Whether you’re short on time, stuck in a recipe rut, or want to eat well without the fuss of planning and shopping, our organic recipe boxes are a simple and inspiring way to cook.
We’ve recently refreshed the range, adding vegan options, and the ability to mix and match recipes. Here are 5 good reasons to order a Riverford recipe box:
It will transform your cooking
Choose from 12 weekly changing recipes written by the cooks based on our Devon farm. Our veg nerd chefs, Kirsty, Val and Bob, draw their inspiration from the seasonal veg growing on the farm to write inspiring, creative and original recipes, so you’ll cook something new every time.
It’s faff free
Every box comes with all the ingredients you need measured out, step-by-step recipe cards and helpful cooking tips. All the joy of cooking, none of the hassle.
It’s 100% organic with 0% waste
Over 30 years’ experience of growing and cooking goes into your box. All our fresh, seasonal ingredients are organic. We send you the exact amount you need, so you won’t end up throwing anything away, or with endless half pots of this and that cluttering your kitchen.
You can order what you like, whenever you like
Choose from any number of 1-12 recipes to feed two people, as often or little as you like, with the option of adding any other items from your weekly shopping list (veg, fruit, dairy, milk, kitchen cupboard) to your order.
Delivery is free
And even if you’re not in, you can place your order and know you’ll be coming home to an evening of hassle free cooking and an inspiring home cooked meal.
See upcoming recipes, find out more and order here.
From time to time, you might hear us refer to the Hungry Gap. This is the hardest time of year for UK farmers: a few weeks, usually in April, May and early June, after the winter crops have ended but before the new season’s plantings are ready to harvest.
It all comes down to the UK’s latitude. We sit right at the geographical limit for many spring crops, which would not survive our cold winter temperatures if grown any earlier. At the same time, as the days warm up into spring, many hardy winter crops like sprouts, kales, and caulis ‘bolt’ (abandon leaf growth to start producing flowers and seeds). The result is unproductive fields – and sometimes, rather repetitive boxes! In fact, our 100% UK veg box has to stop completely for a few weeks every year.
If it’s such a dire time, why hasn’t everyone heard more about the Hungry Gap before – or noticed its impact on their plates?
Airfreight and artificial heat
The name ‘the Hungry Gap’ harks back to a time when an empty field really meant going hungry. Traditionally, the gap had to be bridged with a spartan diet of cabbage, old potatoes, and fruits preserved during kinder months. These days, however, very few people eat a local, seasonal diet; the supermarkets can easily top up their shelves with even more imported produce, or crops grown in the UK under heated glass, and no one need notice the difference.
Of course, we don’t want anyone going hungry – but unfettered airfreight and artificial heat isn’t an environmentally responsible solution. Over the years, Riverford has worked out a pretty good system of workarounds and intelligent compromises, allowing us to keep our veg boxes varied, fresh and full without sacrificing our founding values…
Finding a better way
Like the supermarkets, we rely more on imported produce during the Hungry Gap. However, whether in the UK or abroad, we only work with small-scale organic farmers that we know, trust, and look after for the long term. A few of us recently went out to visit some of our growers in Spain, who have been keeping our shelves stocked with broad beans, garden peas and more… read all about it in Luke’s blog.
Importing isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s far less damaging than growing the same crops in the UK using artificial heat. Take the example of tomatoes. The huge amounts of heat used in glass hothouses is produced by burning gas or oil. For every kilo of tomatoes this way, 2-3 kilos of CO2 are released into the atmosphere. Trucking tomatoes over from Spain uses just a tenth of the carbon compared with growing them in the UK using heat. It’s not perfect, but it’s the least damaging option.
Our imports are always brought over by land or sea, never by air. Airfreight causes 40-50 times the CO2 emissions of sea freight.
Guy’s French farm
Seven years ago, Guy decided on an interesting addition to his armoury against the Hungry Gap: he’d buy his own farm in France. Le Boutinard is 10 miles from the coast, in the Vendée region of Western France. He chose the situation very carefully: the light and rainfall there are just right for producing a bounty of colourful spring crops that are ready to harvest just a few vital weeks ahead of the UK. It’s environmentally friendly, too: by road, Le Boutinard is the same distance from our Devon farm as the Fens.
Watch Guy’s video to learn more about his reasons for buying the French farm – and the learning curve he’s faced along the way:
Using our imagination
As well as all these solutions from overseas, we’ve learned to be a bit more resourceful with what greenery we can gather on our own shores. Foraged wild garlic and bitter dandelion leaves both offer some welcome pep for palates that are dulled with winter stodge.
On our Devon farm, we also grow lots of Hungry Gap kale. The clue’s in the name: this reliable variety is at its best when the rest of its kale-y cousins have bolted, and has been helping people bridge the gap for generations.
The Hungry Gap is on its way in the next few weeks. We have planned carefully, and hope you’ll enjoy an interesting, good quality and bountiful mix in your box. In the meanwhile, for a tasty little glimmer of homegrown green, why not order some Hungry Gap kale – it’s available online now.
