Vicki and Alan Mowat, who have been delivering organic vegboxes in and around Bath for the last five years, are delighted to announce they’ll be continuing to do so for at least another five.
The local veg team, who took over the local franchise in 2012, have built it up by over 50%. Their team of drivers now make nearly 900 deliveries of organic veg, fruit, meat and other groceries every week.
Riverford Organic Farmers is the UK’s biggest 100% organic veg box scheme. Guy Watson, BBC Farmer of the Year in 2004 and 2012, set up the scheme in 1987, delivering organic boxes in the back of his 2CV to a handful of friends. 30 years later the farm is still family owned, and its network of local franchisees delivers over 47,000 veg boxes a week throughout England and Wales.
Vicki and Alan had spent 15 years living and working in London, during which time a veg box was essential to them. “We absolutely loved our weekly Riverford box. Amidst the juggling act of managing two full time careers and two little boys, it made eating healthily convenient and easy,” says Vicki.
“I loved that it was delivered to the house while we were at work, and we could always rustle up a healthy meal with fresh veg and a few bits and pieces from the cupboard.”
So when they started to look for a work-life balance to suit their young family better, Riverford was at the top of the list. “I’d studied at the University of Bath and had always thought it would be an amazing place to bring up a family,” continues Vicki.
“So when we discovered that the Bath franchise was for sale, it felt like serendipity.” “Buying the franchise was a big financial commitment for us as well as a steep learn-ing curve – although it was an existing franchise and there was lots of help from head office, we were responsible for our business development plans, HR, finances, mar-keting and customer service,” says Alan.
“We channelled our energy into making it work for us, both from a business and lifestyle point of view. There is no denying it was hard work and still is, but we wouldn’t have it any other way – we now have some wonderfully loyal customers. Riverford is a great brand and company – their ethos and concerns about the environment are at the forefront of everything they do – and despite significant rapid growth they have managed to hold onto everything they stand for, which we are proud to also represent through Riverford Bath.”
“We’ve come a long way in the last five years”, said Vicki. “As well as growing our customer base, we’ve set up community initiatives like our Veg Fund fundraising and healthy eating scheme for schools, and a series of cookery workshops around Bath. We’re passionate about spreading the message about where our veg comes from and how important it is in our diet – particularly with the latest recommendation that we should now be eating 10 a day.”
Following a five year review from HQ, Vicki and Alan have been approved to continue the Riverford Bath franchise for a further five years. “It was great to receive the good news,” say Vicki and Alan, “and we’re excited to put our plan for the next five years into action.”
So what is next for these veg nerds?
“We want to develop the Veg Fund so we can help local charities with their fundraising. We’re also looking to develop partnerships with similarly-minded local businesses, like nutritionists and fitness professionals. And we’d love to talk to businesses about how we could help their staff to eat more healthily,” says Vicki.
“Bath and the surrounding area has a reputation for being a foodies’ paradise and has fast become a haven for independent artisan and farmers markets, so you’ll often see me out and about at one of these amazing foodie events – and when possible I attend school fayres and village fetes too. For us it’s all about sharing our love for organically produced fruit and veg, delivered from farm to door.”
To try a veg box go to: riverford.co.uk or call Vicki or Alan on: 01225 437438.