A Green Connect veg box spring

In the spring of 2014, we launched our veggie box product. And we were stoked delivery changeto get ten customers who were willing to throw their support behind a true fair food option. This winter, we had weeks where we were packing 240 boxes per week – and although it’s now sitting around 175, it’s more than a step up from the original ten!

While trying not sound grandiose, this growth has changed peoples’ lives. Some of our staff have gone from unemployment to being permanent employees because of this growth, and for the hundreds of people who have passed through as casual workers or work experience participants, many of them have used Green Connect as a platform to gain secure employment elsewhere, or to study and follow a passion. This has also given our community an opportunity to engage in fair food in a way that is truly connected to the people and the land that produces their food.

There are businesses who prioritise looking after their customers, and there are charities who prioritise looking after the people or causes they support. One of the great challenges of being a social enterprise is that we have to do both of these at the same time. The work involved in supporting young people through our Youth Employment Project has blown us away, we have been delivering on some very ambitious development projects (including the establishment of our new sheds and education centre) – all while dealing with the summer drought and now COVID19 has created a range health, safety, & logistical issues for us to deal with.

I’m willing to say that in this time, we have not placed the veg box as high on the priority list as it needs to be. Our boxes are still delicious and hearty, but everything is being done in such a rush at the moment that things are being missed, and we haven’t been able to make the incremental improvements that we need to make to keep up with our business growth in every department.

So, over the last month we’ve been working on some plans to make sure that this spring will be the Spring of the Veg Box.

We don’t plan to drastically change what we do; we just want to make sure that every veg box that leaves the farm is something that the team can be truly proud, and something that brings happiness to you as the customer.

There are a number of changes we are making to make this happen:

  1. Engaging Rod as the Market Garden Coordinator – Rod brings to the team decades of experience growing quality veggies, so expect to see an increase in quality!
  2. Shed upgrade – in October our new washing-packing shed will be set-up, with better cleaning and packing infrastructure to improve the cleanliness of veg, and the ease of packing
  3. Changing customer communication strategy – We are going to be exploring options of using video alongside the written word to do more of our communication to reflect a change in how people want to receive information now-adays.
  4. Changing the packing times and system – This will reduce the time pressure around packing, which will reduce some of the mistakes that some of you may have experienced regarding exclusions or add-ons not being accounted for.
  5. Changing delivery days – This feeds into the time-pressure issue, but it is also a response to customer feedback that they would prefer their veg boxes delivered earlier in the week. We will be changing our delivery days from 28/09/2020 so that customers will receive their boxes one day earlier than currently. We hope this change will be more convenient for customers as well as make the packing and the delivering of veg smoother.

While we’re confident that these changes will dramatically improve the customer experience, we’d also love to hear from you about what you think would improve the customer experience, so please get in touch with us!

Thank you for your continued support

Cal Champagne

Green Connect Farm Manager

What’s that in my box: Endives are a bitter leafy green and although they look a little like lettuce, it is their crunchy stems that they’re known for! It goes deliciously in salads and on a personal note, I first tried endives in northern France during a homestay and it definitely grew on me. Endives support digestion and strengthen your bones. These veggies can also be sautéed, braised, baked or roasted.
For more information on how to store & cook any of our vegetables, visit: https://draxe.com/ and type in the veggie you’re looking for.

Chopped endive and oak salad – Serves 2

2 cups finely chopped endive leaves
2 cups finely chopped oak lettuce leaves
1/2 medium white onion (sliced in half moons)endive
2/3 cup walnuts
1/2 cup gorgonzola crumbles
1/2 cup shaved parmesan
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Ranch dressing
Add all ingredients (except the dressing) into a large bowl and using your hands or salad serving tools, toss ingredients together to evenly distribute.
Drizzle as much or little dressing on and toss again to coat.
If you aren’t eating this immediately, dress the salad prior to eating. Do not dress it and let it sit. It will cause the leaves to be soggy.

Pan Fried Broccoli fritters – Serves 4 (as a side)

2 cups riced broccoli
2 large eggs
1/4 diced onion
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 tsp saltbroccoli
1/4 tsp black pepper
3+ T olive oil
Optional- sour cream or vegan sour cream
Rice your broccoli head if you’re making your own. Otherwise, proceed with the recipe using store-bought broccoli rice. Combine the riced broccoli, eggs, and diced onion in a medium-sized bowl. Blend the almond flour, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper in a separate small bowl. Once mixed, stir into the broccoli egg mixture until well combined. Preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, drop the mixture by heaping tablespoons into the pan. Gently flatten with a spatula to form the broccoli patties.

Fry the broccoli fritters on both sides until browned and cooked through, this took about 2-3 minutes per side. You’ll need to cook the broccoli cakes in batches of 4-5 in the pan at a time, and you can keep the cooked broccoli cheese fritters warm in the oven on 120C by putting them on an oven-safe platter and covering them with foil.
Add a little more olive oil to the pan if needed. Serve plain, with sour cream, or your favourite dressing.