Not snow much waste….

It’s a new week and today there’s little resemblance to the winter wonderlands our organic farms became last week, just the odd muddy, slushy white spots dotted around the fields, and a welcome temperature of 7°C. Our south Devon farm was affected the most, when a combination of the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma left us with over 20cm of snow.

This meant we couldn’t make it to a lot of customers on Friday, and we’ve had a few warranted questions about what will happen to the veg that we were unable to deliver.

The good news is, because we hate food waste at any time of year, we have a good system in place to make sure every last carrot, apple or spud is put to good use by someone or in some way.

Luckily, the total amount of produce unable to be used in boxes has only ended up being about 6%, and we will filter this veg through our usual grade-out system, which includes:

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

Our staff canteen and restaurants
A large percentage of our grade-out is used in our staff canteen, farm restaurant, The Riverford Field Kitchen, and at our London pub, The Duke of Cambridge in Islington.

Free veg for staff
Riverford staff eat very well! Not only do we enjoy gorgeous, organic, subsidised meals in the canteen, but we also enjoy grade out fruit and veg. There’s always a flurry of activity when there are strawberries or avocados to be had in the grade-out room!

The Riverford Dairy herd
Cows love our veg too, especially broccoli. With the Riverford Dairy just a stone’s throw away, the cows are very happy to eat the veg that really isn’t good enough for human mouths. We have to be careful mind; beetroot makes their milk pink, and onions and garlic taint the taste.

Guy’s dad.
John Watson is the ultimate food waste hero. A half rotten Crown Prince squash in grade-out? He’ll take it on!

15 responses to “Not snow much waste….

  1. So glad to know that all those lovely veggies were not wasted! In almost fifteen years this was the very first time my Riverford delivery did not arrive. That’s is a fantastic record. Thank you.

  2. Incredible re-use ideas and rates. The dairy side must have had horrendous problems tho.

  3. Love the idea of pink milk – bring it on!!

  4. Food in Community

    Well done Riverford! At Wash Farm, Food in Community volunteers have collected grade out for the past 5 years and distributed it to children’s centres, soup kitchens, refuges (and refugees!), and a range of charities and community projects.

    Through Riverford’s generosity, thousands of people in need who our recipient charities serve have benefited from Riverford’s surpluses over the past five years. Big thanks to Riverford’s wonderful staff, we are glad that you also benefit from surpluses that arise!

  5. Thanks sooooo much for my delivery, usually on Friday, but came on Saturday instead. A mega thankyou to all involved!!! An amazing service!😊

    • You’re welcome Kate. Glad you were able to live life on the veg and stay warm with veg-fuelled food, even if a little late.

  6. Sarah Robinson

    Was wondering about the wasted veg -but obviously no need to worry as you have it very efficiently covered! Most gratifying was to see the cows eating it.
    Love getting the blogs

  7. Angela Matthews

    I have chickens and ponies. Along with myself they are not at all concerned about tackling ‘gradeouts’! So if ever you have a mega surplus try offering a ‘gradeout bag’ for a couple of quid!! Well done with all that you do, love it!

    • My chickens and ponies will be very happy with a grade out bag for a couple of quid as well! If there are rules about human consumption then I’m happy to sign to say i understand that. Please do consider it, even if it is only a one off every so often. Brown bananas are very popular and they have never complained about the shape of any produce. That lovely pineapple mentioned recently would have been popular as well. A friend has even got her colleagues at work to bring their scraps in and the school cookery teacher collects all the fruit and veg scraps which do disappear although lemons are left until last…. Totally understand that the Riverford animals have first choice though. Food miles etc.

  8. Great to hear those lovely uses for the grade out veg
    I also hate to hear of food being wasted when there are so many in need
    Well done Riverford

  9. Neil Stephenson

    Regarding your use of plastic in our veg boxes, when will this stop?

    • Hi Neil, the good news is we have now removed quite a few bags used for extras veg items, including cucumbers, caulis, swede and fennel. This is part of an ongoing process looking at all packaging. We will always need to use bags for some things, like salad, spinach etc, but will be looking at better options for these.

      • Great news that you are addressing the use of plastic packaging and of course this will take time. But why not offer a plastic – free box now that excludes salad , spinach etc for those customers who want to make the switch to a plastic – free lifestyle now? Pretty sure you will get a good take-up on this and will be good publicity for you too.

  10. Margaret Lawrenson

    I’ve appreciated the efforts made to keep the veg. coming. Thank you!

  11. I love this article, thank you for letting us know! It’s wonderful to hear waste is managed to the best of your ability. I love the milk facts too! How interesting!!

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