On top of the usual planting, picking, packing and delivering, we have been painting lines on the floor, erecting screens between workers, training new recruits and considering our future in a changed world.
Everyone has been surprised by how capable of change we humans are; how some of the things that we thought essential are not missed, and things previously taken for granted are now so highly valued. Few think we will go back to where we were, and many (a government poll suggests 91 per cent) don’t want everything to return to normal – bar getting outside, being able to touch each other and feeling safe again.
Being all things to all people is the supermarkets’ task. This time of forced change has brought us an opportunity to reflect, reinforcing our resolve to stick to what we’re good at: delivering a curated range of seasonal organic veg and fruit, from our own fields and growers we know and trust, and helping you to enjoy them.
The tolerance most of you have shown of our reduced range has given us both breathing space and courage; thank you. We couldn’t have survived without simplifying. It was, and still is, virtually impossible for us to safely pack bespoke orders. But we don’t think anything like all of you will be happy with this forever.
Plans are evolving, but for the coming months we will continue much as we are: concentrating our efforts on keeping the boxes really good, but also adding some seasonal interest alongside to inspire your cooking.
We are introducing new products to offer you more choice, including a fruit bag, salad bag, a 'Familiar Favourites' veg box, fresh essentials bundles and an avocado bag. On top of this, we will champion the very best of the seasons by offering three to four seasonal stars each week that you won’t easily find elsewhere, to order alongside. Organic artichokes, Jersey Royals, berries, peaches, padron peppers, tomatillos, sweetcorn and so on.
This focused range will celebrate what has always been at the heart of Riverford and what we have always done best. It will also enable us to deliver to more people; you may notice us finally opening our doors to new customers. Our business will be simpler and leaner, which will allow us to offer good value. To get the range right, we must stick to our values but also listen to your preferences. As a sign of that, tomorrow I am going to plough in half of my cardoons and plant raspberries instead; the bloody-minded folly has gone on long enough.