Tag Archives: Patrick Holden

Riverford buys the Prince’s Carrots

Sainsbury’s may have rejected organic carrots grown by the Prince of Wales and Soil Association founder Patrick Holden, but Riverford has bought them – all 25 tonnes. Riverford’s Andy Johnson said, “Our customers are very discerning people who demand tasty carrots and they absolutely loved them.” What was Sainsbury’s problem?

Carrots & why supermarkets can’t have it their way

Some of you have already commented on the media hoo-ha over Sainsbury’s rejecting the head of the Soil Association’s carrot crop. As the eventual buyers of Patrick Holden’s carrots, we think that this saga highlights the lunacy of the supermarkets’ controlling and overly centralised approach to buying and selling food.

Sainsbury’s said they rejected the carrots because they were destroyed by rot. The fact is that we eventually bought over half Patrick Holden’s crop in grade A condition and our veg box customers loved them – rightly so because they were great.

When it comes to rejecting crops, the supermarkets like to make out that their hands are tied. The reality is that they are incredibly prescriptive in what they deem acceptable. Shape, size and minor blemishes all lead to rejection, waste and a financial squeeze for farmers.

The supermarkets demand that 75% of a crop is packable which is why the farmers that supply them are often forced to focus on appearance at the expense taste. It doesn’t have to be like this.

Veg box schemes like ours cut the supermarkets out of the distribution chain and this has to be good for both farmers and for customers. There is life beyond the supermarkets and it tastes good.