doing a quick wash before sending the carrots is a great idea. We’re juicing 1Kg of Riverford carrots every morning so having them partly washed in advance makes a big difference.

  310. I do not live a muddy life, but I do lead a very busy lifeso please may I vote to have washed carrots (and any other form of muddy veg for that matter)

  311. Mud is good but your arguments about less mud would make life a little easier for us customers as well as looking after your boxes to be used a few more times. Muddy veggies remind me of being able to dig fresh veggies in my own garden and tells me that your veggies have not been out of the ground for very long!!!

    On the subject of having too much of a good thing and not being to eat up the contents of a regular box – I often change my weekly order to cancel the box and to choose lots of other goodies to go into a self chosen box, delivered two days later!! Excellent service and to be recommended but don’t forget to click the ‘confirm changes’ button!!!

  312. Firstly, may I congratulate you on being voted the Best Ethical Restaurant in the OFM Food Awards 2009 – we hope to visit you one day on a visit to our daughter at Exeter University.

    Secondly, to wash or not to wash! We prefer our carrots unwashed because they keep better and we don’t manage to get through them very quickly (if you know of a good carrot chutney recipe perhaps you could put it on the back of one of the newsletters). One solution to the muddy boxes might be to pack the unwashed carrots in paper bags as you do with the potatoes and some of the other vegetables.

  313. I love your food but I would like to comment about the carrot issue.

    I much prefer the muddy carrots, ever since having the washed one’s I have had to peel them every time whereas before I just scrubbed them.
    They definitely don’t last as long and the taste is not as good. Please can we have the mud back.

    I think the your box scheme is wonderful – not just for the people eating organic but also for the wildlife and I am always recommending you to others.

  314. I have already told Paul Jardine that I thought the new clean carrots was a great step forward. My fridge was full of mud, as was my sink, and I found preparing carrots a daunting task -peeling was a tempting option.

    For us city dwellers mud makes a change but not always a welcome one. I have perservered but several friends have stopped me with ‘muddy carrots’ when I am extolling your virtues. It does put people off.

    Keep up the clean carrots please!

    Onions – This is the one vegetable I have had trouble using up, but in the end I started to bake them, and these became very popular. We seem to have had less for a while, which is a good thing, but I assume they will start again soon. I have even had to buy some!

    I find the discipline of using up what I have a good one. You can always make soup.

    I stick to a mini box which works fine for 2 adults per week, and we eat vegetarian food quite often. Perhaps your box descriptions are a bit over generous.

    Thank you. I do like being part of Riverford, and I particularly like the weekly news letter. We like to know what is happening in the country.

  315. I accept that mud keeps in the goodness.
    However, my husband refuses to prepare veg. when it’s covered in mud and gets annoyed that I still buy it like that (ie from Riverford).

    There are times when the amount of mud has seemed rather excessive.

    I would be happy with a compromise – a thin covering of mud to keep in the goodness without the big clumps of mud.This may be impossible to achieve.Perhaps the mud could be removed only when thick.

    Hope that helps.

  316. Thanks for asking about the carrots. I have very high ideals, but I am a busy mum, and the amount of dirt and the amount of scrubbing necessary does put me off sometimes. I used to get a box from you every week, and then 2 ½ years ago I got pregnant with my second child and such bad morning sickness, I couldn’t even look at a vegetable! I stopped getting your boxes because of that, but then after the baby was born, I was so busy running around after 2 kids, I just couldn’t face the thought of the dirty muddy box with all the dirty muddy vegetables. I think mud is good for vegetables, but I just don’t seem to have time to live up to my ideals! The fact that the boxes would remain cleaner and reusable for longer helps to assuage my guilt about wanting slightly cleaner carrots.

  317. andrea and family

    hi everyone at Riverford,

    we’ve been very faithful and happy customers of yours for almost 2 years now. the veggies always come fresh, and although they don’t always look perfect, they taste fantastic! once a week our kitchen gets a bit more dusty and muddy – all thanks to your box. I used to hate to clean everything – the veggies, the boxes, the counter, the sink, the floor… until I bought some ‘clean’, although organic carrots and celeriacs in a local shop. they looked good, but didn’t taste half as good as yours.
    since then I’ve changed my mind. don’t get me wrong – I’m not keen on cleaning all the muddy mess! but if that is the only way how to get the juiciest and tastiest veggies – so be it!!
    we absolutely LOVE your muddy carrots and don’t want you to ever wash them again! the ones that come in your boxes recently, they taste OK, but I bet if they were left dirty they would taste even better!! 🙂

    keep on going muddy and tasty – we love you for that!!

  318. Whilst my wife finds it a little off-putting, and sometimes ends up peeling the roots as a result instead, and I find it takes some time, I still feel strongly that they should be left as they are for best all-round results. Also, with two tiny children growing up interested in everything, I feel it’s important to demonstrate to them how it all works, and what one should really expect from one’s food. A little effort is richly rewarded by the great produce you guys (no pun intended, Guy) supply.

    On other, previously discussed, notes, I know your planning month has passed, but I was re-reading an old newsletter talking about people not knowing what to do with ‘odd’ veg. I feel very strongly about this subject, too, that Riverford should continue to help re-awaken the blinkered English public to all the great variety of vegetables and fruit out there. I sometimes wish you even varied the boxes more, just for fun! Before I started getting my box, I hadn’t heard of Kale. It is now one of my favourite edible things, and I have just planted some in my tiny patch at home. The only thing I agree had been marginally overdone a year or two back was the chard, though I did enjoy finding interesting things to do with it! The fennel, which some customers frightened you into cutting back on, I have really missed, and don’t think it appeared in my small vegbox at all last year.

