FOOD MATTERS Marja amd Scott
Marja and Scott swap delivering lectures for Riverford’s award-winning produce! From the classroom to the organic fields of Riverford Farm … when teachers Marja Boyce and Scott Taylor decided they wanted a fresh start, they really meant a fresh start! The couple, who live in Yealmpton, have taken up the Riverford Home Delivery franchise for the Plymouth area, where there are currently around 1,200 customers. Marja still works part-time as a lecturer in business management at Plymouth University but Scott left the Globe Language Centre in Exeter where he had worked for 18 years in order to take on the franchise. It means getting up at 5am on some days, but they’re relishing the change: “There’s no such thing as a normal week any more but we’re thoroughly enjoying it,” said Marja. “We’ve never worked together before – but so far, so good. Scott is logistical and practical and likes meeting people and I’m OCD with spreadsheets, so it’s a good balance!” They’re now in charge of 650 deliveries of fresh organic produce a week – and they couldn’t be happier! “I’ve been a Riverford customer myself for 25 years,” said Marja. “I love that it’s a family firm and I share the passion for organic food, produced ethically and sustainably. And I care about our environment. “I wanted to work there when I was younger but I couldn’t at that time because of my circumstances as a single mother. So when I saw on the website that the franchise was available I thought ‘yeah, I’d love to do that’. “I didn’t mention it to Scott at first because I didn’t think he’d be up for it but then one day I thought ‘do you know what? I am going to mention it’. And he said ‘yeah, let’s do it’. And now here we are!” Beyond Plymouth, the delivery area extends to Modbury and Ivybridge to the east, Shaugh Prior to the north and Saltash and
The Plymouth Magazine July 2017
Cotehele to the west. Working with Marja and Scott are long-term Riverford Home Delivery drivers Steve and Paul, who have grown to know the area’s customers well. They do eight rounds a week, while Scott takes care of the Monday round. “Steve and Paul have got a great relationship with our customers,” said Marja. “And they’re more than just customers; we regard them as part of our community.” This year marks the 30th anniversary of Riverford owner Guy Watson switching the family farm near Staverton over to organic farming and setting up the veg box business. Since 1987, the business has grown and grown and there are now ‘sister’ farms in Hampshire, Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire. Almost three-quarters of produce sold by Riverford Farm is home-grown, with the rest coming from its farm in France or from small organic growers and producers – including the produce we can’t grow in the UK or that’s out of season here. However, nothing is air freighted; everything is transported by land or sea. And for those who only want seasonal, home-grown produce, Riverford have a 100% UK veg box. So, what’s in season right now? “Asparagus, garden peas, runner beans, sugar snaps, globe artichokes and summer fruits,” said Scott. “And at the moment, people are raving about the broad beans.” Marja added: “There’s a lot more flexibility than there was at the beginning. There’s a wide range of options to suit everyone and people can go onto the website and build the box they want by adding items to the basket.” Riverford also sells British free range, organic meats and organic dairy produce. Where Riverford has to source this produce outside of its own farms, it is from small producers that care about their animals. Riverford Home Delivery can
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