Monday, 17 December 2012

Making a "ricket"

While enjoying my once weekly ritual of reading through the "Sundays" in between various chores,breakfast making and tea supping I stumbled across an article discussing the falling sales of fresh produce(a phenomenon I am we'll versed In) and drawing parallels to the malnourished youth,and the rise of cases of Victorian diseases such as rickets and as usual my eyebrows scrunched and thinking cap in place a eureka moment POW !
As you are aware our previous administration probably on the well intentioned advice supermarket man launched the "five a day" campaign which was designed to improve the health of the nation via fruit and indeed it captured the imagination of a nation even my 8 year old son proudly boasts when eating fresh produce "that's one of my five a day dad" but unfortunately this has backfired massively as food producers and supermarkets have been allowed to hijack the campaign and proudly boast on there tins of soup,processed fruits,juice made from concentrate and foods with 18 months shelf life "PART OF YOUR FIVE A DAY" yes in essence they are part of the afore mentioned food group but none of them have the goodness of "proper" fresh fruit and vegetables full of the necessary nutrition and vitamins our children need.
So in reality big business had hoodwinked us into believing that we are all well and healthy as we pick up out lunchtime pack of prepared fruit from supermarket man or a warm cup of tomato soup but nothing could be further from the truth and the lack of nutrition perticullally vitamin D has led to the rise in disease so in fact they "making a ricket"

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Ranting in the fresh produce journal

Any business rate increases in the current economic climate would be disastrous for greengrocers, according to several leading businesses.

Chancellor George Osborne had been widely tipped to cover business rates as part of his Autumn Statement this week, however nothing was mentioned and with rates increasing by 4.6 per cent in 2011 and 5.6 per cent this year, the British Retail Consortium has criticised the government for not clarifying if there would be any further rise.

“The Chancellor should have removed the threat of a further 2.6 per cent, £175 million rate increase next April to avoid more empty shops; this issue needs tackling urgently,” said Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC.

Three quarters of MPs currently believe trading costs should be brought under control as a way of halting high street decline, while two thirds would back a complete freeze on business rates next year, according to the BRC.

“Rates on the high street have almost doubled over the last 10 years; a further rise would be terminal for a lot of greengrocers,” said Andreas Georghiou, owner of Andreas Veg.

Georghiou owns two greengrocers based in Chelsea and Chiswick, and says that despite the Mary Portas review giving independent businesses greater publicity, the government has continued to move away in the opposite direction.

“We are essentially at the hardest part of the retail food chain as even with a 50 per cent margin you’re only making 5p an apple. There has to be a tiered level of rating on rates or greengrocers are in grave danger of disappearing.”

Christopher Bavin, owner of Walton-on-Thames based award-winning greengrocer The Naked Grocer, echoed Georghiou’s fears. “The correlation between rent and rates has now completely fallen out of kilter, and with every utility from transport and wages to waste management all going up, a business rate increase would be the kiss of death,” said Bavin.

Cooperation is the name of the game

It was fabulous having Franco Fubini M.D. of Natoora along with Fedi and Tim talking and mingling with our customers in Chiswick while displaying some of there impressive produce.
The most significant feature of this mini event I believe is that two companies one a specialist retailer and one a very specialist restaurant supplier with a strong online presence(including adding some finesse to ocardo) can work together without suspicion and with honesty and integrity to spread the "word" so to speak.
It shows also that in greengrocery we are attempting to use these collaborations for the greater good of the most important of people ... the customer !
Co-operation is my friends the name of the game in the now and the very essence of the future of fresh produce marketing and sales in the independent sector

Andreas and Franco

Monday, 3 December 2012

Me doing mushrooms

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Wild mushroom tasting

Come to our wild mushroom tasting today at Andreas Chelsea

Monday, 26 November 2012

"Not Mushroom at the bar"

We had a magnificent evening at Charlottes Bistro talking Mushrooms on the first "Food evening" which Alex and his team hope to make a regular event.
it was a fun packed evening with some great discussion and cooking with a great audience.
my personal feeling is that collaborations like this are very important for small independent community based businesses.
We also showcased our new house olive oil from the Gay Farmer.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Hiding the costs in plain sight

The term hiding in plain sight has been used a lot recently in various news stories of an unsavoury nature however today's publication of which,s year long investigation into supermarkets shows practises of described as "shifty" and "plain daft" are rife amongst the major high street players.
Now in any market cafe the conversations between traders often highlight examples of supermarket over pricing and dodgy dealing.
It's true that the convenience supermarkets offer is attractive in many time poor lives,however it's nothing short of disgraceful practice that this is prayed on,fooling unsuspecting consumers into buying what they believe to be special offers perticullally the infamous 2 for 1 appearing to offer great deals but in reality they offer far from that !.
For example Marks and Spencer's offer four Granny Smith apples for £2.29 or two packs for £4 which at first with a saving of 58p seems to be a reasonable deal until you realise that that makes the cost a whopping £3.50 a kilo that's over 100% dearer than we charge in our shops !.
another example from Waitrose offers baby new potatoes in 400 gram packets for £1.60 extortion in any currency however again they offer two for £3 which again with a 40p "saving" seems alright but again over 100 % dearer than my shops and there are countless of examples of this slight of hand and it appears that the illusion of saving money as opposed to the actual saving of money is allowed to flourish even in these cash tight times by simply plonking products in front of our eyes thus literally "hiding the cost in plain view"

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Olive oil tasting in Chiswick

Darren is having an olive oil tasting with the fabulous Gay Farmer himself Mark and his magnificent oil

Friday, 16 November 2012

Small Adventures in Cooking

Nice words from James Ramsden

"What can I say about Andreas? Not only is his produce the best in London, not only does he bring it to your door, not only will he find you any quirky vegetal comestible you can dream of, but he is perhaps the nicest man you'll ever meet." James Ramsden

Wild mushroom mayhem

Really delighted to be hosting wild mushroom night at Charlottes Bistro the first of what we hope to be many food related events at this magnificent local eatery.
I shall be chatting cooking dispelling some myths and maybe creating some others.
Pop along from 7pm on Wednesday 21st of November for what should be a riot !

