Category Archives: News

Have you checked our bulk buys lately?

We’re always looking for great value organic products to put on the list and it’s easy to forget to order them and then have to go to the supermarket (boo hiss!) when you need something urgently.

So here are some of the things you might want to keep in the store cupboard.

Bread flour – we do wholemeal organic bread flour for 99p a kilo, and white for £1.26.  That’s more expensive than the bargain basement “value” ranges but it makes much better bread.   You could add rye flour for an interesting flavour for £1.51 a kilo, or even push the boat out and mix in some spelt flour but that’s £2.24 a kilo, so you’re talking luxury there.

Pasta: we do organic wholemeal pasta, penne or spaghetti, for £1 or less for a half-kilo pack.  Or spelt (that touch of luxury again!) for £1.75.

Four kinds of rice: Basmati white or brown, organic and less than £4 a kilo.  Arborio (for risottos) is expensive (£2.20 for 500g)  but you could use short grain brown instead – that’s just £1.25 for half a kilo and it tastes great in risottos or even in a rice pudding.

How about something different?  Couscous is great in salads and our wholemeal organic couscous is £1.46 for half a kilo, or buckwheat for just £1.25 – sprout it, cook it like rice (but with more water) or even plant it in the garden as green manure for that price…  I grew some chickpeas last year, I didn’t get a huge crop but they were wonderful green and raw in salads.

And of course we do sugar, beans, more beans, 4 kinds of lentils, nuts, did I say beans?, oats, tamari soy sauce, quinoa (how long before we have some grown in the UK?), dried fruit – delicious dried figs for £1.01 for 100g as well as raisins, sultanas and dates – and have you tried the peanut butter or the hazelnut chocolate spread?


Make your Own Easter Eggs

eastereggsHow did the celebration of the height of Spring become a time to gorge on sugar and cocoa? Well, maybe because sugar and cocoa are great. But they are even better when combined with nuts, seeds, fruit and even veg!

1) Make your own eggs! You’ll need a chocolate mould but from there it is easy. The Bulk Buyers Supplier organic chocolate is perfect for the job and affordable. The eggs are made in two halves and then joined together, which presents the perfect opportunity to fill the eggs, perhaps with dried fruit or crushed seeds. You could even sneak in some beetroot in by filling with beetroot and chocolate brownie bits.

2) Super Balls in Egg Shape – Putting dried fruit, nuts and seeds through a mincer renders a sweet and delicious paste that can be shaped into eggs, balls or even bunnies. To make them chocolatey you can add cocao nibs or chocolate to the mincer or just coat them in chocolate. They still contain lots of sugar but also all the good bits of the dried fruit, nuts and seeds so a much healthier option.

3) Painted Eggs. I loved blowing eggs when I was young. And the best bit was that mum would always have to make a cake after. Why not experiment with natural dyes for painting your eggs. A lovely purple comes from beetroot and a fantastic orange from onion skins. Or have a look at this for more inspiration:

“Where’s my ……?”

An explanation of “missing items” from a member of the packing teampoppypacking

I am sure many of you have experienced that moment when you unpack your food hub delivery and find that something you ordered isn’t there. We fully understand the frustration you must feel when you realise that you haven’t got the eggs you’d ordered to bake that birthday cake for tomorrow, or there’s no fresh ginger and that’s the final ingredient you need for the curry you planned for supper tonight.

I thought it might be helpful to explain to you why these things happen and why we cannot always get a complete order out to you.

Firstly there are the problems you can’t plan for, the vagaries of the weather, illness, pests and diseases. For example a couple of weeks ago one of our producers began the week with a good crop of parsley, then it snowed,  and the crop was destroyed. In addition most of our producers are tiny enterprises with one or two workers at most, when that worker falls sick unexpectedly they simply cannot supply us.

Then there are unexpectedly big orders, for instance, eggs are presenting a real challenge at the moment. Lots of you are ordering them, but in winter the hens lay fewer eggs, so we are finding that there are not always enough eggs to fill everyone’s order. Where possible we try to make sure everyone gets something, so those of you who order in larger quantities may sometimes find you only get half.

On other occasions our producers forget to remove an item from the list when it is no longer available. Keeping up with the paperwork is always a challenge for small producers who generally do their administration in the evenings after a full days work.

We are hoping to update our IT system soon so producers can identify how much stock they have and the item is then removed automatically from the list once they’ve all gone.

Then there’s our bulk orders of dried goods, to keep costs low for our customers we order in bulk and to reduce wastage we try to not to order until too early because of use by dates, so sometimes we have to wait a few weeks before we make a new order. We should take items off the list when we run out, but sometimes we don’t get it done as promptly as we should.

Then  there are the simple mistakes. A team of 3 to 5 volunteers pack hundreds of items every week, we tick off each item on your invoice as we put it in the box, then check to make sure everything is ticked before we fold your invoice, but occasionally things get missed, for which we apologise.

