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Guy's news: salad days

After the coldest start to May I can remember, temperatures are finally on the rise. We lost a few early planted courgettes to the latest frost I have encountered in my growing career, but most crops have benefited and come through unscathed. Best of all there seems to be a remarkable lack of weed, so the farm is looking very tidy. Our crop covers work wonders in the cold bright weather; the big decision now is when to remove them. Ideally we are looking are looking for a warm, still and overcast day for a gentle exposure to the elements.

Salads, particularly lettuce, love sunshine. After three pretty awful salad summers it is gratifying to see perfectly even, weed-free rows of lettuce, rocket, mizuna, mustard, baby chard, spinach and beets stretching up the field; it almost makes me feel that we know what we are doing. Rocket is our ultimate challenge and still has a tendency to turn yellow if you look at it the wrong way. We have been cutting leaves for three weeks and the first little gem lettuce will be in the boxes this week.

It is hard to pitch it right in terms of salad in the boxes; for some (me included) the first hint of summer brings a move to salad with every meal, for others, one lettuce lasts a fortnight. From 7th June we are changing things a bit. Instead of the existing family salad mix there will be a four item salad bag at £5.45 (normally filled with a lettuce or salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber and one other item), aimed at those wanting extra salad to accompany their veg or fruit box, and a salad box at £9.95 (typically lettuce, salad leaves, cucumber, tomatoes and three other items; perhaps new potatoes, celery, peppers or sugar snap peas) which can be ordered on its own without worrying about our minimum spend.

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    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.

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