Our Farmers and Growers
The bag scheme sources fruit and veg from as close to Hackney as possible. We grow Hackney salad right here on our Patchwork Farm, and tomatoes, aubergines, chillies and more on our Dagenham Farm. We are committed to working with small-scale organic and biodynamic farmers and growers from the areas closest to London. Most of these are in Kent, Essex, Cambridgeshire and East Anglia. We supplement the bags with fruit and veg from further afield when local produce is not available.
The Apricot Centre
83 Manningtree Road, Manningtree
Tel: 01206 230425
Marina O'Connell grows organic plums, greengages, apples and soft fruit on her 4-acre small-holding in Manningtree, Essex - which she brings to the farmers' market in season and supplies to the box scheme. At the market, Marina also sells delicious jams, cordials and compotes made from her fruit, alongside flowers from her garden. Out of season, Marina runs courses at the Apricot Centre on permaculture, sustainable horticulture and creativity as well as lots of other activities. See her website for more details.
Tel: 01223 894599
Wild Country Organics
Adrian Izzard grows a wide range of organic salad leaves (which won the award for best fresh food at the Soil Association Organic Awards in 2014) and Asian greens such as pak choi, tatsoi, mustard leaves and coriander in his unheated glasshouses at Great Abingdon, Cambridgeshire. He has recently taken on another 30 acres of land to grow field crops, so he will be contributing more root veg, such as parsnips and beetroot, to the box scheme and market. He grows a gorgeous range of tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers and aubergines (including a stripy variety that won him a Soil Association Organic Food Award in 2012) all of which he brings to the farmers' market in season.
Tel: 01227 732208
Martin Mackey is a small tenant farmer from the Stour Valley in Kent. He farms 35 acres where he grows over 15 different organic potato varieties as well brassicas, salad leaves, carrots, beetroot and leeks. He has recently taken on more land which includes an old walled garden where he has started to grow fruit including strawberries and apples. His particular passion is potatoes! His favourite potato? Arran Victory.
Tel: 01227 732001
A G Brockman
Patrick Brockman grows biodynamic vegetables on his farm near Canterbury. The farm was started by his father and has been growing biodynamically since the 1950s. Patrick produces a wide range of veg including salad leaves, brassicas, herbs, potatoes, beetroot and carrots. He also produces aubergines, peppers and chillies in his polytunnel in the summer. Patrick has recently started to produce some delicious chutneys and ketchups made from produce grown on the farm and is starting to expand into wholesaling too.
Hall Farm, Tillingham
Essex CMO 7ST
Tel: 01621 778844
Sarah Green's Organics is situated in Tillingham, on the Dengie Peninsula in Essex, 50 miles east of London. She grows a wide selection of seasonal organic vegetables onher 30-acre farm and harvests the vegetables fresh from the field specifically to order. As well as coming to the farmers' market every other week, Sarah is a regular supplier to the box scheme and also supplies several of the community groups on the Start-up Programme with veg for their box schemes. Sarah is particularly proud of her purple-sprouting broccoli, broad beans and caulis, including romanescu and purple varieties.
Hawkwood Plant Nursery
115 Hawkwood Crescent
Tel: 020 8524 4994
Organiclea is a workers' coop based on the edge of Epping Forest in the Lea valley. They grow fruit, vegetables and herbs at the Hawkwood Nursery market garden outdoors and under glass. Like Growing Communities, Organiclea's star product is its salad, with a mix of over 40 different plants evolving through the seasons, but it also supplies celery, squash and other veg to the box scheme, as well as providing some strawberries in the summer. The site offers regular volunteering opportunities for those with or without previous growing experience, as well as both formal and informal training and skillsharing workshops involving practical work on the site.
c/o Growing Communities
Grahame Hughes has been growing organically in Norfolk since 1982 and selling produce from other organic farmers in East Anglia since the early 1990s. He founded and ran Eostre Organics, the marketing arm of the East Anglian organic growers co-operative until it folded in 2008. Grahame and Lizzie Hughes, together with their son Josh, still grow veg in their greenhouse in Bunwell, Norfolk. They also run a wholesale business that provides much of the veg for the box scheme, as well as the bananas, which are imported from organic growers in the Dominican Republic.
Tel: Antony 07968 805299
Pear Necessities sells organic pears at the market from September through to Christmas from their small organic pear orchard near Goudhourst in Kent. The 10 acre orchard grows four varieties of pear: Conference, Comice, Packham and Concorde. Pear Necessities is a partnership established in 2008 to convert an existing conventionally farmed orchard to organic methods. Pear Necessities aim to grow fruit using carbon-conserving methods of feeding and disease control. The farm received full organic status in August 2010 and is now planting a new fruit and nut orchard in a 7 acre pasture beside the existing pear orchard. In years to come they will be harvesting (and selling!) apples, plums, cherries, figs, apricots and more.
Unit A53 - A58
New Covent Garden
Tel: 020 7622 7440
Langridge is an organic wholesaler selling UK-grown and imported fruit and veg through Covent Garden market. It also has its own farms, including Langridge Farm in Devon, which is run by David Govier. The farm consists of 270 acres of traditional mixed organic land, split between vegetable production, livestock and mixed managed woodland. David’s main crops are spinach, chards and kales. He also grows some wonderful purple and white sprouting broccoli along with hearty cabbage.
Langridge sources the citrus fruit for the box scheme from a number of European organic growers and co-ops, including Agrinova Bio 2000 in Eastern Sicily, a collection of producers and agronomists who help to support the growers. Agrinova distributes fruit across Italy as well as further afield, and considers the environment in everything it does including transport and packaging.
c/o Growing Communities
Mole End Farm
Paul Ward and Sara Rowan started growing fruit organically in 1994, after discovering that 90% of the UK organic fruit market was supplied by imports, sending the environmental benefits of these production systems abroad. They now grow fruit on five sites in Kent which include conservation areas to provide bio-diversity and a home for natural predators who feed upon the crop’s insect pests as well as offering a wealth of habitat for native wildlife. They grow apples for the box scheme.