What happens when a customer makes their own OddBox!

Packing at the Warehouse

When I requested an opportunity to help out at Oddbox’s packing warehouse, I never thought they’d say yes. However, that’s where I found myself one Friday afternoon. I was delighted to be there on the week they reached 500 customers so there was plenty to do. In spite of it being a well-oiled machine, they found a spot for me halfway through the packing process, between the onions and the apples. For the regular boxes, we pack five boxes at a time and then pack each special request box (extra carrots, no bananas) one by one. Starting with the large fruit and veg boxes, we move onto large veg boxes, then to mediums and eventually the small boxes. Everyone’s job is to double check that nothing else has been missed and then pack up to three items of their own. I was on parsnip, lettuce and cavolo nero duty. The cavolo nero had been pre-weighed around the corner by the lovely Kris so my job was to put a bundle in each box, along with six parsnips and some of the loveliest lettuce I have ever tried — it’s a variety mainly used by restaurants and not often found in the supermarkets, and I’ve no idea why.

Gavin’s in charge and he’s a great inspiration. He liaises with farmers across the country and is in constant contact with them, asking, ‘what’s wonky this week?’ But that’s just half the story. So many farmers suffer from supermarket orders placed months ago that they cancel at the last minute and farmers are suddenly left with a surplus of perishable goods that need to find a home, otherwise they are just ploughed back into the ground. Gavin also collects the produce from the farms and works out what to put in each box. Oli, of blog fame, is chief packer and called out the special orders for each box.

Even for Oddbox, there was some veg that was perfectly fine but just way too cute to go into the boxes. Becky was on fruits mainly and would pass me tiny, wonky apples to try, the most enormous pears I’ve ever seen, or once, the smallest clementine I think I’ve ever encountered — the size of a kumquat but perfectly formed and only just a little less sweet than the others.

At the end of the day, I got to personally pack my own Oddbox, and picked the ugliest squash, bendiest cucumber and snuck in as many onions, enormous but broken carrots and parsnips as I could. I picked such a large kabocha squash that I made both recipes on the Oddbox info sheet in one day and still have a third of it left. I’ll be making the squash and quinoa soup recipe again. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s amazing. And I’ll certainly be back packing again one day, if they’ll have me.

This was written by Natasha Fanshawe,

We appreciate your help and support Natasha!