    I really get excited about the prospect of getting a box of goodness every week, and am hugely satisfied to know it is food I can trust, particularly with two small children to feed. Life is hard and we’re all pushed for time, but some things are too important to put to chance, so the more tasty, healthy, interesting food we can get, cleaning required or not, the better.

    Keep up the inspiring work!

  319. John Max Greenwood

    Yes, please do wash the carrots-and parsnips- the Devon mud is beautiful, but an awful nuisance in the sink! In friendship.

  320. Personally I would be very grateful if you gave the carrots a bit of a wash before sending them my way – I certainly won’t miss my Friday night root-washing routine!

  321. Taking up Guy’s fridge suggestion. We only keep the veg. we buy in the supermarket in the fridge. Yes we occasionally fancy something that we do not want to wait for or in the next order, generally salad. We have to keep the supermarket stuff in the fridge because having been pre chilled and moisture sealed to get it to the point of sale it is generally useless after 2 days.

    By contrast our box is kept outside in the utility area. One of the benefits of the Riverford box is the lasting quality of the veg. If the roots have mud on them, as nature intended, the items stay fresh longer and taste better. Contrary to belief unwashed veg. is also easier to prepare, a scrub and a top and tail and its done. Anyone who wants to scrape, or even worse peel, a pound of carrots (or potatoes unless they are particularly blemished), wants their head examined. Why wash out peel off and throw away the taste or waste energy using the fridge ?

    I can see that mud and boxes do not mix but potatoes and beetroot come in paper bags. I guess the labour angle sort of evens out because what you save by not washing you have to spend in packaging to prevent soiling. One of the appealing features of the Riverford box is mostly the ‘just in from the field’ state of the produce. People who want pre prepared veg. can’t have it both ways.

    From what I have seen our ‘local’ organic delivery service does not have a problem in delivering muddy veg.

  322. Re your question about the mud on veg. I am not too bothered about the mud as long as I am not charged for the weight of it!

  323. I am quite happy washing root vegetables. We have washed your carrots and kept them in the frig. for four weeks( or more!) without any effect on flavour. If washing the root vegetables would be cost effective, in that it would extend the life of the boxes then go for it.
    There is another side to this. Do you pay for your effluent discharge by volume, as I understand that vegetable washing produces large volumes of ‘dirty’ water or do you recycle your wash water?
    Keep up the good work

  324. Great idea to wash the muddy veg prior to distribution. It saves a muddy trail around the house as the box gets moved and having to clean out the veg drawer in the fridge every few days!

    All gets eaten quickly enough not to make too much difference in my humble opinion 🙂

  325. It would be better for a quick wash of the really dirty root vegetables. It was a very messy job dealing with the last swede we had.
    It is one of the things that have put us off the boxes.

  326. Although originally I said I didn’t mind whether the vegetables were washed or not, I think now I would prefer washed off the large lumps of mud which just makes the veg dirty when I try to peel them and I seem to be using a lot of water (I am on a meter) to wash them myself. Also I don’t want to be paying for mud!! But then, I would
    like to say how much we enjoy the organic produce, and we are sure it tastes much better than supermarket veg and the fact that it
    is delivered by Bill (he works very hard) Thankyou.

  327. We love mud! Yes, it does mean cleaning up the veg thoroughly, but that’s all part of attentive preparation. We had one gritty meal early on, but I’d rather have the mud than not! Being on sandy soil here in Sussex, we also welcome seeing mud from different places – I certainly feel more connected with the earth – it’s all part of celebrating sustainability and stewardship of this beautiful and fragile world.

  328. Please continue washing the carrots – they taste just as good and still keep well. I hate the muddy carrots: everything gets coated in mud and water consumption to wash a handful of carrots in several homes must be much more than to wash a large quantity at the farm. I don’t need mud on my carrots to believe they have been grown in the ground!

  329. I’ve read a lot of the comments- like most of them I also don’t like thick mud clumps- and my husband always moans about ANY mud on the veg! Thank you for the recent reminder that we can look on the web page and change our order if we prefer another box’s contents.

  330. I am old enough to remember when buying veg in the shops always had some accompanying mud. I am not the slighted bit bothered about a bit of mud. Just keep the lovely veg coming 🙂

  331. My vote’s for clean carrots. I’m sure it’s more economical, and eco-friendly, for it to be done on a big scale by some big washing machine than for everyone to scrub them in the sink at home, plus it cuts down on their weight when transported. That beats sentimental, like-to-see-the-colour-of-your-mud reasons for leaving them alone in my book.

  332. We are new to you as customers but we love the veg we have had. It may cost a little more than shop bought but the quality is out standing and it lasts well. The thought that we are also helping local business is great. The mud issue I don’t mind the mud as I have outside storage but I can understand that some people may have issues with it. I’m just worried that it will change taste and quality.

  333. I have been getting your veg box for only a few months now and was really satisfied to see and smell mud on the veg. My boyfriend and I commented how nice and natural it was. Then reading this mud debate did make me stop and think….. ‘Oh yer, the carrots have been delivered cleaner!’ ……… I had forgotten to take notice! SOUNDS like everyone else has forgotten the joys of growing your own veg. I say keep on the mud, or just go up to the supermarket for every infection but mud! 😉

  334. Please leave the mud on, the flavour is tons better and the mud reminds me of my childhood days when we used to pull carrots fresh from our garden. Haven’t got room to store them in my fridge anyway.

  335. Lindsey Dalgety

    Sorry to be rather tardy with my views.

    I approve of cleaned carrots. I got quite worried (not really) sometimes with how much mud (prime agricultural land) was going down the drain as I peeled the carrots. Wondered if I should return a shovelful every now and then, in the same requirement as taking soil up the slope of a field! So clean carrots – good.

