October

Friday 26th April 2013

Last time I met Keith Abel, Riverford’s arch rival, he told me over a pork pie: “The problem with you, Guy, is that you’re so f…ing boring”. He looked pretty pleased with life and I wondered if he was right. We started our businesses about the same time. He was selling potatoes door to door; I was growing them. We... continued

Friday 26th April 2013

25 years ago, having given up my brief career as a management consultant, I returned to my father’s farm for Christmas to rethink my life. Milking cows in a family partnership hadn’t worked for me; nor had the urban hedonism of 1980s London and New York. I concluded that I was unemployable and so would start my own business. By... continued

Friday 26th April 2013

Back in the early ’80s, before Riverford was organic, it was my job to spray the barley. The chemical cocktail was vile and I regularly suffered headaches, but the government’s directorate assured me the herbicides, insecticides and fungicides were safe for me, the environment and consumers. Over the last 40 years most of those chemicals have been withdrawn, often due... continued

Friday 26th April 2013

A few days of dry, bright weather last week allowed us to finish planting the over wintered onions and garlic. We still have 70 acres of potatoes in the ground; most days it is too wet for the huge modern harvesters to move and the harvesting webs that sieve the potatoes block quickly in wet soil. 25 years ago, when... continued

Wednesday 24th April 2013

For years we agonised over whether the benefits of tunnels (earliness, quality and cropping reliability) justified the eyesore. Last year we took the plunge and covered three acres of our best land with polytunnels, doubling our area of protected cropping. Despite the lack of sunshine, these three acres have been the most prosperous on the farm this year, providing good... continued