Who We Are | Cambridge Organic Food Company

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Who We Are

Let’s get acquainted: this is what motivates us.

How about you?

We’re a small company with big aims

Our twin aims are to

  1. provide fresh, nutritious and tasty food to as wide a bunch of people as possible, while
  2. doing our best to reduce the negative impact of what we do on the environment, (and even to make the natural world a better place).

For us, that means supplying organic veg and fruit, grown as locally as we can source it.

Why organic?

Organic fruit and veg are produced without the artificial fertilisers and herbicides used in conventional farming, and with far fewer pesticides. Organic farms are not only good for the wildlife that live in and around the farm, but benefit life in the streams and rivers that flow from their land.

Organic farms are good for the planet as well. Organic farms not only use less carbon than non-organic ones, they actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Here’s how:

  • By rejecting artificial fertilisers, usually manufactured from fossil fuels, organic farmers put less carbon into the environment.
  • The key to farming organically is the fostering of healthy, nutrient-rich soils. Such soils actually absorb CO2, directly combatting global heating.

We are certified organic: we are inspected annually, so you can be confident that all the produce we supply is organic.

Local heroes

The core of the produce we put into our boxes is the veg that we collect from local organic farms (or sometimes, the farmer is kind enough to bring their produce to us – we said they were local heroes!). That drastically reduces food miles and by dealing direct with local farms, we give them much better prices than they would get by selling their produce to a supermarket or large wholesaler.

Our base is in Haslingfield, two miles from the Cambridge city boundary, so we’re in the perfect position to deliver into Cambridge and the surrounding area without adding to the food miles.

Currently four of our veg-box delivery vans are electric, so the miles we do put in delivering in those vans are zero-emission. We’re working on the rest of the fleet and looking forward to the day we can replace our two bigger diesel vans with electric ones with the capacity to pick up all the produce from local farms.

A different approach to reducing food waste

From our very early days, we’ve prioritised customer service and customer choice for our members. Our members can pause their delivery whenever they need to: the deadline for both cancellations and all changes to orders being just 5pm on the day before delivery. We also offer the maximum amount of customisation, which is feasible with a veg box, with Choice boxes allowing you to select the full contents of your box each week.

By giving our members so much flexibility, you might think there’s a potential for food waste: we need to place firm orders with farmers and other suppliers several days before the deadline we give our members to cancel or update their orders. When we order, we don’t know how many people will choose which veg and we don’t know how many people will cancel the deliveries currently scheduled.

We’ve discovered over the years how to solve these problems. In fact, our commitment to prioritising our members’ needs has outcomes that benefit both the environment and the local food culture in unexpected ways:

  • Our approach means that less food is wasted by the end-user: our members can skip a delivery at short notice if the fridge is still looking full from the week before. By giving our members the option to control what they get, we ensure they can make good use of everything we give them, thus reducing the chances of unloved vegetables left mouldering in their fridges.
  • We know that different people cook in different ways: our veg-box ranges cater to those varied approaches. There are certainly lots of lovely people who thrive on having the traditional sort of veg box: these are people who are inspired by the challenge of using up everything that comes in their box, no matter what it might be. We celebrate their ingenuity and commitment, and our Original boxes are ideally suited to them. We also know that there a lot of people who cook in a different way, who just wouldn’t want a veg box they can’t control. These people are also committed to living green lives and cooking healthy meals; they are also committed to organic agriculture and reducing food miles. Our approach provides a veg-box service that embraces their needs as well. In doing so, we greatly expand the number of people in the local area who benefit from organic food, and greatly increase the amount of produce we can source from local organic farms, ensuring they have a secure and expanding market for what they grow.
  • Our different box types allow us to balance the produce we have available, so that we can make the best use of the produce available each week and minimise waste. We pack our Choice boxes first each day to make sure we can fulfil all the specific requests made by those who’ve selected their boxes contents. Because we make the selection for you with our Original boxes, we can put together boxes which are attractive and balanced, while making the best use of the remaining produce. By carefully managing and monitoring our stock levels throughout the week, we can make sure that very little goes to waste.

Any produce that is graded out as not up to standard for our boxes (but still perfectly fit for people to eat) is set aside to be donated to local community fridges or other groups who transform our sub-par food into delicious meals for those who particularly need them.

We’re Living Wage accredited employers

We're committed to paying our staff at least the Living Wage. In fact, we were the first food business to achieve accreditation in East Anglia, making us the Living Wage Foundation's Living Wage Champion in 2015.

We’re here to help!

Give us a ring! Drop us an email! Contact us from here! Whichever is most convenient for you.

You'll almost certainly be answered by one of our management team – Rob, David or Alice – who'll be very keen to talk to you.

We love our food

We really do like our veg: taste and quality matter to us.

Every two months, we publish our Courgette magazine, which is delivered free to our all our veg-box members.

See what we’ve been up to on Facebook and Instagram.

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