  336. Alice and John Nissen

    Although it is a slight chore to wash the carrots – a small scrubbing brush in fact does the job admirably in a few seconds – I much prefer the resulting carrot to the one I am now getting which has been prewashed by you. I have long been used to the pre-washed ones from the supermarket but over the last couple of years getting all veg from Riverford, I have been amazed at how fresh and attractive carrots are once scrubbed of their mud even after backing up in my fridge for a couple of weeks. They look fresh from the field as long as one carrot-scrubs just before using them. The washing process obviously brings about changes and they start looking a bit wan.

    If the mud lobby loses out to the no mud lobby, I won’t mind that much. As you say, they do keep in the fridge, but I notice not nearly as long as ‘au naturelle’ and the virant colour diminishes.

    Huge thanks for your great veg, your interesting newletters – always carefully read – and the recipes.

  337. Dear Guy
    Your “Box Life” article was very interesting. Although I usually get the mini box, as I live alone I do find that I get stockpiles, especially of carrots – and sometimes potatoes and onions too. I make soups and eat lots of veg but even so I often can’t get through the whole box.

    I was very glad to find less mud on the carrots recently – cleaning the very muddy ones was quite a messy business.

    I often use the recipes on the website.

    Best wishes, thanks for the usually excellent veg

  338. Terry & Valerie

    I really dislike washed carrots, unwashed are one of the joys of Riverford boxes, they keep and also taste better. This week I could no longer cope with more unwashed carrots and cancelled my box, choosing other items in its place. If you continue to wash the carrots I will be selective over my weekly items and avoid anything unwashed. Carrots this week! parsnips and potatoes next?? Please if need be tap off mud clumps but don’t wash

  339. Personally have been pleased not to have my box dropping mud all the way down the hall to the kitchen in recent weeks.
    The recipes are great, family faves are kale with potatos, leek champ and shallots in red wine. I f a busy week means surplus veg, soup is the way to go folks!

  340. Getting rid of the mud is the thin edge of the wedge, what next – grated carrots?

  341. A very interesting debate, washed or unwashed. I think we do not want supermarket style cleaning however it is always a bit of a nuisance when having to remove the clumps of mud from the root vegtables. Mud always appears to be in the box as well(unavoidable I know with this quality and presenation of product) but it does system to dirty the cleaner veg left in the box. So a little help in removing the larger deposits will be very much appreicated.

  342. by all means knock off the clods, but please don’t wash the carrots. Washed carrots start to dry out and have to be peeled to remove the dry, discoloured surface. I find that if you scrub the mud off a carrot just before use, it doesn’t need to be peeled.

  343. Margaret and Malcolm

    We don’t mind a bit of mud but wonder whether your fields are shrinking!!
    Have to say the kitchen window is never clean these days – the carrots (and other veg) are prepared at the sink just beside the window!

  344. This is clearly a divisive issue. My wife really doesn’t like the mud (poor city girl that she is), whereas I welcome the advantages of leaving them as they were pulled out of the ground. I wish you did the same to the leeks (i.e. left their roots intact, mud and all, as they, too, would last longer). All of these things can be left outside the back door in a bucket with water in it to keep them as fresh as possible.

    The problem is clearly one of convenience, but we can see the effects of the pursuit of convenience across the western world, and now beyond. The price is the Earth. Whilst the carrots have to get washed somewhere along the line, and perhaps doing it at Riverford is the most efficient place to do it, the more general desire for an easy life is precisely what we should all be fighting against (supermarkets, driving cars everywhere, throw-away culture, more energy and other resource consumption – perhaps I should stop now…)

  345. I prefer to keep the mud on. Good organic soil is the only means of acquiring the vital vitamin B12. The majority of people are deficient in this vitamin which in my opinion leads to neuro type ailments like alzeimers.
    I eat only a raw food diet and leave some of the soil/dirt on my organic root veg to make sure I get my true B12 source by ating traces of the dirt

  346. PLEASE don’t wash them. I have a cool larder which is fine for unwashed roots kept in a recyled potato bag – they last weeks & weeks (if they get the chance). Washed carrots don’t taste nearly as good and they have to go in the fridge if they’re to be kept more than a few days. But my fridge is miniscule, so that’s not an option. Buying a bigger fridge so I can cope with washed roots doesn’t seem very eco-friendly!

    Couldn’t you introduce a ‘WASHED BOX’ for those who dislike mud, and leave the rest of us to enjoy the natural product?

  347. I don’t understand why people who want supermarket-style veg don’t just get them from a supermarket? Speed, convenience – just buy them frozen and ready prepared!

    Mud in the fridge? No need to store muddy veg in the fridge – they’ll keep anywhere cool.

    Mud in the sink? Wash them in a bowl! Use the same water for washing all roots for one meal then chuck the muddy water on the garden, if you have no garden use it to water house plants or put it down the loo – if you use it instead of a flush you’ve saved the water you used to wash it!

    Last week I threw carrots out because they were rotting – never had that problem before they were washed.

  348. We are becoming a very sterile nation. So what if there’s a bit of mud in the fridge. It doesn’t take long to clean.

    I would hate the veg to get cleaned like the supermarket. Surely this is the beauty of knowing that the veg is fresh out the ground (and it lasts so much longer).

    PLEASE keep the mud on..

  349. Please leave the mud on, I think they taste better and its not that much of a hassle to clean. I work full time and am often not back in the house until 6:30 but it only takes a couple of minutes to clean even the muddiest carrots, why sacrifice any taste? I solve the mud in the fridge problem by just shoving the whole box in the fridge!

  350. Please keep washing the carrots! I prefer not to have clumps of mud on the kitchen floor from carrying the box in. No need to get it all off, just the big clumps. But please can we have them every other week instead of every week. Onions and potatoes are a staple yes – but carrots? I get sick to death of them and I used to love ’em. Am I alone?

