The organic certificate and trading schedule have now been updated so any of you that are having your inspections will be happy!!
Hopefully someone will be keeping this page more up to date but I might have to teach someone how to do it first ;-) or I could just come in and do it myself... I do miss this place
Take care all of you. Petra
Well it's been a while since we could find the time to update you all on our goings on.
As you have probably guessed the UK produce is at an all time low. Due to the very wet summer that we've had most of our growers are having a tough time of it and you are feeling it too as we are having to rely on imports more than usual.
Now that we've rediscovered our website everyone thats asked to get on our retailer page should start appearing soon???
The big news this week is that we now have a facebook page! You can find us if you search for "Organic North" (We should have an icon on the website, but we are having trouble with the coding, so you'll have to bear with us). Please do go on and " like" us if you get the chance. If you have anything you would like to post, please feel free, but do keep it clean and nice ;)
Great news too for Loch Arthur this week, as they have just won two major awards at the 2011 British Cheese Awards - They won "Best Organic Cheese" for their Farmhouse Cheese and "Best Scottish Cheese" for their Criffel.
We, of course, supply both of these, so if you you are not yet stocking them, get on to Petra and order today!
Plenty of fabulous fruit and vegetables around at the moment, as you would expect at this time of year. Lots of delicious squash varieties available, rainbow carrots, purple and Romanesco cauliflowers etc.
A bumper harvest of apples too this year - we have 14 varieties on our list at the moment, so you are spoilt for choice. English pears have been good too; Joe Pardoe is currently supplying us with delicious "Concorde" variety (a cross between Conference and Comice - very sweet and good for salads, cheese and sweets because they are unusually slow to brown once cut).
It's August and there is now an abundance of fantastic British produce available from all of our growers.
There are New Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Broccoli, Cauliflowers of varying colours, Beans of every description, Tomatoes, Kale, Cabbages, Courgettes, Beetroot, Lettuces, Spinach, Celery, Kohl Rabi, Squashes, Apples, Plums......... the list goes on and on.
Not only is there so much to choose from, but everything is of a really high standard and we are very grateful to them all for all the hard work they are putting in.
Here are a couple of pictures of just a tiny fraction of the rich bounty on offer:
Discovery Apples from Carol at Oakwood Farm
Victoria Plums from Joe Pardoe
Pink & Green Kale Peter & Cheryl at Royal Oak
Well, it's official : Christmas is coming! This is a picture sent to us by Cheryl at Royal Oak Farm of their sprouts, which as you can see are growing nicely.
Apples have been in the news this week; it is apparently the earliest apple season on record (that's according to radio 4, so it must be true!). Discovery apples are ready for picking about a month earlier than the average.
We are expecting our first batch of Dicoverys from Carol at Oakwood, in the next couple of weeks, which is good news as we have been relying on either New Zealand apples or very expensive French ones.
We are also looking forward to some plums which Joe Pardoe has promised will be ready in a fortnight.
There is now a lot of British produce available and the prices are coming down. Inevitably this coincides with everyone going on holiday, but isn't that always the way?
Never mind.....it'll soon be Christmas!
It is with great sadness this week that we have to report the passing of Kevin Proctor, who died last weekend after a long battle with cancer.
Kevin has been instrumental in the running of Organic North since its inception and was, for many years the driving force behind the growth and smooth running of the business.
Kevin will be remembered by us all as the quiet voice of reason and someone for whom everyone had a great deal of time, respect and affection.
Our thoughts go out to Kevin's wife Pauline and all of Kevin's family.
He will be greatly missed by us all.
Hi again. We seem to be racing through the months, and now we have reached July, the English growing season is really starting to get going.
Royal Oak are now back in production and are supplying us with an ever increasing list of produce, there are plenty of soft fruits now available - the cherries, raspberries, strawberries and blackcurrants have been really good this year (and much of it local too, from just down the road at Dunham Massey).
New season English carrots are just coming in now and we have fresh garlic and some early onions too.
We have just become members of the Organic Trade Board, which should provide us some help with marketing and we are now looking forward to Organic September and are starting to think about things we can do to promote us, our customers and organic fruit & veg in general.
If you have any ideas, please do let us know.
