We’ve been keeping a little bit of a secret these last 6 months and working on something behind the scenes… We are launching our own market garden starting in February!!
We are delighted to have partnered with Rushmere Farm, Hambledon (the team behind the delicious Toats Mylk) and leasing 2 acres from them to establish and build a new market garden that will bring even more local, organic food to Hampshire.
What Does This Mean?
For our customers at Hampshire Veg Box it means that the new market garden will be able to provide an even bigger and more stable range of local organic veg.
The market garden team will be growing everything from salad to tomatoes, kale to aubergines and we know from the last 3 years of producing veg boxes what it is that is needed to keep local food going for as long as possible in the growing season.
PLUS the market garden produce will be available even further and wider as we are looking for partners at restaurants, cafes, pubs, shops and more to stock the organic local produce.
What Will The Market Garden Look Like?
Starting with 2 acres of already organic land, the market garden will be covered in over 120 growing beds of vegetables. We also have been given planning permission for 2 large polytunnels that will allow season extension, and growth of some of those warmer loving crops in the summer too.
We are dedicated to creating a space that not only produces delicious and organic veg, but also a space that is biodiverse and filled with wildlife. Chris, who will head up the market garden, has a certification in soil science and the soil food web and will therefore have a keen eye on improving the soil, surrounding environment and biodiversity. Plus we want this to be a farm that you will want to visit: we will be holding events, volunteer days, tours and workshops too!
Where Is It?
At Hampshire Veg Box we have been selling Rushmere Farms Toats Mylk for a long time.. it is a fantastic and delicious local product. When the opportunity came up to start a market garden at Rushmere Farm the team jumped at it… The already organic farm is forward thinking, focusses on biodiversity, and is setup for amazing workshops and events as well. We are looking forward to working with George and his team.
Rushmere Farm is in the heart of Hambledon near Waterlooville, so operations for the market garden and the veg box scheme will be moving to the farm. However, we are still a Winchester business at heart and will have a keen focus on the Winchester district, still attending all the local events and still operating under Winchester City Council too.
There is a simple, and longer, answer to why now… simply put… because the opportunity arose and we grabbed it with both hands.
But the longer answer is that small local organic producers across Hampshire aren’t increasing at the same rate as other parts of the country. We cannot always get access to as much local veg as we would like and so this will give us greater control over the produce, amounts, and quality that will go into the veg.
Hampshire Veg Box will still be working with the amazing producers it does now, and still be able to bring you veg from the great growers we currently do… we will just also have Hampshire Market Garden produce to support that.
Are Hampshire Veg Box and Hampshire Market Garden the same thing?
In a word… No. They are both run currently by the same team of Chris, John and Seb but are two different companies. Hampshire Veg Box will continue to put together and deliver veg boxes across Hampshire. Hampshire Market Garden is infact a new Community Interest Company (CiC) that will operate the market garden.
We are hiring for a few key roles for the market garden and are currently advertising for a lead grower here: https://hampshiremarketgarden.co.uk/work-with-us-lead-grower-job/
We have some pretty tight deadlines coming up for the launch of Hampshire Market Garden but things are starting soon… and quickly! Our planning permission came through in December… and we will be starting our tenure in mid-February.
We have groundworks to do, polytunnels to put up, and most importantly growing spaces to build and start getting plants in!
We plan to have veg ready for boxes, and to sell, from the beginning of June so watch this space for lots of updates.
You can follow along our journey closely on social media here: https://www.instagram.com/hampshirevegbox/
Get In Touch:
We are looking to get the word out far and wide of this news, so if you have any way of helping with that please do let us know.
Similarly if you have any questions, might know a business looking for more local veg, are interested in volunteering… or anything else… Please do drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We can’t wait to show you around soon!