  351. Adrian & Angela Ramshaw

    With reference to your newsletter regarding the muddy carrots, I would prefer them to be washed as they make the bottom of the fridge very dirty. I also find I am left with big clods of mud in the sink which I then have to pick out so it does not block the waste pipe.

  352. Ruth Preston - Hoar

    Responding to Guy’s words in newsletter 410, I do feel that a bit less mud would be preferable but also appreciate that it does help the veg keep better. I think a good compromise would be to do a quick wash when roots are very muddy (presumably when it has rained before or doing harvesting) but to not do so when the mud is dry/falls off easily.

  353. This week’s box is the muddiest ever! The carrots are HORRIBLY muddy.

    I have reduced my weekly box now to every fortnight as it is such a delight to buy supermarket veg without all the mud – despite all my ethics not to do this.

    Please sort the mud problem out – quick – or I am sure there are other customers feeling the same as me.

  354. Susan Atkinson

    I had one delivery of muddy carrots and the rest have been clean. Although I like the natural look of carrots straight out of the ground I did find the mud difficult to scrub off and have preferred them clean. I guess I eat my carrots too quickly to notice any difference in taste due to the wash. However, I would weigh the costs involved in cleaning them. If it adds significant cost to shower, then I would be happy to scrub away.

  355. I was ecstatic to see that you started to wash your carrots so very sad that they were unwashed today. Please keep washing them! I am no wimp but the mud at times clogs my sink up and to be honest with two young children with after school activities even having washed carrots saves valuable time – sometimes I have only 20 minutes to get things done!

  356. May I say I am a keen and longterm supporter of organically grown produce. Back in the late eighties I delivered boxes within the M25 perimeter and in 1990 went to Kenya to start exporting the fruit and veg grown by members of the Kenya Organic Farmers Association. Due to personal circumstances I did not get ‘off the ground’.

    Muddy carrots…well at the end of the winter growing period carrots can tend to lose some of their sweetness, if then they are washed too, I know not to expect too much from them certainly in their raw state.

    Generally I don’t peel carrots or potatoes before cooking, a quick scrub does fine. If they have been washed a lot depends on the soil they’ve been grown in. The dark soil, almost a stain, that remained on carrots and potatoes earlier this year required them to be peeled.

    Please try really hard not to wash your veg.

    With thanks and kind regards and congratulations for the recent ‘wins’,

  357. If and when the decision to wash the roots comes, please don’t use those nasty big washer machines that take the top layer/skin off them in the process. These are what the supermarkets use and as a result you lose the most nutrient rich part of the vegetable. Please don’t go down that route (no pun intended!)as I’m sure people will go elsewhere for their produce and we just love you as you are!

  358. Having quickly peeled some carrots for my kids to eat as a snack, it was much easier to do it without the mud on. When I buy bigger sacks of carrots, I don’t have room (obviously!) in the fridge, so the mud acts as a preservative as I keep these for 2 – 3 weeks in the back porch or garage.

  359. Has anyone suggested offering both washed and muddy carrots? You could just carry on offering what you do, and offer washed carrots as an extra.

  360. As a busy Mum with young children, my vote is for less mud please!

  361. Sheila Greenhalgh

    Adam Hardy’s very logical suggestion could be the solution to this heated debate!

  362. I have to admit, I do sometimes skip the box carrots and potatoes just to have a ‘week off’ from the mud. I do dread preparing them because of the mess. Also, not so good for dry housewife hands as the mud gets into the cracks where skin is excessively dry, very hard to remove!

  363. I don’t mind a bit of mud but I’m not keen on large chunks of it especially if its wet and caked on.

  364. I understand the point of the mud (!) and it doesn’t stop me getting the box, but have found it necessary to put aside a good 20-30 mins to ‘process’ a box of muddy veg into a state ready to go into the fridge or be used.
    And then the kitchen bench needs wiping down – it makes cooking with fresh veg on a delivery day that little bit less likely to get done!

    The washed carrots were great (IMHO) and went straight into the stew, skins and all, whereas normally I peel them, just to get through the mud more quickly.

    BTW, I could really use a guide to cooking times for some of the veg – just basic things like how long to boil or bake beetroot/parsnip/swede for, etc. None of my recipe books have this info and sometimes the answers seem to be unexpected.

  365. I vote for the mud but agree that Adam Hardy’s idea is a good one. ……and I’d also like to see carrots in my mini fruit & veg box more often please.

  366. I vote is for the washed- it is so much easier to store and prepare veg when it is clean, and no dried mud balls dropped through my house on the way to the kitchen- does not matter how careful I am some mud always drops through the small holes in the box and I have to get the hoover out. Surely the washings can be added back to the field, otherwise it will get lower over time? Just a thought?

  367. I think some washing is a good idea. the carrots especially have left mud in the fridge (through the holes in the bag) and mud from the swede has got on other things. I wonder whether cleaner root veg would encourage more people to use the boxes – especially those with little time. Re waste, I never throw any food away.

  368. Jeanine Wright

    Have loved less mud – please keep washing.
    I don’t get my veg box because I’m a mud-loving, supermarket-hating eco-warrior (sorry folks but that’s how many of you sound!!). I have a box to force me to cook and eat more veg because I know it’s good for my family and to support local growers which I think is important. I am very busy (and probably a little lazy!) and would appreciate your help in keeping me on the straight and narrow…so please keep washing off the mud.

  369. It’s very easy to peel the vegetables without washing off the mud first. Just peel over your compost (the small inside bin). This way the dirt and peelings go in the compost and there is no wasted water. Keep on doing whatever is most cost effective for Riverford and pass on the savings!

