WE should all be thinking about our carbon footprint and fresh veg box deliveries are a step forward.

There is the advantage of eating what is in season, helping local farmers and growers, and you’re getting your five a day, too. And it’s a (quite literally) growing business model in Essex.

Sarah Green is the third generation of her family to farm in Tillingham.

Studying at Writtle College, Sarah was keen to get back to being on the family farm and along with the growing experience of her parents, she put land in for conversion for organic production.

Two years in the making, in 2004 the first fully organic growing crops were available.

Certified organic by the Soil Association, with 30 acres it means there are plenty of growing options.

“September is a fantastic time for produce,” Sarah says.

“From late summer to early autumn aubergines, sweetcorn, fennel and leeks to the first season of cauliflowers, consumers are spoilt for choice.

“Looking ahead to winter, squashes, onions, kale and chard will be at their best.

“We try to have a variety,” she adds.

“We trialled purple French bean and golden beetroot was introduced a while ago.”

Sarah delivers across the county, but also has collection points dotted around so that customers can order their vegetables and can collect them at a convenient point.

“We use very little plastic and packaging and offer customers a complete packaging free option where there are not even elastic bands,” she explains.

“People are very plastic aware so we should all have the mindset of being the solution and not the problem.

“We use all what’s in season and harvest to order, so customers are getting it as fresh as possible.”

Prices start from £8.50 for an organic veg box which varies with seasons and changes weekly.

Or customers can make up their own order online for a minimum of £8.

For more information, visit Sarahgreensorganics.co.uk

After a successful pilot scheme, Clair Henderson has taken her background in health and fitness and the desire to find work that fitted into family life, to offer a weekly fruit and vegetable subscription service which covers Southend, Leigh and Westcliff.

Boxes offer a mix of root vegetables, greens, salad items and vegetables.

Clair says: “As a family we had been using veg boxes ourselves for a long time.

“It completely changed our food habits and we got excited about what was in the box and would plan meals for that week around the ingredients.

“Even if it felt like a big task to use all the produce, we eventually became ‘vegcentric’.”

Her business Pear and Potato is keen to be more about veg than plastic and boxes are low impact, which means little or no packaging.

As well as encouraging us to reduce plastic, Pear and Potato also moves customers towards products which haven’t been grown or imported in plastic.

“Why not swap a banana for a British pear,” asks Clair. “Or a sweet potato for a British potato?”

She is also keen to try new things and loquats and unpodded broad beans were included recently.

“Our boxes aim to meet the fruit and vegetable needs of an average family for a week and we do try and personalise them,” she says.

“We would love people to be vegcentric enthusiasts like us, look at the fruit and veg in season and then decide what to cook.

“We will get excited about runner beans coming into season and build meals around that, rather than starting with, say, chicken and thinking what to do with chicken and thinking about vegetables later.”

Recipe cards and a vlog are proving popular, too.

Visit Pearandpotato.com