As we move into the summer months, more English and UK produce is becoming available. We now have new potatoes available from both Lyncroft Farm and Manic Organic, both of whom are based in Ormskirk, Lancashire. Blackcurrants and gooseberries have been coming from Chris Hewitt at Dunham Massey, with the promise of raspberries to come. Courgettes and broad beans, lettuces and tomatoes are all in full swing now and there are lots of fresh herbs coming through from Strawberry Fields.
In the next 2 - 3 weeks we are expecting one of our biggest and most popular growers, Royal Oak, to begin their season. They will be offering peas, potatoes, various courgettes, broad beans and rhubarb, with more to come later - Cheryl has promised to let us know as soon as anything is ready.
There is lots to look forward to........
Well, the ecoli outbreak seems to have abated and though there has been, and is unlikely to be, any final confirmation, all indications seem to point to the outbreak having originated in beansprouts from a German farm.
We supply beansprouts from Aconbury Sprouts who have sent us a letter with the following advice:
"Harmful organisms found in beansprouts in most cases have been shown to come from the seed. This is why we have every batch of seed we buy tested by an outside laboratory.....Our tests already include generic E.Coli as well as the more dangerous O157:H7. As soon as the test method for the strain involved in the current outbreak is established we will add it to our test suite....... In the meantime there is no reason to believe there is any increased risk from the consumption of our beansprouts in the raw state, though there is always the added safeguard available of cooking them first."
As an organic wholesaler, it seems only right that we should make some comment regarding the German/Spanish E.coli outbreak, which has hit the headlines over the past few days and which, so far, has been responsible for 14 deaths.
It has been confirmed that the EHEC-bacteria has been found on a batch of Spanish cucumbers which was imported to Hamburg by the German importer, Behncker.
The cucumbers in question originated from the Spanish organic company, Frunet. However, there is still much uncertainty over the origin of the contamination. While German retailers have removed all Spanish cucumbers from their shelves and some other European countries have temporarily banned Spanish salad products, a Frunet spokesman was quoted as saying that there was no sign of any infection at their company. There are also reports that a pallet of loose cucumbers from Frunet was tipped over, but it has not been established whether this was responsible for the contamination. One anonymous EU source has said that the transport chain between Spain and Hamburg is so long that the cucumbers could have been contaminated at any point along the route. To further muddy the waters, the President of Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has stated that although the EHEC - bacteria was found on cucumbers, this did not mean that the outbreak was confined to cucumbers alone.
The World Health Organisation have described the outbreak as "very large and very severe" and also say that nearly all cases in other countries, have a link to Germany via travel or residence. The Food Standards Agency has issued a statement to the effect that all consumers should follow best practice and thoroughly wash all salad items before consumption.
Test results in Spain and Germany are expected in the next couple of days, so we will update this news when more is known.
Once again it's been a long time since we updated our news, but I am now back from maternity leave (Trinity is now 4 months old and doing well!). The UK growing season is now starting to get underway; we have English lettuces, spring greens and cucumbers, and the first English tomatoes. The tomatoes are coming from a new supplier to us, Alderton Nurseries in Gloucestershire. Their first batch of tomatoes are fabulous and we expect to see cherry tomatoes, among other things from them, later in the year. English asparagus has been terrific this year and is still going strong, and we have Jersey Royals and the first courgettes fom Jersey Quality Produce whose produce always lives up to their name. In the coming weeks we will be expecting to see locally grown new potatoes, blackcurrants, carrots and more. Watch this space...
It's been a while. Sorry we've been a bit quiet but we've been beavering away at finding someone suitable to help in the office..... then along came Bob (from the warehouse) and offered his services. So a few weeks down the line and he's fitted in with the madness very well. He still needs a little time to get used to it all, so be gentle!
Hello and goodbye! Jo is leaving us for pastures new. She has been studying towards accountancy exams for some time and is now moving on to further her career in that direction. While she will be missed, we will have Sean back, good as new (we hope!) to make enough noise for two. Go easy on Petra while she's on her own in the office! Good Luck Jo and Welcome Back Sean.
Poor old Sean! Those of you who visit the warehouse regularly will notice that it's a bit quieter than usual .... life and soul of the warehouse, Sean, has broken his arm (playing football, as it happens) and won't be back at work for a few weeks yet. Bob is bearing the burden well but we all look forward to having Sean back at work. GET WELL SOON!