  370. PLEASE , PLEASE, PLEASE don’t start washing your roots on a regular basis. One of the attractions of receiving a box from you is that the roots look like ‘real’ veg and bear no resemblance to anaemic supermarket specimens. On a practical level I am convinced that a coating of mud does significantly improve their keeping properties. I am prepared to forgive you for your aberation in washing last weeks carrots but if it becomes regular practice it will be a sad day as far as I am concerned and, this may sound over dramatic, but would reduce the attractiveness of your boxes for me.

  371. I think it would be a good idea to wash them lightly as it makes preparing them much easier and I dont think it will make a noticeable difference to the fantastic taste – keep up the good work

  372. Hi Everyone, i feel that removing the bigger clumps of earth would be a great help.

    Please keep up the good work though, missed a order a couple of weeks ago and had to resort to Supermarket veg, the taste and quality was not in the same class…..

  373. I dont usually mind the soil – apart from the big lumps!of sticky mud; but even those are easy enough to deal with. I’m old enough to remember when all veg came like that!
    I designate one of the salad drawers in the fridge to the muddy stuff; which contains any mess. My tip for cleaning the muddy things is to use a green pot scourer (kept for this purpose) as it doesn’t spray muddy water around like a brush does.

  374. Don’t wash! One of the reasons why we abandoned supermarkets was the unfeasibily clean/orange state of their carrots. It’s only mud and it makes me feel warm and wholesome cleaning them, knowing that they haven’t undergone any processing.

  375. very muddy root veg is a big problem in a tiny kitchen and with small fridge. So please keep em rinsed. Also hard to get rid of mud from boxes which i have to store in my wardrobe between delivery days….

  376. Light washing would be appreciated in our household – it would save us time, keep our fridge cleaner and I doubt it would affect the taste. Veg doesn’t haven to be gleaming though!

    Keep up the good work 🙂

  377. I really would like you to continue to give a quick wash to the root vegetables since heavy mud is so difficult to deal with in a small kitchen. “Dirt” on the vegetables is fine. I spent a considerable amount of time not only washing the vegetables but cleaning the box with a damp cloth which then had to be washed!

  378. You can choose to wash carrots before putting them in the fridge if you wish to, preferably in a bowl. That leaves others with the choice of keeping them, in or out of the fridge, in their unwashed state. You can then wash/peel them in a bowl and put all your peelings/outer leaves etc in, let the mud settle, then gently tip out the water and put all the rest in the compost bin. Your own or the council’s one. So please I am still for mud on, but maybe put some washed ones on as extras.

  379. I really would like you to continue to give a quick wash to the root vegetables since heavy mud is so difficult to deal with in a small kitchen. “Dirt” on the vegetables if fine and confirms them as from a local farm. I did spend a considerable amount of time not only washing the vegetables but cleaning the box with a damp cloth for return which then had to be washed!

  380. Sofie Rasmussen

    With mud the carrots keep fine in the cellar for a couple of weeks, but when washed the carrots have to go in the fridge. Please can we have them muddy, for longer and easier keeping.

  381. I would prefer washed root veg.

    I work full-time and washing the veg on the evening of the day the box has arrived feels like a chore. (It seems unhygienic to put mud in the fridge!)

    Because opinion is split, I think the deciding factor should be environmental. Bulk washing would use less water and enable you to retain your soil. Also the fact that there would then be less packaging as boxes can be re-used more times is a valid consideration.

    Regarding people having leftovers – I make soups out of a lot of the veg that I have no other use for (leek & potato; carrot; broccoli and or cauliflower; beetroot; butternut squash and sweet potato; and more. I then freeze individual portions and they keep me going as lunches to take to work.

    Juicing is also good for using up veg which is excess to requirements, eg, carrots and or broccoli to some apples or pears is delicious.

    Thank you for asking our opinion on this issue and for your excellent quality veg boxes.

  382. I like the mud, and don’t mind cleaning up after it. It says “fresh and organic” to me.

    Regarding using up any leftover veg: JUICE IT! and this includes cauliflower (lovely creamy juice) and dark green leaves (very unpleasant, but tiny quantity and highly medicinal!) and any other veg. Some Juice recipes on the leaflet might help.

  383. Hi
    I LOVE the boxes but hate the mud. My hands actually have mud in the cracks now.

    Also I am pregnant and to be honest don’t really like coming in contact with mud every week because of the risk of toxoplasmosis – you are not meant to garden without gloves.

    Please wash the carrots (and parsnips!)

  384. Mud washed off on all root veg please.

  385. Although always suspicious of squeaky clean organic carrots I do appreciate not having half of Peterborough in my kitchen sink. So keep up the minimalist washing – maybe then you wouldnt have to put them in plastic bags which I hate. I would imagine if you take it to the extreme it would reduce the weight of the boxes as well and therefore transport costs and carbon emissions!?

  386. I have no problem with the mud. We always have an extra 2kg bag of carrots each week. I dry them off in the box for a while and enjoy pulling the mud off. I then put the carrots in one of the brown bags in the fridge and they keep just great. Please don’t remove the mud.

  387. I think the mud should be left on – the veg definitely taste better and keep better. To avoid getting the fridge dirty, I keep the half size brown paper bags and the cardboard trays other veg come in and put muddy veg into these, and then into the fridge (the large brown bags get doubled up and then receive our compostable veg waste and when full get thrown entire on to the compost heap.) The generously donated mud from the veg gets thrown on to the garden with the washing water in order not to waste it.

    The mud is not hard to wash off if you leave the veg in water for a few minutes. The carrots smell wonderful as you scrub them.

    Surely people don’t PEEL their veg???

    Also agree with those who are surprised that people buying fresh organic vegetables should want them to be like supermarket ones

    Thanks for the free gifts we’ve had lately – much appreciated

  388. Muddy carrots are a nuisance to wash but more importantly it uses quite a lot of water to do this for a small quantity of veg. It needs to be adequately flushed to stop the kitchen drain silting up.