We’ve spent years scouring the country for the best handmade organic cheeses and are pretty confident we offer some of the best tasting cheeses around from a range of small scale producers.
We’ve introduced two rather special cheeses for Easter. One from High Weald Dairy in West Sussex, and one from Bath Soft Cheese.
We’ve worked with High Weald Dairy for six years now. The family run dairy supply us with organic halloumi and sheep’s cheeses, and we’re excited to now introduce their St Giles cow’s cheese. It’s an English equivalent to the continental style Saint Paulin or Port Salut style of cheese found in France. It’s a semi-soft creamy cheese, with a rich, buttery texture, a creamy mild flavour and a gorgeous edible orange rind.
The cheese gets its name from the Norman village church in Horsted Keynes where High Weald Dairy is based. It takes eight hours to make, but ten weeks to mature, and uses almost 9 litres of whole organic milk to make 1 kilo of cheese. After grading, the orange coating (made from organic carrots!) is applied, and the cheese is ready to go. It’s previously won Best English and Best British Cheese at the World Cheese Awards.
Our second addition is Wyfe of Bath, from the Bath Soft Cheese company. The Padfield family have milked at Park Farm in Kelston for four generations and made cheese using traditional methods for almost 30 years.
Wyfe of Bath is a semi-hard cheese, echoing the types of cheese farmers’ wives would make with the soured milk. It is creamy and nutty and harks back to Old England, hence the Chaucer reference. They handmake it using the traditional method of placing the curd in cloth-lined baskets, which gives the final product a wonderful basket shape.
Try our special Easter additions for a show-stopping cheeseboard to finish your bank holiday feast.
We recently found ourselves with a big role to fill in our farm restaurant, The Riverford Field Kitchen, as we said goodbye to head chef, James Dodd, who returned to his home town of Liverpool.
It can be a challenge to find chefs who are as obsessed with vegetables as we are, and even more so when the predecessor was such a veg nerd that they had a whole arm tattooed in dedication to the green stuff, but we’re delighted to have found one, in the form of Patrick Hanna, whose Riverford journey first began in 2008.
“When I moved from Belfast to London, I took a job washing dishes in this weird pub turned restaurant in Islington, serving organic food. The pub was called the Duke of Cambridge. This led to a short stint at the Riverford Field Kitchen. I had no idea what an amazing journey of fascination with food and farming this would get going. Ten years on, I’m back and excited to be cooking these big, heart warming dishes again.”
After that initial year, Patrick’s food journey went worldwide with stints cooking on a farm in Spain, at a biodynamic vineyard in Australia and on fishing boats. This experience of cooking at source ultimately circled back to where it all began, here on our south Devon farm.
As well as the nostalgic feeling The Field Kitchen and Devon give Patrick, another love for the restaurant stems from the unique connection the food served has with the surrounding fields. Coming up with a daily changing menu dependent on what is being harvested at the time is a daunting task for many, but Patrick welcomes it and is excited by the challenge.
One of his fondest food memories is picking apart an artichoke as a child and dipping it in vinaigrette, not really knowing what to do, but enjoying the tactile experience and its resemblance to its organic form. He believes in the power of simplicity and quality ingredients, and hates food that is unrecognisable from its natural form, specifically referencing cubed carrots.
It seems like a return to Riverford was meant to be for Patrick, especially as someone who shares a unique love of artichokes and cardoons with founder Guy Singh-Watson. Either that or our big, colourful sharing platters of organic veg and infamous sticky toffee pud are too good to stay away from!
The media has been abuzz today with new research from France suggesting a link between ultra processed foods and an increased risk of cancer. For now, the study should be treated with a bit of caution; the researchers themselves said their results ‘need to be confirmed by other large-scale studies’. But is it really news to any of us that an ultra processed diet isn’t the healthiest choice?
Riverford has long promoted the joys of cooking from scratch with fresh organic veg, dairy and meat – nourishing food with a wonderful flavour, and no hidden nasties.
What are ultra processed foods?
Michael Pollan put it best: ‘Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food.’
To write a full ultra processed foods list would take a very long time, as they make up so much of what lines supermarket shelves – and 50% of the average UK family’s diet! But broadly speaking, ultra processed foods are made with ingredients you wouldn’t find in your own kitchen: artificial additives, preservatives, flavourings and colourings. They also often contain high levels of sugar, fat and salt. Think crisps, chocolate bars, fizzy drinks, processed meats like chicken nuggets and meatballs, and instant foods such as soups, noodles, and frozen readymeals.
Avoiding ultra processed foods
The easiest and most satisfying way to avoid ultra processed foods is to cook from scratch. You know exactly what goes into your food, can pack every plate with fresh organic veg and other good-for-yous – and a meal always tastes better when it’s made by your own fair hand.
