Growers

Growers and preservers, we want you!

Would you like to grow or make preserves for the Green Valley Grocer? If so we'd like to hear from you.

We're looking for new suppliers who grow or produce in the Colne Valley, or anywhere within 30 miles of the shop.

If you're interested, take a look at these advice leaflets, which are designed to answer frequently asked questions. To view them just click on the attachments below. If you're having trouble viewing them simply ask a member of staff for a copy in the shop on Carr Lane, Slaithwaite.

Tax advice for suppliers is also available from the shop or on this website (in the 'growers' section).

After you've read the leaflet and had a think, let us know that you're interested and we'll talk to you in more detail about your produce and how and when we'll buy it.

If you have any questions please ask shop manager Carol or local food co-ordinator Marie-Claire Kidd and we will do our best to advise you.

(If you'd like to come to the shop for a chat about local food Thursday afternoons between 1pm and 6.30pm are best - that's when Marie-Claire is working).

We look forward to hearing from you!

Edibles leaves are back!

Edibles, a co-operative grower based at Paddock Farm in West Slaithwaite, is once again supplying the Green Valley Grocer with salad leaves, fresh from its polytunnel.

It has also made us some yummy Seville orange marmalade, which is available at the shop now too.

The co-op is a relatively new enterprise but is already one of our biggest local growers. We hope to receive a wider range of produce from the team - Rosie, Steve and Pip - as they develop their seven acres.

For more about Edibles see its website:

http://edibles.org.uk/

Tax advice for suppliers

GVG shareholder Michael Blake has kindly put together tax advice designed to help our smaller suppliers make sure everything's above board. We strongly recommend that you read it if you supply or are thinking of supplying the shop.

This advice has been updated to reflect the changes announced in the Chancellor's March 2012 budget.

Highlights include:

- The profit suppliers make on selling fruit and vegetables to the GVG are taxable if your total income from all sources (e.g. wages, pensions, bank interest ) including the profit from the sale of the fruit and vegetables is more than your tax free allowance each year. In the 2012 tax year the tax free allowances are £7,475 if you are aged under 65, £9,940 if you are between 65 and 74 and £10,090 is you are aged 75 and over. In the 2013 tax year the allowances are £8,105, £10,500 and £10.660 respectively.

- The profit is what you receive from the sale of the fruit and vegetables (in cash or kind) less what it cost you to grow the produce. The cost of seeds and any fertilising or pest prevention measures may be claimed as costs but not the cost of your labour. If you pay rent for an allotment or garden you may claim the whole of the rent if all your produce is sold but only part of the rent if part of the produce is sold. 

- If you need to register for tax and National Insurance Contributions, you need to do this within three months of starting up in business or you could be face a penalty of £100. You can register with HMRC online at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/register-selfemp.htm   HMRC will then send you information giving you the options for filling a tax return.

- If you are selling the surplus from a garden or allotment you do not have to pay NIC.   If you have planted the produce specifically to sell you may have to register as a self employed person and pay Class 2 NIC.  There is an exemption from Class 2 NICs if your profits for the tax year are less than the “low earnings limit”. For the 2012 tax year this limit is £5,315. The Class 2 NIC rate is £2.50 per week.

You can download Michael's advice here, just click on the attachments... 

Our local market gardeners

It's the GVG's intention to deal directly with local growers whenever possible. That way we ensure produce is traceable and local, and cut out the middle man. It makes business more viable for us and the grower, and cuts prices for customers.

We already buy regularly from D Westwood and Sons in Thorpe, Wakefield. An excellent and reputable grower, they supply good value, great quality brassicas, leeks, salad and rhubarb. We collect from them every week.

Sadly, David Westwood died suddenly shortly before Christmas. He and his son Jonathan were equal partners on the farm, and Jonathan will now take the helm. Our sympathies with the family at this sad time.

We will continue to buy from Westwood's of course, but we're always looking for new growers, big and small, from within a 30 mile radius of the shop.

Searching for local market gardeners can feel like something of a wild goose chase. You rarely meet them. Legend has it they've been wiped out because of the impossibily low prices demanded by supermarkets.

The Huddersfield Kirklees Thomson Local lists just one fruit and vegetable grower, Bentley WS, a salad cress speciialist in Gomersal, near Cleckheaton. It's the nearest commercial grower we could find, but too nichey to help us expand our range of locally grown fruit and veg. 

There aren't any in the Huddersfield Phone Book classifieds, or in the Huddersfield and Wakefield Yellow Pages. But they do exist. Trawling the internet uncovered a peppering of market gardens within 20-30 miles of the shop.

D Tomlinson in Pudsey, 19.46 miles away, supplies forced rhubarb in season and brassicas and lettuce from June.  He has a farm shop on his land but is interested in supplying local shops.

