Social Enterprise and socially motivated businesses are a key interest to The Futures Centre, running both Webinars and Workshops, and employing an Entrepreneur in Residence to name but a handful of our activities.
Recently as part of an Erasmus+ Project we hosted visitors from Croatia, Italy and France who were interested in socially motivated businesses, amongst the activities and events we arranged was a trip to Riverford Farm.
We were shown around the warehouse and learnt all about the processes associated with a business delivering boxes of organic produce, processes such as quality control. With certain vegetables if they don’t meet the specifications needed to reach a customer’s kitchen, they are reused either to feed the Riverford livestock or in the employees kitchens effectively creating a closed loop system (A topic that Victoria Hurth has discussed previously within Certificate In Sustainable Business). There are certain vegetables that aren’t fed to the animals; onions for instance are avoided with the dairy cows as they can taint the milk.
After a tour of the warehouse, and grabbing some wellies to protect our feet from the elements, we were given a history of the farm, how Guy started his business and how it evolved. The next port of call was a tour around the various Poly Tunnels. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and encouraged us to sample the various salad leaves they had and explained how Riverford create their salads with leave that have texture, flavour and crispness.
The day ended with a talk from Guy Watson further on his business, and a three course meal from the Kitchen Restaurant. Obviously vegetables featured heavily, but there was also beef shin as a main, an often overlooked cut of meat that was slowly braised to create a tasteful dish. Guy was amazing, answering questions on his business and providing an insight into the world of organic farming and retail.