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Wishing you a happy, veg-filled 2022

A cold but bright start, a soggy middle, and a good end; that sums up 2021 for most growers. The summer rain made it a good year for growing grass and feeding cows, but most veg farmers found the unpredictable weather challenging – and out of sight, underground, a voracious plague of wire worms added to their problems. A wonderfully dry and sunny autumn was the saving grace for many.

Over the last two months, our veg box planning team have logged feedback from both customers and growers, indulged in some pragmatic dreaming, and come up with their optimal box contents for every week of 2022.

About 95 per cent of what arrives at your door is grown to this rigorous programme, on our own farms or by growers who we’ve worked with for many years, with specifications and prices agreed well in advance. Projecting the next year’s sales, we arrive at weekly veg requirements, which are then distributed across our growers according to soil type, climate, machinery, skills, labour availability, and preferences. So, we wish you a happy new year, filled with veg; it is being planned and planted for you even now.

Leah and Jake
Riverford's Supplier Charter lays out an ethical code of practice and ensure good working relationships. 

There is inevitably a bit of haggling, but generally this crop planning is a mutual, open, and strikingly affable process. In the past year, the prices we pay to growers have risen more than in any previous year, most significantly because of rising pay for workers in the fields (long overdue, and wholeheartedly welcomed), which typically makes up 45-55 per cent of a grower’s costs.

We take great pride in always paying our suppliers the agreed price on time, and keeping our promises, to the letter and to the spirit; something which is unheard of in our industry, where retail buyers routinely use spurious quality issues to wriggle out of contracts.

In 2021, we published our official Supplier Charter, which seeks to ensure that Riverford always lives up to our ethics in our dealings with suppliers. It is a remarkable document, which will protect our founding values long after the current team and I are gone; those with the time and interest can read it here

    Comments

    chilting

    3 Weeks 6 Days

    A very happy new year to all at Riverford.
    One little challenge for you.

    I note that your supplier ReRooted is using returnable glass bottles.

    Maybe your dairy might make a new years resolution to make a start using returnable glass bottles and jars some time in 2022?

    0 Reply

    kkarenm

    3 Weeks 2 Days

    I'd love to see that happen as well Riverford. I used to get my milk from Milk & More before moving house. Maybe you should do a deal with them to bottle your milk.??

    0 Reply

    Guy Singh-Watson

    Guy Singh-Watson has over the last 30 years taken Riverford from one man and a wheelbarrow delivering homegrown organic veg to friends, to a national veg box scheme delivering to around 80,000 customers a week. Tired of meetings, brands and the assumption that greed is our predominant motivation, Guy converted the business to employee ownership in 2018, using the proceeds to buy a small farm and return to growing organic vegetables. In common with many of Riverford’s new co-owners, Guy is an advocate of using business to shape a part of the world, however small, to be kinder, more considerate and sustainable; more like the world most of us want to live in.  His weekly newsletters connect people to the farm with refreshingly honest accounts of the trials and tribulations of producing organic food, and the occasional rant about farming, ethical and business issues he feels strongly about.

    Wicked Leeks issue 8

    Wicked Leeks is out now

    Featuring a cover interview with Patagonia, the latest news from COP26, and living for a new era. Plus meet the farm of the future, how to eat to protect biodiversity and seasonal eating in autumn.

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    Leading the Veg Revolution

    Shop seasonal organic veg boxes or explore Riverford's recipe hub, for veg help and foodie inspiration.

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    How to cook with a veg box

    From meal planning to unusual veg: food writer Stacey Smith talks through how to cook with a veg box.

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