We were contacted recently by Farmers Choice, a company founded in 1984 bringing British free range produce from dirt to doorstep, to review some of their boxes of farm fresh goods. They started as an online butcher and have developed their ranges to include fish, groceries and all sorts else. Being no strangers to veg boxes, it has been no secret that we have managed to save about 20% on our food bills by using such schemes – So we were keen to see if Farmers Choice offered us similar savings.
We received two boxes from Farmers Choice, the Sunday Roast Chicken pack and the Weekly Essentials pack. The meat arrived mostly frozen in one box, with some extremely clever packaging to keep it perfectly fresh, consisting of dry ice packs and recyclable wadding. We had a whole chicken (with the giblets which the cat devoured!), chicken stir fry pieces, beef mince, 6 slices of thick cut bacon and some lovely thick cut ham (this was chilled not frozen). I have to admit that most of our meat usually comes from our local farm shop so we are not used to it being frozen however this was a minor thing. The quality of the meat as a whole was excellent and we were all especially impressed with the flavour of the whole chicken.
The fruit and veg was equally well packed with a great message on the inside lid…. Enjoy! Included in our fruit and veg box was; a packet of Isle of Wight tomatoes, a punnet of mixed salad leaves, leeks, parsnips, carrots, apples, cauliflower, swede, a large bag of potatoes and a chicken roasting kit from Potts. I have to say the produce was all really fresh and I was particularly impressed with the quality of the salad, which is notoriously hard to transport and keep from bruising.
While the majority of the produce was UK grown (we were very impressed with the Isle of Wight tomatoes in April) some of the produce was not, specifically the apples. Our favourite inclusion was the chicken roasting kit from Potts which is something we would never have normally bought but would absolutely buy again. It gave us a succulent and great flavoured chicken, plus the gravy and sauce in the pack were also really delicious.
In terms of cost, we looked on Ocado to create a comparable shop (see above). This was not a strictly direct comparison as some of the weights of meat were not available, however we found that we saved around £8.00. This is great when you know that the added bonus of Farmers Choice is that you are supporting local farmers and arguably better quality produce.
Ultimately, saving money on your shopping is possible by using veg box schemes like Farmers Choice if you shop in a particular way. If you tend to stay away from processed foods and try to pick the organic option then you are really going to save loads of money. However, if you favour ready meals and convenience foods then this is where the supermarkets come into their own.
I think it is safe to say that we were very impressed with Farmers Choice and the slick service they offer. They have a wide variety of products and a great ethos of supplying British free-range meat and produce.
If you would like to visit their website and try them out yourselves visit www.farmerschoice.co.uk!