Organic carrots grown at Vital Veg, Midmar, Aberdeen

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Vital Veg deliver to my area?

We are based in Aberdeenshire - please use the delivery lookup feature (click on the "New Customer" link at the top of this page) to find out if we deliver to your postcode. If you live outside our delivery area, consider whether we could deliver to your office instead. Or maybe you know someone who might be willing to act as a drop-off point - a relative or friend perhaps? If your postcode is rejected by our delivery lookup and neither of the above two options work for you please give us a call - we might be able to help!

Can Vital Veg deliver my veg even if I am not in?

Yes – you can leave a large box with a lid out for us in a cool place, or an unlocked shed/garage/Wendy house where we can leave the veg out of the weather. Alternatively, maybe there's a neighbour or friend who would be willing to accept your box until you get home. Just ensure it's protected from getting too hot/too cold/wet depending on the season!

Why do I have to order in advance from Vital Veg?

We need time to harvest the vegetables, and to order our bought-in produce from other organic growers and our organic wholesaler. Our Packing Angels also need time to pack your bag.

Is there a minimum order?

Yes. It's £30.00 for a delivery which includes one of our veg boxes, and £50.00 for one which does not include a veg box.  If you would like to order produce which comes to less than £50.00, without a veg box, please add in "Delivery" as an item from the Shop, which is currently £5 plus 20% VAT ie £6 in total.

I keep getting an error message when I try to confirm my order and the order confirmation button is blanked out - why?

The most common issue encountered when pacing an order is blanking out of the order confirmation button if you have a mix of weekly and/or fortnightly goods and some “once only” items. At the moment our shop denies any order that falls below the minimum value in any week – so unless your recurring items all add up to the minimum in every week you get an error message. Often it is not clear what needs to be done to clear the error.

We recommend three fixes:
Use our “Order Keeper” which keeps your orders valid when you are taking items out and putting new ones in. Details are given below. Please contact us if you want more information or need help setting it up. This is a software fix and has no cost to you because you suspend the value (£30).

Or, keep a basic set of weekly/fortnightly items to the minimum value, then edit your basket as you need (we put different veg in the shop throughout the year depending on what we have on the farm). This is more tricky as you need to watch what happens if you remove any of your regular items. Again, if you ever run into difficulty please contact us and we can sort it out for you.

Lastly you could choose to order “once only” each time you want to make an order.

Order Keeper - a workaround we have added in case you ever find that your regular Vital Veg order gives you an error message because your weekly or fortnightly veg/fruit/eggs don’t meet the minimum order value for future weeks

If your regular order is above £30 (£50 without a veg box), this won’t apply but if it’s less than this, and you like to select extra items just a few days before your next delivery once you know what you need, and what we have available for that week, we recommend that you use "An order keeper" which will make sure that the website accepts all your orders.

These are the steps to take if you want to use Order Keeper:

Log in
Click on the "Shop" tab
Click on "Delivery" Choose "An Order Keeper" and add it to your order
Go to the orders page and confirm this order with the green button
Click on "Back to account"
Click on "Suspend or cancel"
Choose "An Order Keeper" from the drop down list in "What do you wish to suspend" and suspend it for as long as possible (you can renew the suspension at any time - by suspending the Order Keeper the £30 value is removed from your bill, but the website accepts the order as valid))
Click on "Return to orders"

You are now on your orders page - scroll down and you will see all your upcoming orders and their values. The suspended “order keeper” has a value of zero. You will need to remember to keep suspending the Order Keeper when the suspension runs out. If you ever forget to extend the suspension on Order Keeper we will do it for you so that there is never a cost to you.

This is a workaround, and we apologise that it is not a more elegant solution to programming for complex orders.

Also, this workaround means that we cannot automatically prevent orders coming in which are below our minimum value, but we rely on you to keep an eye on your orders and top them up before the 11pm deadline on Sundays.

Hopefully this workaround will be useful for you while we work out a way to re-programme our website.

Where does the Vital Veg come from?

We do aim to have as much of our own produce in the boxes as we can, so you get the freshest, most local food possible! However, just because they can do it in the frozen fields of Iceland doesn’t mean we can do it in Midmar… growing Bananas that is…! To solve the problem we buy certified Organic fruit and veg that we can’t grow ourselves from a local organic wholesaler and other organic growers.

How long will my fruit and veg keep?

