A VegShed for All Seasons
We’re transforming our straw bale veg shed in the field at the entrance to Hardwick into The VegShed @ Tolhurst Organic. It's off-grid and will be open 24/7 with freshly-harvested produce from our walled garden and fields, customers just pay into the honesty box.
Here's a short story of our VegShed when we started, how it looks now, and what it will look like when we've built it with your support.
In 2013 we put a table outside the gate with a few veg to sell but it was often getting soaked so we moved it into the adjacent field and used straw bales to make a make-shift roof over the boxes (see below).
Everybody seemed to like the simple honesty box model and in time we increased the selling area to allow for more veg to be displayed and sold. Tolly made special crates and we bought ”artificial grass” to cover the gaps.
But we have run out of space for the many tasty vegetables we grow, and the delicious strawberries we produce in summer. And the straw bale walls are slowly composting into the ground! So we need a better structure and this is what it will look like:
It will be the same honesty box affair, open at all times throughout the year, with a great ambience. Vegetables will be fresh and cool so that everything's ready to cook and eat when you want to buy it. It's off-grid, and built in a way that Nature will look after the quality and flavours you will savour at home.
Tolhurst Organic, led by Iain Tolhurst (Tolly), is a pioneering organic farm, and has been certified organic for more than 40 years. In 2004 it became the first farm to attain the Stockfree Organic symbol and there have been no animal inputs to any part of the farm since 2008. What does this mean for you? If you are vegan or not, it means that the food you'll buy at our VegShed is the safest ever, completely traceable and free from any animal residues, be it from soil, compost or water.
Zero Carbon and Zero Miles!
Conventional vegetable and fruit growing relies on high uses of energy and water. At Tolhurst Organic we aim to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible; today it’s around 8 tonnes which is the same as the average house in the UK.
The VegShed @ Tolhurst Organic is being built from recycled materials sources locally, we’re making all the interior display boxes and fittings in our workshop. It’s off-grid too, with solar-powered lighting and no electronic tills – just the honesty box.
Vegetables and fruit, all freshly-harvested that day, are delivered from packing shed to the VegShed, which is a distance of half a mile. In fact they grow right there, by the VegShed, if you look around, you'll see the plots with cabbages, sweet corn, squashes, and Brussel Sprouts growing within yards.
When you make a pledge for The VegShed @ Tolhurst Organic you will be supporting Team Tolhurst as we bring freshly-harvested seasonal vegetables and fruit to everyone.
We work hard to sow, grow, look after and harvest all our produce so that it’s ripe and ready to eat when you want to buy it.
We’re growing the next generation! Our team includes trainees who are learning how to grow vegan food organically, without stock inputs, and how to market and sell this delicious produce direct to customers through The VegShed @ Tolhurst Organic. They come from all over the world and are impressed to learn about ways to sell produce fresh and with zero miles of transportation.
Find out more about Tolhurst Organic, which varieties of vegetables and fruit we grow and where we grow them. Come along on a farm walk or discuss traineeships - we'd love to meet you!