Austerity-friendly businesses No 2 – the Cambridge Organic Food Company

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Sometimes I come across a business or supplier that does something austerity-friendly that I approve of, and which I would like to focus on here, as a way of encouraging others to do the same. I’ve already posted on Wimpole Farm, and how for very little money, families can get involved in the running of a farm, as well as visiting animals regularly and having great days out. This month it’s the turn of the Cambridge Organic Food Company, on the basis that they produce the cheapest organic veg box that I know of, at £7.50 a week, whilst maintaining the quality of their produce . If you would like one, click on this link to find out more, and the picture shows one of these veg boxes.

The company came to my attention when they put a note through everyone’s doors locally, telling us that they were expanding into our area, and inviting us to sample a mini veg box with a view to setting up a regular order. I love a freebie, so I was happy to sign up, and I was delighted with the quality of what arrived, and have since set up a (paid!) order for a regular fruit and veg box.

The man behind the Cambridge Organic Food Company is Duncan Catchpole, who founded the business in 1998. It’s clear if you talk to him that Duncan’s principles for business are absolute integrity and dedication to the organic food movement, perseverance, and a commitment to outstanding standards of customer service.  This has probably come about because Duncan has had a lifelong exposure to the health/organic food industry. His father, Roger Catchpole, was also a health food entrepreneur whose enterprises included ‘Suffolk Wholefoods’, ‘Basic Ingredients’, a free-range egg farm and organic apple orchard. They are certainly a family who know their food.

The £7.50 value veg box might typically contain potatoes and onions, and in addition to this, something like courgettes, brocolli, beetroot, tomatoes and kale. I had a think about how I might use these, and I came up with the following plan, which would slot quite well into my Crisis Diet Plus:

1. Courgette – Grate and fry in olive oil with a little crushed garlic and black pepper.

2. Broccoli – Steam and serve with flaked almonds, or serve brocolli in a cheese sauce.

3. Beetroot – Peel, bake as potato wedges in olive oil.

4. Tomatoes – Grate (yes, grate!) and fry with a little olive oil, fresh herbs and garlic, to serve over pasta and topped with a little melted cheese.

5. Kale – Steam and serve with small fried scraps of bacon and croutons made from leftover bread/crusts.

My question to other veg box suppliers is this. If Duncan and his team can provide so much for so little money, why can’t you do the same? After all, healthy, local produce should not be the preserve of the wealthy, and it shouldn’t have to be a niche product.

However if you are a supplier of goods or services and you feel that you already live the happy austerity ideal in your business practices, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to consider writing a blog post on you as well.



2 thoughts on “Austerity-friendly businesses No 2 – the Cambridge Organic Food Company

    EIR said:
    27 April, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Sigh. Doesn’t deliver to my area.

      Sandra Bradley responded:
      28 April, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Could you bring their strategy to the attention of a local box scheme, perhaps, and ask them to supply the same things?

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