Cooking from scratch is a good start – and choosing organic ingredients is even better. The Soil Association’s organic standards (some of the highest in the world) protect consumers and farmers alike from a number of potentially harmful chemicals. Organic farmers like Riverford never use artificial pesticides or weedkillers on our crops. Certification also strictly prohibits GM crops, hydrogenated fats and controversial artificial colourings and preservatives.
Riverford makes cooking fresh organic meals from scratch easy. Our organic veg boxes are packed with different seasonal varieties every week, plus simple, inspiring recipes to help you make the most of all that good stuff. Don’t have time to plan? Try an organic recipe box, with easy step-by-step recipes and measured quantities of all the 100% organic ingredients you need.
Steering clear of ultra processed foods has never been easier – or tastier.
If you’ve been part of Riverford for a while, you might have had one of our organic sunflower birdfeeders before. They’re back, and we’d like you to enjoy one as a little gift from us. There isn’t enough for everyone, so it’s first come, first served. Don’t miss out – add yours now!
Guy first grew glowing yellow fields of sunflowers on his French farm in the Vendée in 2015, hoping to make his own organic sunflower oil. While watching the local wildlife thrive off the crop, he had an idea. Instead of making oil, he would dry the flowerheads and offer them to British birds.
The sunflowers went down a treat – and not just with birds. People sent us snaps of everything from wild birds to chickens, pet hamsters, and the odd cheeky squirrel munching their way through this organic snack. Keepers at the Monkey Sanctuary in Looe even said they made a great enrichment activity for the monkeys! It was so wonderful to see creatures great and small feasting on a natural organic treat, Guy has grown them again every year since.
Thinking of joining in with the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch from Saturday 27th – Monday 29th January? A Riverford sunflower is just the thing to lure out a few more feathered friends.
Here at Riverford, we really know our veg. Founded by Guy Watson (the Soil Association’s Best Organic Farmer 2017), we’ve been farming organically in Devon for 30 years: carefully selecting varieties for flavour, and looking after the soil, wildlife, and water sources.
However, organic doesn’t just stop at food and drink. This January, we’re teaming up with our friends at Pai Skincare to bring you a whole host of ethical prizes. With our passion for organic food and Pai’s passion for organic skincare, it’s a match made in heaven.
Pai’s passion for organic skincare came from wanting to enable people to take control of their skin, instead of putting up with products that are full of irritants. For Pai (meaning ‘goodness’ in Maori), pure and transparent ingredients are essential; they are proud of the lengths they go to in letting people know exactly what’s in their products.
For your chance to win a month’s supply of Riverford juicing and veg boxes, as well as lots of organic Pai Skincare treats and a top-of-the-range Sage ‘The Boss’ blender, enter our competition now.
Every year the UK wastes around 18,000 tons of perfectly edible pumpkin flesh and seeds as the nation carves away to make spooky Halloween lanterns.
Like squash, pumpkin is sweet and warming and can be delicious if cooked in the right recipes. Here are a few veg-centric recipes to help turn your pumpkin waste into a tasty meal or treat.
For all of the below you can substitute pumpkin for squash if you need a little inspiration to use up your Squash Box.
Pumpkin Madeleines with Pumpkin Custard & Cinnamon Meringue
Unusual and slightly long winded but totally worth it. The meringue isn’t necessary but adds an impressive finish. All the elements can be made individually if you don’t want to tackle the whole recipe. See recipe
Pumpkin Fritters with Romesco
These fritters are simple to prepare and the romesco is a delicious accompaniment, but can be substituted for a simple mayonnaise mixed with paprika and garlic. We like the romesco with a mix of nuts rather than using just almonds. Cashews add a creamy taste to the sauce. See recipe
Roasted Pumpkin Salad with Pumpkin Seed Dukka, Sumac Red Onions, Wootton White, Pistachio & Pomegranate
This dish has a Middle Eastern feel to it and is a good way to use up pumpkin flesh and seeds. Wootton White is an English Greek style sheep’s cheese and can be substituted with feta. See recipe
Thai Pumpkin Curry
Squash and pumpkin work well in a Thai curry as the coconut milk complements the sweetness of the veg and lemony flavours add a fresh flavour. Make sure you bruise the lemongrass by bashing it with a rolling pin to release the aromatic flavour. If you don’t fancy making the paste, you can buy it ready made. See recipe
We have a new Riverford book in the pipeline for next year, and we need your help.
We’re asking customers of more than 10 years to tell us about their favourite newsletter – the older the better. Is there a story, opinion or rant which is particularly memorable? Email the title, date (if you know it) and your reason to email@example.com.
Unlike today’s digital age, records were scarce in the early days. If you have any physical copies of our newsletters from 1993 to 2000, we’d love to see them.
This summer marks ten years since Riverford first arrived at its home in the north, Home Farm. Since then, so much has changed – and we couldn’t have done any of it without our customers’ support. Thank you, everyone, for being part of the family!