The Oversized Aubergine and The Slightly Blemished Apricot

Posted by Steve Oram on

Although the title of this blog post sounds like a children's book (In fact, I'm about to copyright it so if I see it in Waterstones, prepare to hear from my lawyers), I assure you it'll make sense. Stick with me!

 Early last week we received a call from Wye Orchard. They were in a bit of a pickle.  After a few issues in cropping they were faced with a dilemma, one that farmers hate. Due to cold and a mix of other various factors, all the Aubergines they had planted had exploded and grown massive seemingly out of nowhere at once. This has meant they’re all due for cropping at a similar time, not over the course of a few weeks/months as would normally happen. Sometimes that’s the way with farming, expect the unexpected.

This normally would mean they’d have to be cropped and shipped off to market in the hope they’d sell. There, they’d sit for a few weeks (and in and out of warehouses), more than likely not being bought due to size and non-uniformity and eventually wasted. The farmer then only receiving income for a smaller percentage of his yield.

This is where we were able to step in and help out. Due to how close we are, and the flexibility in our model, we were able to pick up these Aubergines for you lovely people! We jiggled around with the produce in the boxes and made it work. So expect some aubergines in the next few weeks and some pretty big ones at that!

Our commitment to eliminating waste, and reducing food miles extends further than just having local suppliers. We want to help in any way we can, and being able to pick up this whole crop of potentially wasted aubergines was exactly why we do what we do. A win for the farm, a win for us with a constant supply of produce and a win for you cause aubergines are fantastic!

 You may have also noticed that we have started picking up Class 2 apricots from Tom Hulme down in Canterbury. Class 2 apricots are the level below what supermarkets etc normally take. The issues are almost always cosmetic and have nothing to do with actual flavour or quality. 9 times out of 10 it is only a small blemish or size that means it’s degraded down from class 1. The 1 time out of 10 will be that they’ll ripen, then subsequently go off, slightly quicker than Class 1 graded apricots. This, for supermarkets with long supply chains is a big issue, causing them to only purchase class 1. For us, collecting fruit cropped on a Tuesday morning by noon and have them in your houses by latest Saturday morning means we really don’t have to worry. If anything you just get fruit ready to eat a little earlier than you would expect!

 As a result of this, in traditional sales channels, class 2 produce generally then becomes a bit of a struggle to sell, even though the produce in taste is exactly the same! This leads sometimes to wastage, so being able to take care of this for Hulme and Sons is brilliant. The lower price (40% of Class 1) as well allows to us to fit more into your boxes, so everybody wins!

 


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