Occasionally we do substitute when we can source exactly the same product (usually vegetables) of a similar quality from Oaklands Park Garden, where we do our packing, but unlike some supermarkets we don’t feel comfortable substituting with a similar item without knowing your personal taste so we reimburse you the cost.

We at the packing team are just as frustrated as you are when we send out incomplete orders. We are always looking for ways to improve so hopefully incomplete orders will happen less in the future. Hopefully this message helps explain why some customers may have received incomplete orders recently.

Thank you for supporting the Food hub.

Judith, a member of the packing team

Lydney Youth Cafe – Community Garden Launch

Friday 19th December 4pm – 8pmlydneyyouth

Over the past couple of months we have been designing a community garden for the Lydney Youth Cafe. The garden will be a creative space for the use of the various groups that use the Cafe in Lydney. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the space it’s alongside the co-op carpark and visible from the Co-op entrance.

It has been much neglected but we think it will make for a perfect garden space for Lydney. There will be fruit trees, raised beds for growing food, a cob oven and a vertical growing sculpture. We are also fortunate tha Tom Cousins and Kestral from YCCF are designing the artistic elements of the space such as mural and sculptures.
On the 19th December we will have a launch party from 4pm to 8pm. This is a great opportunity drop by for a mince pie and a mas drink, have a chat and see the designs for the garden.
We are running a raffle to raise money for the project and the raffle tickets are available on the Food Hub.

Free Range Chicken Available from Tony’s Market Garden

pblpfTony has been rearing cockerels since the summer and now the time has come for them to be ready for the pot.

These are some of the best quality birds you will find in the Forest. They have been ultra-free-range their whole lives, with 4 acres of market garden to run around in. Their diet has been predominantly foraged naturally, with some biodynamic grain mix to supplement. The birds are a dual-purpose bird, reared from chicks along with laying hens in the traditional way. The meat will be more nutritious than conventional chicken, with more around the legs and less around the breast.

These birds are available at £9/kg (most birds are about 2kg). Tony is offering the opportunity to kill and dress your own bird, meaning you get to keep the beautiful feathers and all the innards. The best days for this are Tuesday and Thursday.

Phone Tony on 07866137134.

Sun, Seed and Season – Introduction to Seed Growing

seedEvery vegetable and plant we grow wants to produce seed, and yet seed growing is only done by a very few growers across the country. With so much of our food and seed autonomy under threat now is the time to regain an understanding of seed.

Sun, Seed and Season is a workshop designed to help gardeners and growers understand the complex relationships of the cycles of the year to better equip us with the skills and intuition that will help us carry crops through the full lifecycle to produce high quality, fertile seed stock year after year.

Drawing on the holistic understanding of biodynamics the 1-day workshop will explore:
– Practical details of sowing, harvesting and selection of different crops.
– Introduction on how sun and moon cycles are important in seed growing
– Learning how to dry, thresh, and process seeds to high standard.
– Manage fertility and soil in seed production.
– Introduction to Biodynamics

Led by Tony Carlton, an intuitive grower with 20 years biodynamic experience working on farms and gardens including Weleda. Tony has been producing seed for Stormy Hall Seeds for 10 years and more recently has made seed production his main focus.

Cost: £40 including lunch
Location: Tony’s Market Garden in the Forest of Dean GL15 6BU
When: Saturday October 18th, 2014. 10am – 4pm
Bookings: Email or phone 07588258503

This workshop is suitable for beginners to biodynamics as well as those that have discovered it and are full of questions.

Unpasturised Milk

photoWe have been talking about delivering unpasteurised milk though the food hub for some time, and it now looks as though there is a possibility we may be able to do it, but before we start detailed discussions with the producer and environmental health we need to know that there is sufficient interest from our shoppers, and that there might be some of you who are interested in doing an occasional drive to collect it.
We have found a farmer near Ledbury who is selling unpasteurised milk from his jersey herd. A number of us have tried the milk and it is delicious, with a nice layer of cream on the top, like milk used to be before they started treating it so heavily before bottling. We have found the milk keeps perfectly well in a fridge for up to a week so there is no reason why you could not order a full week,s supply for your household, and we understand that it can also be frozen. For more information about the farm look on his website: He is happy to supply us with milk though may not be able to handle a really big new order until the autumn as he has a lot of cows in calf at the moment.
The problem is that we will need someone to go and collect the milk each week on a Friday morning, it is about a 70 mile round trip as the farm is located between Ledbury and Malvern. Are you willing to become part of a rota of volunteers who would be willing to do this journey every couple of months or so? ( Expenses would be paid). Or do you know anyone who is driving regularly from Malvern to the Forest who might be willing to collect the milk for us? To make it work with volunteers we probably need about 8 people to volunteer to do a trip every couple of months.
But this will cost the hub over £30 a week so it would only work if we have  sufficient orders to cover the cost of the journey, and we really need people to make regular orders.  So we need to know, would you be interested in putting in a regular order for milk and if so how many litres would you order each week?
Please contact Judith on with your responses to the questions above  within the next couple of weeks and if there is sufficient interest she will then do some detailed costings, talk to our local environmental health officer, and hopefully get this new product onto the food hub.

