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Riverford Farm
The contents of a Riverford fruit and vegetable box from July 2009

Riverford is an organic farm and dairy based in Buckfastleigh in Devon, England, but with sister farms in three locations around the country.[1]

Riverford Farm was taken over by the Watson family in the 1950s and followed the normal pattern for British farms until the mid-1980s, when Guy Watson decided to convert to organic farming. By the late 1980s this had been achieved.[2] Watson aimed to find an effective way of distributing his produce. His idea was the weekly veg box scheme, the box being delivered direct to customers' doors with locally grown produce.[3]

Riverford states that having four farms around the country permits economies of scale that approach those of supermarkets, whilst reducing the delivery time from field to kitchen and ensuring fresh food.[1] It chooses varieties for flavour rather than appearance and delivers earthy vegetables, which improves storage and taste.[4]

Starting from a weekly delivery of around 30 boxes to family and friends, by early 2010 Riverford was delivering around 45,500 boxes per week[1] and sending its own meat and dairy products as well as vegetables and fruit to 60,000 households nationwide.[5] To achieve this they have formed a mutual cooperative of British farmers - not all in Devon.[6] The weekly boxes come with a newsletter explaining the content of the box, giving farm news from Riverford and providing appropriate recipes.

In March 2005, before celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's school dinner project, Riverford obtained the catering contract for lunches at a local primary school.[7]

On 2 December 2007 Riverford appeared at number 92 in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100, a list of the 100 fastest growing companies in the UK. In 2009 Riverford won the award for best ethical business at the Observer ethical awards.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Riverford Farms". Riverford. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  2. ^ "Farm News". Riverford. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  3. ^ Stone, Andrew (2008-07-27). "How I made it: Riverford Organic Vegetables founder Guy Watson". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  4. ^ "Organic vegbox producer bags national award for positive rural action". Business in the Community. Retrieved 2010-03-04. [dead link]
  5. ^ Ellis, Hattie (2010-01-28). "It's time to think inside the (vegetable) box scheme". London: The Times Online. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  6. ^ "Growers & Small Producers". Riverford. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  7. ^ "Council bans 'unhealthy' dinners". BBC News. 2005-04-11. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  8. ^ "The Observer ethical awards 2009: Riverford Organic Vegetables". London: The Guardian. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 

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