Monday, 12 November 2012

Mushroom night with Charlottes Bistro

I shall be extolling the virtues of wild mushrooms at the fabulous Charlottes Bistro on Wednesday 21st of November from 7pm
pop along and sample some exquisite creations cooked by Greg Martin and pick up a tip or two this is a free event in the bar area and should be a cracker

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The porcini have landed

The finest fresh English Porcini for which we are all so well known for carrying are now available in both our shops ... Enjoy

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The kind of ok British food revival(a tale of two chefs)

Last nights screening of "the great British food revival" in essence could have drawn its "plot" from the BBC s archived adaptations of "a tale of two cities" on one hand we had the the aristocratic and charming Michel Roux both bemoaning and championing the humble British strawberry and the gritty but equally charming James Martin frequenting undying love for British Watercress however unlike the dickens novel it fell short on one very significant level which is no fault of the great British farmers mentioned or indeed the fine Mr Roux ....TIMING ! Yes it's October ! and in the same way last year Gary Rhodes was ex telling the virtues of British tomatoes in New Covent Garden market aired a month after the season closed it causes great frustration that schedulers cannot get in tune with the fact that people cannot nip out to the shops and test a dozen varieties of said Strawberries badger there local store to get them there favourite taster when they are no longer available and although the BBC have quite a lot on there proverbial plate there is no point leaving everybody else's plates empty and in the same way we are asked for sprouts and chestnuts in July "where shooting Christmas" often giggles the stylist it really is more than apparent that "real"food people should be at least consulted on produce availability in Television shows, as championing a non available product on primetime is as welcome as tossing a coin to compensate for a great loss...

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Jamie pops by

Great to have Jamie (pictured here with Darren) in our Chiswick store today

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The return of the edge

Darren shows how an old fashioned edge can really shine in this glorious weather

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Tis the season to be "jolly"

Mr and Mrs Jolly's finest Asparagus is now in our shops courtesy of the Hill Boys !

Friday, 20 April 2012

Aving a chat with Boris and Mary

Putting my point across to Mayor Boris and the lovely Mary MacDonald MP with regards to the Parking issues that surround small business in the capital

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Masterchef top bloke

Great to have @mr fennel Tom Whittaker visit us in Chelsea

John quilters army(ish)of food buskers

Dropped off some veg to the one and only ...John Quilter at The Real Food festival on the south bank pop over there this weekend great food all over the gaff

Pauls fruity today

Paul has done wonders with the fruit in Chiswick that includes New Season Spanish Peaches,Nectarines,Alphonso Mango,Nespole,Frais des Bois and plenty of juicy favourites

Darren has done this amazing display in Chiswick

Stunning produce including Giant Globe Artichokes'baby Brittany Artichokes'English Asparagus French White Asparagus,Morels and more

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Surely you are "Jo"King

I guess it is quite unbelievable that royalty are more in touch with the normal folk of our fair country than our "top" executives and bankers and last night the guildhall witnessed Justin King the Sainsbury chief exec have his "Ratner moment" following his dismissal of independent retailers and his refusal to take responsibility for The supermarkets roll in high street decline.
I will not throw all my eggs in one basket as I have plenty more to say.
Now we must be careful with Justin who's failure to grasp reality was first seen in his smug interviews post Christmas results where he failed to acknowledge that his "victory"over Tescos was akin to a side celebrating winning the cup after the losers had scored an own goal,and still dosnt recognise that the supermarkets treatment of their customers bears a stark resemblance to children queuing for food in a Dickens novel.
To address Justin kings sentiments I have Spelt out a guide to why the independent sector does not yield the results of planet supermarket.
Dear Justin and the gang
We will close 28,000 greengrocers so you can open your greengrocer counters.
We will willingly hand you 80% of our business as we are not up to it.
We will not become non speccialised and not impart our expertise and sell anything for profit and scratch our heads when asked abquestion..
We have chosen to pay the same tax And P.A.Y.E. levels as big business as we want a level playing field.
In the independent sector we have forsaken our right for customers to park in favour of traffic attendants our friends.
We have chosen to have no voice with councils and government ad opposed to big business that bully's,lobby's and dictates policy.
We have chosen friendly and honest service and pricing as opposed to the deliberate misleading ill-informed supermarket business model.
We will not entice favours from the powers that be.
We will close 9 stores to every one you open.
We will sell costumers what they want not what we want.
We have chosen to make ends meet and struggle on as opposed to drawing huge bonuses and dividends.
We have chosen to pay our suppliers on time to the value of their products as opposed to telling them what we will pay and when/if we will.
We have turned our back on crafty marketing techniques,slight of hand and dam right lies to promote our wares.
We refuse large advertising budgets,focus groups and marketing initiatives for cute signs in our windows.
In short Justin we are entitled to our dreams on our terms and those ofvus who don't make it can gladly hand over their properties to those who have the courage to have a go as opposed to the cosy slimy grease splashed poll you so willingly climbed and let's face all the empties can be tossed to the huge land banks that act as the giant high street bins you hold responsibility for.
Oh and one other thing Justin and brown are so 80,s get with it

I will be comenting on Tescos work for us for free advertisments very shortly.