He says he's the only market gardener left between Bradford and Leeds but we think we've found another one: B Whiteley, in Pudsey, 19.87 miles from the shop, who have passed their business on to their son Bryn. 

B Marsden & Sons in Ossett, 23.26 miles from the shop, have retired.

Green Field Produce, across the M62 from Westwoods in Carlton, Wakefield, 24.5 miles away, is a big concern at nearly 3,000 acres, supplying brassicas, potatoes (including pre-packed) and rhubarb, usually on a large scale.

TA Menmuir in East Ardsley, Wakefield, 21.8 miles from the shop, grows small amounts which they sell from the farm.

J.A Auty, also in East Ardsley, has retired.

J Cook in Stanley, Wakefield, 25.39 miles from the shop, grows small amounts of cauliflower, savoy cabbage and lettuce. Their son is carrying on the business, selling wholesale to Leeds market.

Close by in Lofthouse, Wakefield, is W Holmes & Son, 26.5 miles from the shop. They've retired and Westwoods now rent their land.

Parker Bros in Rothwell, Leeds, 25.25 miles from the shop, have retired too.

It paints a bit of sad picture. The growers we spoke to were in or approaching retirement age, and only a few were passing their businesses on to their children.

Nevertheless, lets hope selling locally grown veg is becoming more viable, with new markets like us becoming more popular with shoppers.

For some of the businesses we spoke to the local food movement has come too late. But others have survived, and there are new fruit and vegetable growers springing up in the area.

Perhaps you know of established local market gardeners we've yet to find, or new enterprises just starting out? If you do please let us know. We'd like to talk to them about buying their produce.

Please post a comment here or contact GVG local food co-ordinator Marie-Claire Kidd on 01484 651222 / 07886 633328 / hiyamc@googlemail.com

Growing Fresh Produce - Advice for suppliers to The Green Valley Grocer

Mission

The Green Valley Grocer aims to supply local people with as much locally grown produce as possible.

As well as exploring large scale sources of fruit and veg in the West Yorkshire area, we want our customers to "crop for the shop" as well as growing food for themselves.

We are looking for supplies of :

potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cabage, beetroot, garlic, peas, beans, pumpkins, squashes.

Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, bilberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, plums, damsons, greengages, apples, pears, rhubarb

Guidelines

1. Please make contact with us in person by phone or email before you bring produce in.  This will enable us to rotate stock effectively.

2.  Please prepare your produce so that it is attractive to customers - we don't expect it to be squeaky clean, but it is worth weeding out the slugs and twigs !

3.  Please avoid bringing produce on Friday or Saturday unless by prior arrangement.  We are simply too busy on those days to be able to give you, or your produce, our attention.

4..  Please ensure that you are allowed to sell us your produce - ie it is from your garden, or from an allotment where there are no selling restrictions - if in doubt about the latter, check with your local authority.

5. We generally pay around half the retail price for produce, which is the same as we pay at market.

If you have any queries, contact Marie-Claire Kidd on 07886 633328; email hiyamc@googlemail.com

PRESERVES & CHUTNEYS - Advice for Green Valley Producers

As regular customers know, we currently stock an excellent array of jams and chutneys.  We are always interested in new products, and producers, especially those of you who are using up gluts of seasonal fruit and vegetables.

If you are interested in producing for us, do get in touch first - either Carol ( the shop manager) or Marie-Claire ( the local food co-ordinator) will be able to advise you on what demand there is.

Please also read the following advice.

FOOD HYGIENE

As a retailer, The Green Valley Grocer has legal as well as moral obligations to protect the health of its customers, and must be confident that anyone supplying the shop with processed foods has the appropriate qualification in Food Hygiene. We therefore require that all such producers undertake a Level 1 (minimum) Certificate in Food Safety and Hygiene.

PRODUCTION SITE

Each producer is responsible for ensuring that their kitchen conforms to a high standard of hygiene. Because they are producing for a retailer, individuals may have their kitchen inspected by an Environmental Health Officer.

PACKAGING

All preserves, chutneys, cordials etc must be presented in sterilised jars with new lids which are appropriate for the product. Staff at The Green Valley Grocer currently label produce and will need a complete list of ingredients, in descending order of weight, and an exact weight – in the case of jams and marmalades, the weight must be a recognised unit for the product –

ie: 57g (2oz) 113g (4oz) 227g (8oz) 340g (12oz) 454g (16oz)

The staff should also be given any information about possible allergens ( ie gluten) or the possible presence of stones.

Useful Contacts:

Kirklees Environmental Health Unit 01484 226452

www.food.gov.uk (advice about food hygiene)

www.virtual-college.co.uk (all current shop staff have gained their level 2 Food Hygiene qualifications through this online facility)

For further information contact Marie-Claire Kidd 07886 633328; email hiyamc@googlemail.com

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