- Is your produce organically certified?
- Can I choose which vegetables to buy from you?
- Where is your produce grown?
- Can I visit and/or volunteer on your site?
- What growing methods do you use specifically?
- Why should I buy from Vallis Veg when I can get the same produce more cheaply from the supermarket?
Is your produce organically certified?
No. We’ve considered certification, but decided against it for various reasons. The main one is that certification is principally geared to long retail chains in order to assure consumers who cannot see or ask about the producing farm themselves. Our customers, on the other hand, buy direct from us and live locally: we’re happy to answer any questions about our production methods, or for you to visit our site (see our web pages about [our farming methods] and [visiting us]). Virtually everything we do corresponds to organic standards, and in some cases goes beyond them. Another reason we’re not organically certified is because the process is disproportionately expensive for small-scale growers: non-certification helps us to keep our costs and prices down. A final reason is a bit more political: we disagree with the idea that growers who don’t use pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and so on should have to pay to be recognised as such. We think it would be better if the growers who do use these methods were the ones who required certification! The produce that we buy in from other commercial growers is, however, always organically certified. Generally speaking, we’ve found that our customers are happy to trust our integrity as local growers and aren’t concerned that we lack formal certification (and of course formal certification isn’t foolproof in detecting bad practice). But we’re always interested in hearing our customers’ opinions, and will keep organic certification under review in response to customer views.
Can I choose which vegetables to buy from you?
Yes. Buying from our [veg van] or [online store] enables you to choose exactly what you want to buy. Our box scheme customers commit to receiving a regular box of good value seasonal vegetables. If there are things you don’t want to receive in your box we’ll try to accommodate your requirements – please contact us to discuss this. If you have very specific requirements our Veg Van or Online Shop may be better options for you.
Where is your produce grown?
We grow as much of our produce as possible (the majority of it) on our own site on the outskirts of Frome. Like most box scheme providers, however, we do buy in some produce from other growers in order to balance supply and demand, particularly during the winter and early spring. We buy from the Community Farm, an excellent local social enterprise, and sometimes from local amateur gardeners who we trust. It’s difficult for us to grow enough potatoes, carrots and onions to match demand, so these are the crops that we tend to buy in the most, although we’re working to increase our growing capacity in this respect. How much we buy in depends on the growing season and the level of demand. We always list the provenance of our produce week-to-week on our website. For those customers familiar with our original box scheme (2008-12), we are now growing a much larger proportion of our own produce.
Can I visit and/or volunteer on your site?
Yes. Please see our Visitors, Volunteers and Camping page.
What growing methods do you use specifically?
There’s quite a lot of information on our How We Farm pages about how we grow your produce. If you don’t find the answers you want there, feel free to contact us and ask!
Why should I buy from Vallis Veg when I can get the same produce more cheaply from the supermarket?
Well, first of all, have a good look at those supermarket prices – they may not be quite as cheap as you think! Still, it’s true that you can sometimes save a bit of money by buying from mainstream providers rather than us (depending on the vegetable, season etc). But here’s a few reasons why we’d respectfully suggest you might consider buying from us instead.
- First, it’s harder to get vegetables that are grown any more locally than ours short of growing them yourself, with all of the sustainability and freshness benefits that that entails. Most of your veg will have been picked on the day you buy it – and our direct selling methods together with our various events, open days, volunteering and other site activities give you the opportunity to be involved directly with the provenance of your food.
- Second, as you’ll see from our Publications and How We Farm pages, we’re actively involved in developing a more sustainable, lower input form of farming (‘agroecology’) as an alternative to the unsustainable practices in much modern agriculture – by buying from us you’re supporting these efforts to develop a truly sustainable agriculture.
- Finally, we’re a small local business; studies have shown that supporting local businesses helps boost the local economy, supports local jobs and keeps money flowing locally rather than diverting them into corporate coffers. You can make your money talk in Frome by buying from us!