New Dairy Ranges
We are delighted to have two new dairy ranges available.
Loch Arthur is a working Community in South West Scotland which includes men and women with learning disabilities. There are nine houses in which altogether more than 70 people live, including about twenty-eight people in supported tenancies. There is a farm, a large garden, a creamery, a bakery, a woodworkshop, a weaving workshop and a thriving farm shop. Loch Arthur is a shared way of life in a modern rural Community. It offers security, together with challenges and is committed to the fulfilment of the individual through a diversity of relationships and activities which create authentic social integration.
We are lucky to be able to offer the fabulous yoghurt made at Loch Arthur Creamery (both full-fat and low-fat) as well their Crannog and farmhouse cheeses.
Calon Wen is a Co-op owned by over 20 farming families from across Wales and is the first dairy in the UK to achieve the Soil Association Ethical Trade Symbol. Their milk is used by Rachel's Organic Dairy and Caws Cenarth cheese and, now, us!
We stock Calon Wen's gorgeous creamy butter and tasty cheeses (including the new Armel cheese which was an instant hit in our warehouse) as well as their milk. Please ask us about the low-packaging, waste-reducing ecopak option - these are pouches of milk that drop into a plastic jug which sits in the fridge door and have 75% less packaging than the traditional plastic bottle. We do, however, still supply the plastic bottles for those that prefer them.
Here's an update from our friends at Elm Farm (aka Woodlands Farm).
BIODYNAMIC FARMING AT WOODLANDS FARM
In April 2009 we set up a 300 acre biodynamic farming pilot project at Woodlands, our idea being to try and deepen and build upon the organic farming approach being practiced on the farm. Our first certified biodynamic crops (vegetables and cereals) are now being harvested with turkeys, pork and eggs to follow. Biodynamic produce, which carries the Demeter symbol, meets and surpasses Organic Standards.
Biodynamic farming, sometimes called organic plus is widely acknowledged to be one of the most sustainable forms of farming in existence. Developed in the 1920s, some years before the emergence of the Soil Association and organic farming, it carries within it the recognition that all life is interconnected and that every piece of land, however small, can be considered a microcosm of a greater whole. Emphasis is placed upon enhancing and developing the uniqueness and self-sufficiency of the individual farm.
Biodynamic farms tend to be mixed farms at the heart of which lie the farm animals. Their manure, in conjunction with well rotted farm compost, is used to help intensify the soil along with plant health and vitality. Biodynamic farmers use special biodynamic preparations (or homeopathic tonics) to further enhance soil life and increase plant health. These are prepared on farm.
Now available: cauliflower, cavelo nero, green kale, red kale
Coming soon: spring cabbage, green cabbage, sprouting broccoli, Russian kale
Well here we are - at the end of yet another wet summer (though this one wasn't as bad as the previous two!) Soft fruit is coming to an end now, along with summer veg but there's always a silver lining: English apples and pears are here and will be with us for some time to come yet, crisp and tasty. Winter squash are always worth looking forward to and we're hoping for a bumper crop of root veg: sweet parsnips, startling celeriac, brilliant beetroot and earthy swede will provide the base for many a winter stew and keep us going until the advent of that old favourite, the Brussel sprout.
Supplier News - here's an update from the good people at Strawberry Fields.
It is with great pleasure that we can now announce that all our packaging is now biodegradable. It comes after three years of blood, sweat and mostly tears and the saga has been more far-fetched than an episode of Eastenders. It has been a minefield to negotiate and how I wish I had listened from the back seat in the GCE Chemistry class many moons ago.
There is still a bit of fine-tuning to be done, for instance the little gem and romaine heart bags could be stickier but the bag company is working on that one. The steel wickets (those bits of metal that hold the bags when you tie them around your waist) are returned for re-use next time. Those annoying strips which tear off to expose the adhesive and seem to be around forever will also be returned for recycling once we figure out a way of collecting them before they blow to kingdom come. All cardboard waste is already sold for Stickford Church funds
I will just mention here for those that haven't seen it the wind turbine that has been in operation a year now and must be earning us Brownie points into the bargain.
Of course these bags come at a price and this extra cost we are absorbing ourselves.