Ethical Farming with Riverford
Riverford began many moon’s ago in the mid-80’s when founder Guy Singh-Watson took over a small corner of his parents farm. Watson pioneered the veg box through local supply and ethical farming to the Riverford Organics we all know so well.
Due to strong demand, further farms were swept on board, and created a stronger bigger team to the Riverford Organics supply. For instance; did you know onions do better up north, as they can tolerate the cold weather of the northern climates; whilst cauliflower is best by the sea as the ocean water reduces the classic detrimental frost that can damage growth.
Watson stepped over, through and around the East side of the Atlantic ocean to reap the seeds sown by our local sources of the organic European farm friends. This closed the gap between seasonal produce, by using farms in nearby countries such as France, you have earlier crops and ultimately, good variation. Throughout winter the main UK crops are the classic UK potatoes and cabbages.
The brassica family such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages and kale will show up galore in your winter veg boxes. Full of good nutrition and flavour, they make the perfect accompaniment to Wholesome World recipes such as Sauerkraut, Leftovers Shakshuka or Crispy Roasted Kale.
Riverford have refined growing techniques which enable good yields over the winter months. This is done through ‘non-energetic’ polytunnels, which means they can also extend the growth of salad all year round to lower importation and thus reducing their yearly carbon footprint, a strong ethic of Riverford.
Whilst taking a peek inside the farm and kitchen restaurant you notice that squashes are a top vegetable, if they’re not on your plate, they’re adorning the windowsills. A staple crop for ample salads, soups and curries to try. Give our Roasted Squash Soup or Squash and Beet Salad a try.
The most quirky component in their collection is the loofah harvest, grown on their farm in France. An alien looking plant that you simply turn into a loofah. You peel off the skin, shake out the seeds and open it out into a natural exfoliating sponge or dish scourer.
Not only does the Farm hold their crops in high regard but also their staff who are considered equals.
Ethical farming is big business, with Riverford delivering up to 80,000 veg boxes per week, which allows the farm to spread the awareness and understanding as to the benefits they push to reduce their impact on the planet further than the plants, but through to the deliveries.
To date, 50% of their vehicles are electric whilst working towards switching the HGB’s (not a simple feat), realising a smoothed but through a temporary step with the utilising of waste-veg bio-fuel. This reduces emissions and balances out the allowance of waste to keep within their environmental status while they step even further (very impressed to say there is more) up the ecological ladder.
Imagine if more companies had the strength to do so… They are a strong pioneer in our current world to prove such eco steps are adherable.
Riverford have worked hard towards maintaining their organic credentials: Organic soil aid, zero chemicals and techniques such as crop rotation are used.
This allows the earth to evolve a microbiome for sustaining a variety of organisms, to keep the soil nutrient dense. This is further encouraged by simple techniques such as hedges and strips of grass for ‘insect highways’.
In the polytunnels, the farm introduce local pest larvae, which once hatched, eat the aphids and control disease. Working with nature, not against it.
The more diverse you are with the plants that you eat, the healthier your gut which in turn, enhances your wellbeing. In terms of growth aid and contamination, produce likely to carry the most pesticides,known as the ‘Dirty Ten’, are worth committing to organic only:
Strawberries – Spinach – Kale – Nectarines – Apples – Grapes – Cherries -Peaches – Tomatoes – peppers
How your food is grown or raised can have a major impact on your mental and emotional health as well as the environment. Organic foods often have more beneficial nutrients, such as antioxidants, than their conventionally-grown counterparts and people with allergies to foods, chemicals, or preservatives may find their symptoms lessen or go away when they eat only organic foods.
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