Food Hubs are going International!

Dean Forest Food Hub is joining the UK trial of new, open-source, international Food Hub software that has the capacity to completely transform our food system, from the bottom up. But we need your help to do it!

We’re joining the Open Food Network UK, the UK branch of the Open Food Network that started in Australia. The Aussie team have developed food hub software, that not only looks and feels better than our current software, but has the capacity to allow food hubs to trade over a wider market place.

Given that the Forest has never been a strong agricultural area, this Food Hub software bridges the gap between the desire to eat locally and ethically, and the fact that most of our food travels through established supply chains and mostly through the supermarkets. Using this software Food Hubs in the East of the country could trade wheat for our lamb, pork or apples. Good news if you like toast in the morning. Or Food Hubs in Vietnam could trade rice with us, and we’d be able to buy with transparency in the supply chain. Okay, all of this is a long way off, but the dream of a Food Revolution is one step closer to reality.

The dream is a particularly long way off as, internationally, this project relys on funding and donations for development, testing, implementation and operation. Most people that have contributed to this amazing open-source software thus far have volunteered their time to do it. We’re now looking to raise funds to get this ball rolling faster! The crowd-sourcing campaign is set to run for another month. Please donate now to help make this dream of a Food Revolution a reality!

Click here to read more about the Open Food Network and donate to their campaign.

We’re joining groups like StroudCo, Fife Diet and Manchester Veg People in the UK trial. Our workers co-op will trial it to begin with, and when we are confident we’ll open it up to you lucky members. All being well this will happen later in the year.


Eco-farmers Granted Injunction Against Illegal Eviction

wewonOn Wednesday June 25th members of Yorkley Court Community Farm were granted an injunction order against those involved in the illegal action against them. The group successfully resisted an eviction attempt from the land they have been dwelling and cultivating for over two years.

After considering all the evidence the judge at Gloucester and Cheltenham County Court ruled that the Defendants Richard Tolson, Brian Bennett his newly formed company ‘Yorkley Court Farm Ltd’ are forbidden from entering land at Yorkley Court Farm without the consent of one of the members of the farm. Also forbidding the defendants from interfering with any property belonging to persons residing on the farm, causing damage to the gate or for intimidation or harassment towards the residents.

This result comes after a 58 hour stand-off between the private security firms hired to carry out the illegal eviction and the residents of Yorkley Court Community Farm, mediated by a strong police presence.

Members of Yorkley Court Community Farm are exhausted from the efforts of the last 4 days, which included a physical presence on the land resisting multiple attempts at forced entry and a lengthy legal process to have the injunction heard in court. They are very happy with the results but understand that this forms only a small part of a larger case which is pending litigation in the Property Chamber (First Tier Tribunal).

The group have received extensive support from the surrounding community over the course of the stand-off. A neighbour expressed concerns saying “… fears are mounting that Brian Bennett has intentions to acquire the land at Yorkley Court for development purposes.” A spokesperson for the group said “We want to thank people from the local community for all their support. We couldn’t have achieved the result we did without their help.”

The group of ecological farmers have been improving the land at Yorkley Court Farm for over two years. The project has become a hub for those wanting to learn environmentally friendly approaches to land management, land-based skills and low impact living. One member said “We hope to inspire people to work directly with the land and learn new and traditional skills around agriculture and forestry. The Forest of Dean is lacking opportunities for sustainable locally based employment which enhance our forest rather than destroy it”. The group have constituted themselves as the ‘Yorkley Court Community Farm Land Trust’ and intend to place the land in Trust, so it may always be available for use by the people of Yorkley and the wider Forest of Dean.

The group have called for letters of support for their up and coming planning application for erection the of 15 temporary low impact eco-dwellings which will be presented to the Forest of Dean planning authority in July.


Pick your own gooseberries at Tony’s biodynamic market garden

gooseberryThe gooseberries are ripe and ready for the picking. Gooseberries are high in pectin so great for jams, and who doesn’t love a gooseberry fool?

On Tuesdays and Thursdays Tony is opening up his amazing garden space to anyone wishing to come along and pick their own gooseberries (with more soft fruits coming on soon). He’s offering them at £1/kg if you’ll pick some for the freezer too.

Come hang out with the goats and 4 week old chicks and get some gooseberry in ya. Give Tony a call to let him know you are coming on 07866137134.