In the beginning there were potatoes.
I was on holiday with my gorgeous new girlfriend, Chippy, in the summer of 1988 when I found out I hadn’t done quite as well as I’d hoped in my bar exams.
The thought of leaving sunny Spain to go back to grey London and cram for re-sits didn’t appeal. So I stayed in the sunshine for another few weeks (to make sure Chippy fell totally in love with me, which she did, and we’re still besotted. Well most of the time… come on it’s been 24 years).
When I got back to London reality kicked in. But I had a plan.
I convinced my mum and my two friends Paul Cole and Jules Allen to get up very, very, very early one morning and come with me to New Covent Garden Market. Before long we were in possession of a ginormous load of potatoes, divvying them into 10lb bags.
The question remained, would the kind people of Catford buy spuds from a posh git with a suntan, still dragging his mother around with him?
We had such a laugh meeting them all.
Now, at this time, I have to admit that I didn’t know much about organic vegetables. Everything that grew was organic, surely?
Then I met a chap called Bernard* who told me to ask what was sprayed on my potatoes.
When a farmer showed me a shed full (literally) of chemicals with skull & crossbone symbols all over them, it just didn’t feel right.
*We still get organic veg from Bernard’s farm in Devon, although his paragliding son Dave now runs the show.
Before long the only spuds we delivered were from an organic, agro-chemicalfree farm and my loyal customers started wondering if they might have a more varied diet. The Essential Organic Veg Box was born.
There were a few false starts, mostly because we hadn’t quite twigged that if you decide to set up anything that involves food in a really hot Summer, you kind of need a fridge.
We’ve got some really good fridges now, even on the back of our vans and we deliver ethically sourced veg, milk, eggs, meat, fish and all sorts to happy homes all over the country.
And our principles are still the same. We speak to our farmers every day, we know how to have a giggle, and we’re still enormously grateful to our customers for keeping the whole venture alive.
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