I started doing my grocery shopping online a couple of years ago. Looking back, I can’t believe I spent so much time traipsing up and down those aisles, queuing up at the till, running back to the far end of the supermarket because I’d forgotten something, then packing everything up, driving home and then lugging the bags up flights of stairs to my flat. Yeah I know…first world problems right?
I love the fact that I can just click on a few buttons and as if my magic a man turns up at my front door the next day with everything I need. Saying that, I do love meandering around a food market, talking to the producers, feeling the veg for ripeness, and I try and do that most weekends, but often I don’t have time. So what do you do when you want the convenience of online shopping but you want the quality of produce you get from a farmers market?
Well I found out last week when I was contacted by the lovely people at Farmdrop, an online marketplace, and asked if I would be interested in trying it out. After jumping onto the website and ultimately getting sucked into it for longer than I care to admit, I immediately said I would love to try it out.
Farmdrop is essentially an online farmer’s market which allows people to buy the best food from the best local producers. It more or less works in the same way that an online supermarket works…you log on, place an order, book in a delivery slot and wait for your food to arrive. But in this instance, the farmers and producers are able to set their own prices.
Buying local produce means the food you receive is seasonal, giving you a changing set of flavours and colour throughout the year. All the food available is grown or produced within 150 miles from of the Farmdrop hub in Bermondsey and delivered directly to them from their farmers and food makers.
Items for sale are Fruit & Veg, Meat, Fish, Dairy & Eggs, Bakery, Larder (dried pasta, noodles, rice, grains, tins, oils, condiments, spices etc), Fridge (fresh pasta, sauces, ready meals, deli etc) and Drinks (juices, coffee, tea, cordials etc). There are also bundles available…mixed boxes of meat and fruit & veg.
The business was founded by Ben Pugh, who left a career in finance to launch Farmdrop after being disillusioned with the current food supply chain. So he decided to remove the middlemen and turn to technology, allowing customers to deal direct with local producers and to buy healthier, fresher food while giving the farmers and producers a fairer financial deal.
Farmdrop now delivers across most of London and they intend to have hubs open across the country in the next few years. They have essentially started the business in their own backyard, but have plans to be on the South coast and in the West Country within the year.
Because your order is specially prepared for you by the farmers/producers, they need a minimum of 3 days to deliver food to you. They make deliveries on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and that delivery is free for orders over £25, with no minimum order required (much less than Ocado!).
I decided that Sunday would be the best day for my delivery and promptly set about ordering what I wanted from the site. Its difficult though…as soon as you start pouring over the pages of beautiful looking produce, you want to click on everything! I ended up going quite veg-heavy, ordering carrots, kale, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, beetroot, mushrooms, tomatoes, sweetcorn….
Those Chegworth Valley raspberries you see there at the bottom left corner were demolished within seconds of them landing in my flat. They were so ridiculously sweet and juicy I ended up sitting crossed legged on my floor devouring them.
And I must admit, I have never seen spinach as magnificent (or as tasty) as this from Wild Country Organics…
I then set about making my Sunday dinner…stuffing the Wild Country Organics courgette flowers with a mix of ricotta, goats cheese, toasted pine nuts, lemon zest and fresh mint. I drizzled them with a little olive oil and popped them in the over for about 15/20 minutes at 180C and serving them with a little runny honey. Absolutely beautiful, and healthier than the fried version.
And on Monday I rushed home from work, knowing there was a fridge groaning with fresh produce that was just waiting to be eaten. I decided to use the Scottish salmon and the kale from Purton House Organics to make Gizzi Erskine‘s Superfood Salad, a recipe I have made many times from her book Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite. I also added in some of that wonderful spinach. If you haven’t got the book, you can find the recipe here. I really do recommend you try it out. For the dressing alone, I will forever love Gizzi Erskine. I make it is large batches and keep jam jars of it in my fridge so I always have it to hand!
I will definitely be using Farmdrop again. The whole process was extremely quick and straightforward and they even have a chat option available on the website if you have any questions.
Buying local means supporting small farmers and food makers who are committed to looking after the land. There are also fewer food miles between you and your food. There really is something rather wonderful about seeing your carrots caked in mud, in all shapes and sizes; I hate the uniformity of supermarket vegetables nowadays.
If this sounds of interest to you, and you live or work in London, take a look on their website. To anyone outside of London, keep an eye on them as they will hopefully be coming to you soon.
Phone: 0203 770 9300