Frequently Asked Questions
- When do you deliver?
- What if I live outside your delivery area?
- What if I'm not at home to receive my order?
- What are your office hours so that I can speak to someone?
- Is there a minimum order?
- Can I change my order whenever I want to?
- Can I stop and start the service whenever I want?
- What if I don't like the produce selections?
- What if I want extra amounts of certain fruits or vegetables?
- What if there are certain fruits and vegetables I don't want?
- Why can't I choose what produce goes in my bag?
- What if there are items in my bag that I don't recognise?
- What happens if some of my produce is damaged when I receive it?
- How do I pay?
- Do I get anything free from farmaround?
- Where does farmaround produce come from?
- Can I visit one of the organic farms that supply farmaround?
- Do you have any jobs available?
Farmaround is a weekly delivery service covering the Greater London area and the North of England. Once you have placed an order we will deliver to you automatically every week. However, you are under no obligation to continue receiving farmaround produce and you can call us at any time to suspend or cancel your order. We deliver to different postcodes on different days of the week. Click here to find out when we deliver to your area and who your driver is. The day's deliveries start at around 9am and can continue until 8.30pm depending on the size of the round and traffic conditions. At present we cannot give you a precise delivery time. But once your driver has allocated your position in his or her round, it will be at a similar time each week. We deliver throughout the year except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. During weeks with a Bank Holiday Monday deliveries take place one day later than usual.
Please use the contact form to give us your details and we will contact you when we move into your area.
If you are not at home, your driver will leave your order in a safe place which you can specify, such as with a neighbour, in your porch or in your garden. If you have not given us instructions, your driver will leave it in the most sensible place he can find and put a note through your door as to its whereabouts.
Our office hours are 8.00AM to 5.00PM MONDAY to THURSDAY and 9.00AM to 4.00PM on FRIDAY. Outside these times you can leave a message on our answerphone, fax or email and we will contact you within the next working day.
Yes. There is a minimum order of £12.95 which is the price of the Standard Organic Vegetable Bag. The basis of your order will be fruit and/or vegetables to which you may add extras and groceries as you wish. We do not supply groceries and extras on their own. There is a flat rate delivery charge of £1.50
Yes. Farmaround is a flexible service. If you want to increase the size or the frequency of your deliveries, either on a temporary or a regular basis, we'll promptly amend your order. If you want to reduce your order we'll be happy to do that too, as long as it remains above our minimum requirement of £12.95 per delivery. You can use the amend order form or contact us direct. Please give us at least 2 working days' notice.
Yes. If you are away on holiday or business, or simply find that you have enough produce left over from your last delivery, give us a minimum of 2 working days notice and we'll suspend deliveries for any length of time that's convenient for you. You can do this using the suspend order form or contact us direct. (If you do the latter, please remember to state the date that you want your last order to arrive and the date that you want to resume your deliveries.)
The contents of farmaround bags vary each week according to the season and we have lots of different bags to choose from. But if what you want does not appear to be available on this website, please call us and we'll do our best to meet your requirements.
We sell some items separately in one kilo bags that you may add onto your order. They are: potatoes, carrots, onions, apples, pears, bananas and oranges. You will find them in the shop.
That's fine. Just let us know what you don't like and we can omit up to three items from your bag, replacing them with produce that you do like.
Not having the cost of processing specific orders helps us to keep our prices low; and many of our customers love the surprise element of the bags, likening them to Christmas Stockings. The flexibility of determining what goes into the bags each week also benefits our farmers. A spell of very warm weather may bring a field of cauliflowers to maturity. We can use those cauliflowers in the bags that week thus enabling the farmer to harvest his produce at the optimum time and achieve a full return on his crop. If his roquette is attacked by flea beatles we can decide to use his fresh basil instead. Our system allows farmers to work with us in tune with nature.
While supplying you with all the essentials you need, we try to make our bags as interesting as possible by including some exotic items when they are available. In due course there'll be a section of this site identifying many of them, in the meantime please call our Customer Care Team. They will be happy to help.
IF YOU RECEIVE ANY DAMAGED PRODUCE FROM FARMAROUND, OR IF FOR ANY REASON YOU ARE NOT ENTIRELY HAPPY WITH IT, WE GUARANTEE THAT WE WILL REFUND YOU. CALL OUR CUSTOMER CARE TEAM ON 0207 627 8066 FOR PROMPT ASSISTANCE.
