In a week where Elizabeths (the new rail line) have been high on the news agenda Lee Greens wanted to put our Elizabeth front and centre stage. On the eve of Elizabeth's first year as our scheme coordinator we thought it would be an opportune time to catch up and find out about her role in bringing delicious, seasonal fare to you each week.
Tell us about your role
My job is to order the veg each week as well as coordinate our volunteer team. We decide what veg will go into our bags based on several criteria - availability and seasonality, making sure there's plenty of variety each week, trying to order as locally as possible - British produce takes priority of course. And staying within budget. I place orders a week ahead of schedule - which is why our customers need to book holidays in advance, if they were wondering!
We order direct from a couple of Kent suppliers, Petersons and Walmestone Farm, and the rest from the Better Food Shed [a hub in Barking where the farmers deliver all their London orders - reducing the cost and carbon of the distribution conundrum. And for the Better Food Traders veg schemes, it helps us all compete with larger businesses by pooling our orders, giving us greater buying power.]
Each week the farmers gauge their available produce and relay news to the Better Food Shed. The Shed come back to us with a price list, then we order and confirm. Farmers harvest on a Monday or Tuesday, it gets delivered to the Shed and then onto Leegate HQ on Wednesday morning ready for our pre-pack team to do their wonderful work. Sometimes we make last minute adjustments to the bags - like this week with mizuna morphing into the first Lee Greens broad beans of the season.
What's your favourite part of the job?
I've loved working and meeting up with our fabulous, interesting and creative volunteer team. I really enjoy going to the Leegate HQ on packing days and chatting all things veg - it's very sociable and informative.
Favourite dish to cook at home and eat out
I like cooking a pad thai or a stir fry at home - though my kids do a good job of separating the meat from the veg! Eating out, my personal fave is a Sri Lankan Kothu parotta - great hangover food.
Tell us about your interests
My Dad has always been a keen gardener and I've recently been getting into it. I took on an allotment last year and have found it really relaxing and a great outlet. I've got my tomatoes, beans, squash and courgette. Nurturing and watching things grow is something I really enjoy although the snails have been eating more than I'd like.
If you could be reincarnated as a vegetable, what would you be?
It would have to be a globe artichoke because they eventually turn into a lovely flower.