Sales at Peterborough farm soar as bad weather hits imports of veg

A shortage of vegetables from overseas has helped sales to flourish at a Peterborough organic farm.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 13th March 2017, 12:52 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:37 am

Riverford Organics, at Sacrewell Farm, has seen sales of its veg boxes and other organic produce rise by seven per cent in the first nine weeks of 2017.

The figures are based on the farm’s average year-on-year figures.

Storms and torrential rain affecting crops in mainland Europe has led to a shortage of imported vegetables such as courgettes, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and celery with some supermarkets rationing the amount that can be bought.

Riverford says its sales growth is also linked to a greater interest by consumers about they way their food is produced.

David Simpson, who helps run the farm, said: “It’s great that we’re relearning the potential of great British veg, and embracing seasonal British winter crops instead of relying on imports.

“Right now our fields are brimming with wonderful cabbages, leeks, kale, swede and flavourful greenery that have much more to offer than imported courgettes or watery iceberg lettuce.

“A lack of lettuce isn’t a big deal.

“One of our most popular winter recipes is our Kale Caesar Salad; it’s always a hit and people often aren’t aware that kale can be a far superior substitute for bland salad leaves.

“It’s also really easy to make a vibrant winter slaw using beetroot, carrot, red cabbage and swede – all in season and growing in British fields right now.

Mr Simpson added: “In our experience of growing for supermarkets, up to a half of all veg was often left in the field due to unnecessarily tight cosmetic specifications.

“We don’t believe in such needless waste so for example, we’re currently including under sized broccoli heads in our veg boxes, but just giving more of them.

“Because we grow, source, pack and deliver our veg ourselves, we have the flexibility to widen our specifications.”

According to the Soil Association, demand for organic food is at its highest for more than a decade.