    All in all we prefer our carrots washed!

  389. I would prefer my vegetables to be mud free. In the past when my carrots & parsnips had mud on them they made an awful mess, the mud got into the rest of the boxes contents and in the fridge box. Please keep the vegetables as mud free as possible!

  390. I’m happy with some dirt but if there is too much, I find it hard to get the mud off.

    Also, I shouldn’t think too much silt is good for the sink.

    Keep up the great work.

  391. I’d much rather have the mud and be able to keep the carrots for longer. Love the fresh out of the ground feel to them too!

  392. We just cannot understand all this paranoia about mud on vegetables.
    Years ago no vegetables were washed – zero waste of energy !

    Contrary to belief unwashed carrots and most unwashed root vegetables, provided that they are reasonably fresh, require MUCH LESS PREPARATION and retain a much better flavour. A scrub, a top and tail, cut to size and the job is done.

    When delivered pre-washed carrots (even from Riverford) are not in as good condition as the unwashed. Pre-washed carrots do not keep as long because the skin, which protects the vegetable, and stops it drying out, is inevitably subject to handling damage in the pre-washing process.

    Pre-washed can also require more preparation because aging accelerates after washing, unless refrigeration is used. Peeling or scraping, which may be necessary, also allows a lot of the flavour to leach out during the cooking process. If you don’t believe this just think a minute, you wouldn’t dream of peeling a beetroot before you cooked it would you ?

    Factory pre prepared supermarket vegetables are available for those who cannot stand the site of mud in the sink, dirt on their hands or a skin on their vegetables.

    Keep up the good work Guy, we like vegetables fresh from the field and we like to see the good red Devon soil from time to time.

  393. Jacqueline Beattie

    I had washed carrots arrive – they DEFINITELY TASTED WATERY – i was able to do a taste comparison with the few not so washed i had left from the week before – I admit the huge clods were a new challenge – i developed a firm “rubbing off first” technique with my hands before any water and brush which helped a lot
    I also have a brilliant Japanese coconut fibre veg brush which is totally magic- better than any green scourer or nylon brush – easy to get online although i have sugested that Riverford start to stock it as i believe it would be a great aid for all of us! I lightly wrap muddy carrots in kitchen towel before stowing in my fridge salad draw (also lined with reclyed kitchen towel -really minimises- on mud splatter!

  394. I was disappointed to see my carrots washed and in a sealed plastic bag. I agree with Jacqueline please do not wash. They taste different.

  395. So many comments – I have not read them all so it is possible I am simply repeating what is already said.
    I was relieved to see cleaner carrots after the ones we have been receiving. I don’t mind them a bit muddy but lately they have had great lumps of soil on them. I don’t like to wash this down the sink so I have been scraping it off. At least your soil is then in my compost and not wasted. However this often leads to mud flying around the kitchen and is time consuming.

  396. I appreciate the carrots having a bit of a wash when it is particulalry muddy as I hate to see all that lovely Devon earth going down the drain when I wash them. If I leave it on in the fridge it can get a bit soggy. I wouldn’t want you to srub them clean but just take off the worst.

  397. Tracey Pargeter

    A brilliant idea, as long as the taste is not greatly affected. The week we had washed carrots was a real treat and it was good not to have to worry about the amount of mud going down our sink that week.

    Washed would make our very busy family life a little bit easier. hope you decide to run with it.

  398. I am definately on the PLEASE DO NOT WASH THEM side. They are much fresher with the dirt & mud attached & easy to peel over the compost bin even with the muddy bits attached. Its a reminder that they have grown in the soil.

  399. Definitely agree with a comment left earlier – please wash the carrots and then get rid of the plastic bags you deliver them in!

    We eat our whole box of veg each week (isn’t that the idea of a weekly box – so that you don’t need to store the veg???) and the mud in our small kitchen and fridge is a nightmare. Also, I know you recycle the plastic bags the carrots come in but surely it is better to do without in the first place?

  400. Only just got round to logging on to this blog so my comment’s rather late.
    Although I like roots kept in their mud, I have concerns about sending all that good earth down the drain. I presume your washings go back on the land but mine head down to the sewers. I do try to peel them into the compost bucket but the mud still gets everywhere and they need washing anyway.
    So washed carrots for me please.

  401. I guess this may be against the consensus of opinion but…
    Carrots should NOT be water treated for the following reasons:
    1) The plastic bagged and ‘rinsed’ carrots arrive in a poorer condition than those that are left with _some_ mud on them.
    I usually get the juicing carrots but last week got some regular ones too. Compared to the juicing ones, those that had been treated with water were going rotten both at the stalk end as well as some at the tip. I ended up cutting quite a bit off most of them to get back to the core that was not affected -and that was on the day of delivery!
    The unwashed juicing carrots in the paper sack by contrast are in so much better condition, rather than rotting back the chopped off stalk is attempting to grow! and the tips are always firm and intact too.
    However, excessive mud on the carrots is not good as it has to be transported and I begin to wonder how much mud I am paying for instead of carrot.
    2) Processing the carrots with water will cost more.
    More in terms of Riverford staff time, therefore financial cost to the consumer.
    More in terms of demand on a limited natural resource, water. – yes I know CO2 is the big favourite these days but we need to wake up to the threat of an ever reducing quality and quantity of water – just Google ‘water shortage’ to find out more.
    Even when the carrots are rinsed, we still use yet more water to clean them at home. I say – dirty carrots > peel > rinse once.
    I think it’s sad that we, even as conscientious organic food choosing consumers, still cling to outmoded desires for convenience over the environment. If you want clean organic carrots you might try Sainsburys, they excel at this.
    Reading some of the comments above I’m guessing there is a different level of experience with this across the country but I think in principle my comments still apply.
    Thanks for listening to customer feedback.

