Keelham’s pioneering fruit and veg exchange scheme is back and bigger than ever before
Thornton-based Keelham Farm Shop is celebrating the fifth year of its ground-breaking fruit and veg exchange scheme which has already helped save more than 11.5 tonnes of surplus foodstuffs from going to waste.
The family-run business has relaunched the popular initiative which gives green-fingered gardeners and allotmenteers the chance to swap their bumper crops or surplus veg for credit to spend in the shop. The produce is then sold on the shop’s fruit and veg exchange cart ““ allowing amateur growers to join more than 400 local farmers and suppliers whose produce is already showcased on its shelves and giving Keelham customers even more choice of home-grown produce.
This year, the Keelham team is also cultivating a budding passion for ‘grow your own’ amongst its customers, offering a host of extra incentives including top tips and advice for aspiring gardeners, as well as planting equipment and vegetable plants in Keelham Home & Garden.
Comments Victoria Robertshaw, co-owner of Keelham Farm Shop: “Our fruit and veg exchange scheme is a sustainable solution to recycling excess food in a way that is delicious, fun and affordable. We’ve always championed locally-grown produce and we’re proud that there’s dirt on our potatoes and our carrots come in all shapes and sizes.
“The feedback we’ve had from our customers is that they love seeing their home-grown fruit and veg on sale in the shop, and our buyers like knowing exactly where the produce they purchase has come from. We go that extra mile by personalising the produce with the name of the grower, where they live and even a photo of where it was grown; it’s a really visual way of demonstrating the love and attention laboured on the product. We’re hoping the recent sunshine will result in bumper crops for many of our customers and that many more will sign up to the scheme this summer.”
The shop has more than one hundred and fifty local growers already signed up to the scheme. Customers must fill in an application form to register as an official fruit and veg exchange grower ““ and can then begin bringing in their greens from the garden which will be weighed and priced up in return for shop credit.
This year also sees the return of Keelham’s own-brand cider, which launched last year and uses the previous season’s excess apples, which have been crushed and cultured into 300 bottles of limited edition Keelham cider, brewed by neighbouring Naylor’s Brewery.
Keelham customers can sign up to the scheme in the shop and then swap their fruit and vegetables. For more information on Keelham’s fruit and veg exchange scheme visit www.keelhamfarmshop.co.uk