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 / firstname.lastname@example.org