Riverford Wicked Leeks

Food waste

We hate food waste here at Riverford, and compared to farmers who supply supermarkets we have very little; selling direct to the customer means that every vegetable already has a home in our veg boxes before it is even planted.

Our grade-out system

There are occasions when a batch of fruit or veg simply can’t go into the boxes. It may be too large, too ripe, or partly damaged. Whatever the reason, we have a system in place to make sure it does not go to waste.

Charity donations: Every week, local charities collect our grade-out veg for use in children’s centres, soup kitchens and refuges.

Our staff canteen and our restaurants: Lots of our grade-out fruit and veg is used in the Riverford Field Kitchen restaurant here on the farm, and at our pub, The Duke of Cambridge in Islington.

Free veg for staff: Our staff eat well. Not only do they get subsidised meals, but they get grade-out fruit and veg too. There’s always a flurry of activity when there are strawberries in grade-out!

The Riverford Dairy herd: Cows love our veg too! Who knew. Their favourite is broccoli, but they are not so keen on oranges.

We can’t donate all types of grade out veg though; beetroot makes their milk pink, while onions and garlic taint the flavour of the milk.

Why is reducing food waste important? | Read more on Wicked Leeks


If any of our crops produces more than we expect, we are usually able to accommodate the surplus in our veg boxes. Often it means that our customers get larger portions for free!


We also work with the Gleaning Network UK if we have crops in the field that we can’t harvest in time. Watch our 2 minute video to find out what happened when we have a 10 tonne broad bean glut.