Organic food remains a bit of a controversial topic. Food politics is usually big news and has become more so recently. Concerns about food safety, climate change and marine pollution seem to be driving the discussions.
The early days
Our view has always been quite grounded. Many years ago when we first opened, we could see that organic farming offered an opportunity to do things differently. We liked the idea of transparency, accountability and traceability which certification ensured. Establishing a working community of like minded farmers which could help reduce widespread pesticide use, encourage biodiversity and improve animal welfare ? Well, it just seemed common sense to us.
When we first opened, customers often said that organic food was just what food used to be. Organic farming was seen by many of our shoppers as simply traditional and old fashioned approach. It offered a bit of an alternative in the face of fast forward farming and industrial food production. Nowadays it seems to take almost a degree level of education in the subject to wade through the fine details of debate on ecological issues .And to us at least, in a post-truth world, sometimes the wood can get lost for the trees.
And because we started by dealing in local organic food, we have come to quite a settled view of the value of organic food in the north east. In our early years of trading we were fortunate enough to spend time on a lot of the local organic farms, and over the years we have become more aquainted with all the farms we buy from at home and abroad. We have physically seen the difference less intensive farming can make to food quality, the eco system and animal welfare. In the early years having enough cauliflowers sometimes used to mean we would pitch in with the harvest with local growers.
Pay a visit to an organic farm ?
And we still suggest that if ever you get the chance, you can pay a visit to some of our big suppliers such as Piercebridge farm, Broomhouse farm or Newfields organics. Just going to the river at Piercebridge farm was enough to help convince us of the value of organic farming. The clear water, the wild fauna and the butterflys said it all.
Step out the car at Newfields farm shop at Fadmoor and something just feels right. The first time we visited the farm we knew in minutes we wanted them to be our first choice veg supplier. The air, the soil and the water that crossed the landed held us in an almost otherworldy spell. Newfields have been organic since the early 80’s and you just have to hold the soil in you hand to feel the richness and wealth of goodness that has been worked back into it over the years.
Organic food now
But Newfields aside, looking around Newcastle it’s clear organic food is also a workable choice in more urban environments as well. If you get the time check out some of our more local smaller growers. Visit food nation, Scotswood community garden, Gibside community farm or North East Organic Growers. These thriving small farms demonstrate how much enthusiasm for organic growing can be found at a grassroots level.
And for us it is not just about local organic food anymore. Since we started trading the national organic food supply has become much more efficient. We can now order organic fruit and veg to be picked from all round the country, and even the continent. Some of our continental farms are among the most dedicated growers in Europe and are pioneers in sustainability.
Supporting UK organic farming, and reducing air miles with seasonal continental produce is now a part of the business which we confidently take on. It’s crucial to allowing our customers to enjoy a wealth of seasonal flavours all year round. And It’s all part of working towards our zero-waste and environmental goals.