  402. Personally I prefer the mud to be washed off, although not to the extreme extent of say Sainsbury’s bag of organic carrots (a bit of dirt doesn’t hurt). It’s a bit of a ying and yang thing- mud off uses more water at Farm HOWEVER mud on requires extra packaging to be delivered to consumer and then many we’ll wash the mud off anyway ?

  403. When I first started getting your boxes it was a bit of a pain to have all the mud and to have to wash the veggies before I used them each time but after a while you realise this really does help the veg keep its flavour for longer.

    We only have a box fortnightly so I want my veg to stay fresh for as long as possible – once the carrots, or other veg has been washed it starts to deteriorate very quickly. I agree that it would be nice for large lumps of mad to be knocked off if possible but on the whole I’d prefer to keep the veg dirty.

    I keep any brown paper bags I’ve been given and re-use them to keep as much mud out of the fridge or cupboard as I can. Much prefer the paper bags to the plastic ones as it keeps the veg drier and dark too.

    I don’t want clean and shiny veggies at the price of tasteless veggies that only last a few days!

    Keep up the good work!

  404. I appreciate having some of the mud washed off – my peeler doesn’t work well with too much grit and I seem to use a lot of water to wash the grit down the sink. If they were washed en masse, surely it would take less water rather than many individual washings.

  405. Dennis and Lynne

    Here we have a classic situation where there is no “right” answer. The mud may be a minor problem for many, including us, but leaving it on is good for the veg. Yet, take it away and less packaging is required. …pros and cons both ways.
    We solve the problem of mud down the drain by washing our veg in a washing up bowl. The peelings and trimmings can go in there as well and then we dump the whole thing in our compost bin. The addition of organic soil along with organic vegetable matter must be good for our compost heap and, ultimately, good for our garden soil. Thank you Riverford for supplying us with a source of organic soil.

  406. More mud washed off would be best for me – the carrots keep well without the big clumps of mud that I’ve noticed recently! I’m not asking for well-scrubbed roots, just fewer big lumps to clog up my peeler. Seeing so much of that nice red clay soil makes me homesick for the West Country too…

  407. Having read Jacqueline Beattie’s comments about the Japanese Coconut brush, I bought one from ebay – what a brilliant brush for washingthe mud off. It doesn’t spray mud everywhere, is much easier than a green scourer due to the shape and size. If Riverford can add them to the pantry great if not then check out ebay for less than £5. That is the last little niggle on muddy veg sorted.

    On the usage of water, the only bit wasted is the processing as the water eventually completes the circle, sure the less you use the less processing for the water companies, but even with leaky pipes you don’t lose it.

  408. It’s so much better when the carrots have been washed. It’s much quicker to prepare clean vegetables and I hate having all of the mud in the bottom of the fridge. Also, my husband insists that we throw the muddy water onto the garden to protect the drains and the soil level must be getting higher.

  409. I vote for unwashed carrots and other veg. I keep them in the fridge in old carrier bags (reused several times). Then I scrub the veg only when I use them. They are much fresher than washed ones and I think they take less effort to prepare than washed ones whose skins have started to go brown as those ones have to be scrubbed again and then peeled.
    I would prefer the other veg in the box not to touch the mud, but this could be achieved by putting a layer of paper between them.

  410. Hmm, very tricky this. Part of the fun of getting a box is the feeling that you could have picked it yourself, so the mud is authentic and it’s very satisfying to turn a pile of muddy veg into something delicious to eat. On the other hand… it does make life quicker and easier when they’re washed – plus the guinea pig benefits. She gets to share more carrots when they’re clean because the daughters can’t be bothered to wash the muddy ones…

  411. No mud is best our carrots are eaten within a few days

  412. I would like a bit less mud, not supermarket squeaky clean, but less clumps of mud. As a busy mum I could certainly do without the time it takes to scrub them , ands its difficult to get the kids to help becasue they get filthy, which I dont always have time to deal with as well as getting dinner on the table. I also find I have to peel the carrots because I cant get them clean enough which seems a shame.

  413. A couple of reasons below why you should not remove the mud:

    This is the scenario last night:
    – Last night I made potato and carrot mash with your washed carrots. We keep the box in our pantry. I had not taken the carrots out of their plastic bag, because they were wet they had started to grow mold, little white roots on the outside and some started to rot. So a lot of waste.

    Further reasons:
    1. wet carrots which are not removed from their plastic bags, start to rot and growing mould.
    2. the mud is a natural protection, keeping the carrots longer fresh.
    3. mud is easily removed as indicated by fellow bloggers.
    4. The mud also gives it that authentic feel, which is so important to understand for my children.
    5. If I wanted scrubbed vegetables, I would buy them from the supermarket.

    Finally on the point of plastic bags:
    They suffocate the vegetables or create an unhealthy climate in the bag (noteably damp).
    We used to get our vegetables from another supplier simply wrapped in paper. Is this a viable alternative for you?

  414. if you ever get time to read these 400 odd comments could I suggest we have a choice of mud or non mud on the carrots.

    Then everyone will be pleased.

    I will definitely pick mud on me carrots, beside the scrapings go in my compost bin enriching our sandy soil.

  415. I doubt a 400th view on this subject will change anyone’s mind, but for me, it’s mud on.
    Carrots are the single most veg that is chucked in the bin as a mouldy mess.
    We’ve only got a tiny kitchen and an even smaller fridge/freezer. so we have to ration what goes in the cool storage and what goes in a low deep drawer (Onions, Potatoes, carrots/ swede etc). Most of those things will easily last a week or more in the drawer (including muddy carrots), but unwashed carrots just destroy themselves.
    The best system i’ve come up with is to put half the carrotts, spring greens, brocoli in the fridge whilst sacrificing the other half in the drawer and hope i can get through the room tempreture lot in a day or two before they go off. Hardly ever works like that though.

