Abel & Cole started in 1988, when Keith Abel flunked his bar exam and started selling potatoes door to door. In April 2019 he spoke to the Holly & Co podcast about the company. Keith Abel, Abel & Cole – Conversations of Inspiration Podcast – Holly & Co
A stake in the business was sold to a private company and then in 2012, the entire business was sold to the 180 year old William Jackson Food Group which owned Aunt Bessie’s.
Abel and Cole sold to makers of Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire puddings | Food & drink industry | The Guardian
Since then, Abel & Cole has morphed from organic veg box scheme with a few extras, to online retailer. Deliveries are undertaken in different areas on different days, just like Riverford Organic Farmers. Riverford is employee-owned and owns several farms however. Abel & Cole has no farms of its own and increasingly, has moved away from small farms to large scale organic producers.
Daylesford Farm is owned by the wife of the JCB boss, an ardent Brexiteer and many Remainers and Rejoiners therefore boycott the farm. Abel & Cole own-brand often comes from Daylesford, also.
All of the organic chicken sold by Abel & Cole, comes from Cullompton, Devon. Chris Labdon’s Wood Green Farm won a Compassion in World Farming award,’ The Good Chicken Award’ in recognition of his high welfare standards. NB: Chicken sausages, come from Daylesford.
Current prices given as at 28/08/21
Chicken Carcass, Organic, Abel & Cole (pack of 2) 2.79 and good for making stock or soup.
Chicken Wings, Organic, Abel & Cole (1kg, pack of 8-10) 5.25 – these sell out really quickly. We roast them with Cajun or Old Bay seasoning, as finger food for movie nights.
Chicken Drumsticks, Larger Pack, Organic (825g, pack of 6) 5.65 – good for picnics but also for a supper. The four drumstick packs are currently 10% off at 3.59
Chicken Thighs & Drumsticks, Organic, Abel & Cole (575g avg, 4 pieces) 4.99
We don’t buy organic whole chickens from Abel & Cole because we don’t want to be messing with raw giblets in the kitchen.
Beef Mince, Larger Pack, Organic, Abel & Cole (600g)) 7.95 from Eversfield Organic. Online Meat Delivery (eversfieldorganic.co.uk) This is a good size, if you want to bulk prep spagless Bolognese, curry, no pasta lasagne or home-made burgers, for example. A 400g pack is also available for 5.60
Oxtail, Organic, Eversfield Organic (500g) £8 which is way more expensive than it used to be. Makes fantastic soup or casseroles.
Ruby Veal Diced, Organic, Peelham Farm (350g) £8 for organic veal is a pretty good price. No veal crates here as Peelham Farm has an award from Compassion in World Farming. Worth rummaging on YouTube for real Hungarian goulash recipes, for this.
Lamb is often more expensive than beef or pork, so we tend to buy New Zealand lamb mince, chops and steaks. All that gamboling about in fields may give organic lambs a happier life, but it builds muscle and makes the meat tougher. I don’t see the fun of buying say six tiny organic lamb chops for more than £10 and not enjoying them. ASDA doesn’t advertise them online, but my local store usually does three packs of lamb leg steaks from New Zealand, for £10 for example.
Lamb Neck Fillet, Organic, Eversfield Organic (300g) on offer 7.16
Diced Lamb, Organic, Eversfield Organic (300g) on offer 6.44 this should be put in a slow cooker first thing and allowed to cook for many hours, so that it becomes awesomely good.
Pork.. if you want Helen Browning unsmoked organic lardons, Abel & Cole is marginally cheaper than Helen Browing’s website
Unsmoked Bacon Lardons, Organic, Helen Browning (200g)
Organic Unsmoked Bacon Lardons Helen Browning
Eggs.. Andrew Jackson, was I believe, Abel & Cole’s organic egg supplier, pre-pandemic. but they switched supplier to Stonegate Free Range & Organic Egg Specialists And Producers | Stonegate. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with Stonegate organic eggs (they supply Waitrose too), but I would rather support a smaller operation. Stonegate has the largest free range and organic egg-packing plant in the world.
Eggs, Organic Free Range (6 sizeable) 3.30 often double yolkers
Eggs, Organic Free Range (6 large) 2.90
Nick and Christine Gosling, in Wiltshire, have been producing milk for Abel & Cole for many years. This video dates back to July 2009.
Right at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, Abel & Cole cancelled our order for eggs and milk. Riverford came to the rescue.
Tea Guzzler Extraordinaire prefers Abel & Cole milk, because Riverford doesn’t do 2 litre sizes, so we’re buying it just for him. Milk, Organic, Full Cream (2 litre) £2 and Milk, Organic, Full Cream (½ litre) 65p, for work.
As low carbers, we use cream and Nick and Christine Gosling’s farm also produces organic cream for Abel & Cole. Double Cream, Organic, Abel & Cole (500ml) 2.95 and we favour this: (a) because it’s a larger size and (b) because it pours from a plastic bottle rather than a plastic pot.
Vegetables.. currently, Abel & Cole has Butternut Squash, Organic 2.25 imported from Spain. Riverford butternut squash Butternut squash imported from Argentina, is 2.75. No discernible difference between the two, great in oven-baked dishes or as soup. We go for the cheaper one.
Graffiti Aubergine, Organic (1 piece) at 1.60 are the same price as their normal aubergines. Both are minimum Class 2, imported from Spain. Haven’t seen the stripey ones anywhere else.
Globe artichokes are one of my favourite vegetables. Globe Artichokes, Organic from Abel & Cole are two for 3.35 and hail from Cambridgeshire. Riverford Globe artichoke 2 pack are 3.45 for two and grown by Guy Singh-Watson in Devon.
Abel & Cole has Wild Marsh Samphire (100g) for 3.25 which is foraged in Britain.
Abel & Cole and Riverford both sell three courgettes for 2.85, whereas organic courgettes at Waitrose are currently 2 for £2.
Fennel, Organic 2.25 at Abel & Cole whereas non-organic at Waitrose are £4 each.
Bunched radishes are 2.25 at Riverford and Abel & Cole. Riverford grows its own in Devon, whereas Abel & Cole’s radishes are grown in Suffolk. Radishes aren’t just for salads, they are great when roasted.
Ridge Cucumber, Organic £1 each at the moment, 30p cheaper than organic salad cucumber, at Waitrose.
For tomatoes (unless unusual), mushrooms, onions, red onions, spring (salad) onions, cabbages, bell peppers, romano peppers and cauliflowers it’s better to grab what you can at a supermarket first. Ditto organic canned tomatoes and other pantry items.