It depends on what it is and the conditions under which you keep it, and how carefully you handle it. Apart from bananas, most of your veg will keep best in a cool place. As we don't shrink-wrap any of our own veg, and try to avoid buying in any shrink-wrapped produce, you'll need to check that it does not dehydrate while you are storing it. As a rule, if it looks as if it might wilt, then eat it early in the week. Broccoli can be a particular challenge during hot weather - we harvest it one day, and the next it's hot and sunny and it starts to look yellow - it's still perfectly edible, it's just that as it's a mass of flower buds, they start to open - and the flowers are yellow! It'll still be just as tasty - but if you prefer it green, eat it early after delivery and keep it cool and dark before eating!

What happens if I receive some bad veg?

Our packers take great care to ensure that no bad veg or fruit get into your deliveries, but this does happen occasionally. If you ever receive any veg or fruit that you feel is below standard we will happily replace it for you in your next delivery or reduce the price of your order if you let us know as soon as you spot it.

What happens when I am on holiday?

Holidays ... Mmmm … lovely! But what about your delivery? No problem - just let us know by the order deadline how long you’re away for (or update the 'suspend or cancel' section in your online Vital Veg account), and send us a postcard to brighten up our Vital Veg office! You can also choose to donate your delivery to the Cyrenians (a charity for homeless people) if you prefer - just give us a call or an email and we will arrange this for you. 

What is “organic”?

Organic food is legally defined and is grown or raised without synthetic fertilisers or pesticides/herbicides or hormones. This is at its most simple ... there's a large book of rules produced by our certification body - the Soil Association - which must be followed to ensure maximum protection for the environment, and that animal welfare is of the highest standard.

Why eat organic?

Chemical free – because organic food is produced without the use of any synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides or hormones, you can be sure that you are not eating anything unnatural. Sadly a significant proportion of our “conventional” food these days has been found to be contaminated with chemical residues which often cannot be removed by washing, or even peeling. A non-organic meal of farmed salmon, salad and wholemeal bread for example could contain a cocktail of tens of different chemicals. No-one really knows what this does to us. Do you want to gamble and take the risk? 

Taste – organic food is grown more slowly (not hurried along with fertilisers and hormones), and in soil which contains a wide range of available nutrients – so it tends to have more flavour ... and can contain significantly more minerals/vitamins weight for weight too! Eating organic food is the only way you can be certain of avoiding GM produce - Did you know, for instance, currently, labelling laws in the UK do not require that produce from animals fed on GM needs to be labelled as such? We think this is scandalous! If you're not happy about this, vote with your pound and buy organic ... and write to your MP, supermarkets, and food producers to express your dissatisfaction!

Why is organic food more expensive than “conventional” food?

The organic conversion process takes several years to complete, and usually involves resting the land, and spending years to rebuild the soil structure and natural fertility of the soil through careful husbandry methods. In addition, to maintain fertility and soil health, organic land is rested every few years to build up its fertility naturally, rather than being cropped every year without fail. Organic seed is more expensive to buy than conventional seed, extensive records must be kept for inspection by the organic certification bodies (increasing the administrative costs), crop losses due to pests / diseases / reduced shelf life mean that wastage can be higher in organic compared with conventional production. Organic food production is also more labour intensive than conventional food, for example, weeding has to be done without the benefit of chemicals - which we think is a benefit to the local community, but it does increase costs significantly. Currently, many of the organic food producers are working on a relatively small scale compared to conventional producers. Once again, this increases costs proportionally. When we buy in produce from our wholesalers, as a small producer, we don't have anything like the buying power of the supermarkets and giant corporations, but we DO provide local work for local people, keeping the local economy in a healthier state. We think that's worth a lot!

Is “conventional” food really cheaper than organic?

The price you hand over for organic food might seem more at the time – but did you know that there are hidden costs of intensive non-organic farming that have to be borne by all of us? We all pay three times for intensively farmed food. Firstly, we pay at the shop till. Next, we pay for the same food through our taxes, as modern farming is heavily subsidised through the tax system. Thirdly, we pay again to clean up the damage to the environment caused during the growing and the raising of non-organic food. These clean up costs, particularly treatment of drinking water, are alarming.

How much of the organic food eaten in Britain is produced in Britain?

Depends on what it is… and what time of year it is. Overall, Britain still imports about 80% of the organic produce available. Of course there are some things that we can’t grow in Britain, but a part of the problem is that there aren’t enough organic farmers… How can I be sure that it is really organic? Look to see if the food, or the business supplying the food, is certified by an organic certifying body. In Britain the best known of these is the Soil Association. In Scotland many producers are certified by the Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA). These are both excellent certification bodies, and make annual inspections of all organic businesses registered with them. They also make unannounced visits to check that the business is complying with the organic regulations. The inspections are very thorough, and include inspection of all the accounts as well as the physical aspects of the business. If you see one of these certification logos, you can have confidence in your food.