  416. Please, please, clean them! When I get home to find my veg box, I do not want to trail mud through the house as I carry it from back door to kitchen, and I do not want to have to spend time killing my back bending over a sink cleaning mud off veg before it can be stored, never mind about used. I don’t need to see the mud to be reassured that it’s organic, any more than I need it wrapped in some twee straw thing, or to have an “ooh arrrh look at me I’m from Devon” label. I just want healthy, tasty veg, to cook. There’s nothing wrong with mud, but it belongs in the garden, not the house.

  417. PLEASE keep the mud on! I pop them straight into one of your recyclable plastic bags, clumps and all, and into the fridge. I’ve never had problems with them sweating or rotting and they keep excellently well that way for three weeks. I swear they taste like the ones we had as kids – which also came clumped in mud. It’s very easy just to shake off the mud into the bin and then give them a quick rinse under the tap. More MUD GLORIOUS MUD, please 🙂

  418. Quite the controversy it would seem!!
    I definitely prefer it on, it absolutely keeps them fresher, and takes but a moment to wash under the sink. Same with spuds.
    It reminds me of pulling them out of my mum’s vege garden…
    If I wanted oversanitised veg i’d go to the supermarket!

  419. I vote for a bit of a clean up. I wash all my veg before putting them in my veg, leaving the muddiest ones until last. This means carrots might end up sitting on the side for 3 days before I get round to washing them and putting them in the fridge! If they are washed (but it doesn’t have to be full on perfect washing) you also don’t need to bag them (imo).
    Unfortunately I don’t often eat the skins as after my washing attempts the skins still have a muddy taste.

  420. Can I have all the mud people don’t want? I am going to create my own carrot farm 🙂

  421. Because I’m saving quite a lot of time not shopping, driving etc, I really don’t begrudge 10 mins on arrival of veg bxes organising and sorting, removing plastic packaging, and later cleaning veg if necessary, but don’t go mad with water usage. Also having to spend a bit longer thinking and planning veg we eat, what, when, how to cook, and how to avoid any waste at all if poss. is really good for all our diets, (hungry teenage family) and general attitude to food. Kids told whatever it is, that’s what it is, and it has to be eaten! Personally feel some dirt aids keeping quality, loathe plastic bags and love paper its reusable and compostable. I suppose conclusion is I much prefer more thoughtful and appreciative approach to food prep. Its added a real satisfying dimension to family meal making . So thanks Riverford!

  422. with the mud I think they keep a little better and taste much better. I have a “muddy” box in the fridge specially for this and appreciate the extra flavour, and never peel them either.

  423. I bought a 2kg bag of carrots from the extras list this week and was very disappointed! They were SO squeaky clean, pale in colour and relatively tasteless that I might just as well have bought them from the supermarket!! In addition many of the carrots were broken (presumably having happened in the washing process); the brown bag was also damp. The washed carrots in plastic bags I’ve received in the veg boxes recently have been so damp that the ends of the carrots have started rotting after only a few days. Has a final decision been made; are you going to be washing carrots from now on? I have to say that if you are then I will try to source muddy carrots from elsewhere and endeavour to grow more of my own.

    Apart from this gripe, I have been a very satisfied customer over the years…..honestly!!!

  424. I know we are all busy and most people would love to have their vegetables clean so we don’t need to spend much time preparing it. But I prefer when the vegetables are muddy, because after washing they will loose lots of VITAMINS and I think these days when everything is low in vitamins anyway it is a shame to waste any more…. If we would grow our own vegetables in our garden we would have to wash it anyway. So please keep them MUDDY

  425. Please don’t wash the carrots!

  426. I must say that I prefer the carrots to be washed. The advantages for me (as with numerous other people above) is less preparation time and a cleaner fridge and sink.

    I have only been receiving the veg boxes for a couple of months and I am really impressed with the quality of produce and the service has been exceptional. I do recommend Riverford whenever I get the chance.

  427. Looks like this comment is a little late, but…
    I am convinced, after years and years and years as a carrot eater, that CARROTS KEEP MUCH BETTER WITH THE MUD ON.

  428. fingersandtoes

    This comment’s a little late too but relevant – my carrots and onions were muddy this week and I didn’t mind a bit! Honestly if it helps them keep and preserves the flavour that’s all good.

    As I only cook for myself I have a fortnightly box and in summer I’m having to really plan in order to eat the things that perish quickly first (lettuce, beans, peas etc), which usually results in the carrots and potatoes being eaten last. So anything that helps the carrots keep longer is great. If I have to rinse out the veggie bin, so what?

  429. I like the carrots better since you went back to leaving the mud on. They keep fresh For the whole week.

  430. Caroline Russell

    Blimey! we’re a fussy lot. Haven’t managed to read all the comments but just want to say I live in London and much prefer mud on my carrots. They keep longer and taste better. I use the scrubbing time (a few seconds with a decent veg brush) to think about what I’m going to cook. And by the way, I line the fridge salad storage box with newspaper.

  431. Yep, there’s no doubt about it – muddy carrots stay fresher longer. I like them that way.

  432. I just chuck the whole bunch in an old carrier bag and put that in the fridge – it stays clean enough.

  433. Goodness, I thought this debate was long over. I did leave a comment in 2009 where I supported the washing of carrots. I must admit I am much happier with the washed version. I have been a customer for 17 years, and never questioned the mud before, but I know any new customers I have introduced to Riverford found the mud a real barrier to becoming regular customers. My sister said, “it’s like cleaning my son’s football boots!” I think the way forward is minimal/no mud on any of the vegetables. I have tried (a free sample) one of your competitors boxes and that was completely mud free, but saved time, mess and effort.

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