Gibside Community Farm: F&N quality vegetables and packaging

Packaging

We want to keep packaging to a minimum to keep a low carbon footprint and to avoid the unnecessary use of plastic which is so harmful to our environment.  Your veg will come in a large jute bag, which is made of friendly eco sacking and easily recycled and compostable.  We will package the veg using a minimum of plastic and packaging according to the principles set out below.   We ask you to provide your recycled plastic bags/compostable bags to use in packing your veg within the jute bag.  We use our own paper and compostable bags when necessary.

Root vegetables: e.g. potatoes, beetroot, swede, turnips, onions, carrots, squash, garlic

Many of our root vegetables come unwashed.  We don’t wash veg because we want to avoid introducing bacteria; also veg that hasn’t been cleaned keeps for longer.   Sometimes it is raining/wet when we harvest in the morning, and so the veg might be wet and a little muddy for packing.  Your root veg will be packed without packaging, but other veg needing to be kept clean will be packaged to make sure its not in contact with the unwashed veg.

Perishable Leaves: e.g. kale, chard, lettuce, leaf beat

These are harvested the same morning as the bags are packed and delivered.   We pack them in re-cycled plastic/compostable bags both to keep them clean and to preserve them for longer as they will wilt quickly otherwise. 

Veg which may need to be kept clean: e.g. peas (mange tout, sugar snap), lettuce, calabrese, broccoli, French beans, runner beans, broad beans, tomatoes, apples, leeks, spring onion, herb bunch, rhubarb, cauliflower,

These will be packaged to keep them clean. 

Miscellaneous veg: courgette, cabbage, sweetcorn, fennel, radishes, sprout tops

Depending on how dirty the other veg are we will package these.

Quality of vegetables

We aim always to provide quality vegetables at the cheapest price possible.  We only sell the veg we grow, which means that it is seasonal to a windy field in Gateshead.  We don’t buy veg in.   We are certified organic by the Soil Association who inspect us each year.  This means that we do not use artificial fertiliser, herbicides or pesticides.  We use green manures (plants that are grown to be nutritious to the soil, which are ploughed back into the ground) and we also use horse manure supplied by the riding stables next door. (The horse manure is certified that the horses are not fed any GM based feed.) We try and get the highest quality veg from the harvest, however sometimes it will be imperfectly shaped or might have provided a small meal to insects!  If it is wet when we harvest the veg might be muddy.  So, it might not be the pristine veg you find in supermarkets but we think it tastes much better and is healthier.  It is also better for the planet and the long-term sustainability of agriculture.

Refunds and replacements

Sometimes by accident veg gets put into your bag which is sub-standard.  This might be potatoes with a blight hole or a bruise.  It might be a radish which is woody and no longer tender.  Please let us know if you are not happy and we will refund the cost of the vegetable and/or provide you with extra of that veg the next week.  Please talk to us.  We value your custom and wish to give you a good service.

Covid 19 hygiene arrangements

During the coronavirus crisis we have put in place hygiene arrangements to reduce the risk of infection.  The number of members on the field at any one point has been reduced, we have a system for cleaning the tools and require members to use disposable gloves when handling veg.  Please follow hygiene rules yourself when you get the bags and veg home.

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