Fresh produce boxes Healthy Boxes plugged

Cornish scheme encourages customers to understand growing process.

Cornish fresh produce box scheme Healthy Boxes will use its new website to give customers a better idea of what is involved in growing and supplying fruit and vegetables.

Owner Louise Reynolds told Grower: I wanted something more professional, not just to promote the scheme, but also to make customers feel they are involved in what's happening in the field - the bad as well as the good - and to get them to understand the seasonality of fresh produce."

The scheme was set up by Penwith District Council, both to promote healthy eating in the area and also to provide a local market for the county's growers. It uses local schools and other centres as drop-off points, and will take NHS Healthy Start vouchers as payment.

Reynolds, a former fresh produce technologist, explained: "I was working as a packer for the scheme and thought it was too good an opportunity to waste, so I took it on and have built it up over the past four years."

It now delivers 150 boxes a week, although it would be "uneconomic" to deliver far from the scheme's Penzance base, Reynolds said.

"We are probably 80 per cent locally sourced and are working to make that 90 per cent. We even include locally grown sweet potatoes," she added:

And while the scheme has received interest from other local authorities, she said: "As far as I know, this is a one-off."

Trewidden Farm

Healthy Boxes owner Louise Reynolds aims to make her own Trewidden Farm a major contributor to the scheme.

The farm currently has a list of 120 vegetable varieties lined up for this season's planting.

Investment in a polytunnel has boosted out-of-season production, increasing the proportion of local produce in the box schemes over winter.

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