We request that you pay by credit/debit card for your first order. Thereafter you can continue to pay by this method. We will hold your card details securely and automatically process your payment after each delivery. Alternatively you can pay by Standing Order. To print the Standing Order Form click here, then use your browser's print options to print out the form. The form should be completed by hand and then sent to your bank. If there is another way that you would like to pay then please call our Customer Services Team who will be glad to discuss your preferred option.
To thank you for your support, as a farmaround customer, several times a year we will send you a free gift. This could be a pot of organic chutney, some organic honey or some organic chocolate for example.
We are supplied by around fifteen small and medium sized producers from across Britain, together with a network of producers in continental Europe. Many of our delicious parsnips, potatoes, carrots , cauliflowers, leeks and brussel sprouts are from Fadmoor on the North Yorkshire Moors and from Riverford Farm in Devon. Our cherry tomatoes, spring onions and squash, plums, apples and Conference pears are from Kent, the garden of England. Many of our cabbages, kales and celery are from Strawberry Fields in Lincolnshire. Our lemons, winter tomatoes and aubergines come from Sicily. Our clementines and pink grapefruit from Corsica; with melons, oranges, avocados and mangos from Andalucia in Spain. Our peaches and apricots are from the Drome region of France, our winter salads and grapes from Provence and our shallots and globe artichokes from Brittany. If you would like more detailed information about any of our produce, please call Catherine Rose, our produce co-ordinator, on 0207 627 8066. She will always be happy to help.
You are very welcome to visit the farms that supply us. Please call us and we will arrange it with the owners.
We sometimes have jobs available in our office and depot. Send us a CV with a letter stating what sort of work you are interested in. Please note that we cannot arrange employment on any of the farms that supply our produce.
- Will the fact that I buy organic food make any difference to the world?
- Is organic food better for me?
- Are any chemicals used in organic farming?
- How do I know that farmaround produce really is organic?
- What quality of produce can I expect from farmaround?
- Why doesn't organic produce last as long as conventional?
- Why do you have to import some of your produce?
- Why is organic food more expensive?
The fact that you buy organic food makes a huge difference. You are contributing to the increase in demand for organics, giving more and more farmers the confidence to convert to organic means of production and thus reducing the amount of harmful chemicals that are released into the environment. Without people like you, this regeneration would not occur and the practices of industrial agriculture would continue unabated. Here are some of the reasons why buying organic helps the environment.
Ensure the survival of endangered wildlife.
Organic farmers are committed to preserving our delicate ecosystem. Because they rely on natural predators rather than on chemicals to control pests, organic farmers maintain the hedgerows, meadows and other natural habitats upon which Britain's beautiful wildlife depends.
Promote high animal welfare standards endorsed by Compassion In World Farming.
Animals on organic farms are happier and healthier. They are themselves nourished with organic food and are raised in a free range environment which allows their natural behaviour patterns to flourish. There is also no routine use of antibiotics or growth promoting drugs in organic farming.
Improve water quality
By cutting fertiliser and pesticide pollution of our streams and rivers, organic farming means that the purity of the waterways we share with fish, otters and other mammals is slowly being restored, making it safer for all to drink and bathe in.
Preserve the soil's fertility for future generations.
Organic farmers use natural animal and plant wastes to prevent nutrient loss and they maintain the long term quality of the soil by frequently rotating their crops.
Protect the health of farm workers
Organic farming substantially lowers 'front-line' exposure to chemicals, like organophosphates in sheep dip, which have blighted so many rural lives in recent years.
Support green campaigns and regeneration projects
We contribute a percentage of our profits to environmental and animal welfare charities so that some of your money goes directly to where it is most needed. One of the charities we support is Compassion in World Farming, the leading organisation in the campaign to end cruel factory farming methods and the live export of animals.
Just as the plant cannot derive full nourishment from an ill-nourished soil, so the ill-nourished plant conveys inadequate nourishment and defective resistance to disease to the animal that ingests it, and consequently to the human being that subsists on both. So said Viscount Bledisloe, Parliamentary Secretary to MAFF in 1940. As yet, there is no conclusive proof that organic food is better for you. However, common sense tells us that because it is grown using natural fertilizers like manure and seaweed, rather than with the many chemicals that conventional farming depends on, it is probably safer to eat.
Reduce potentially harmful chemical residues in your food.
Over 600 pesticides are currently permitted by the European Community in conventional farming. Although tested by MAFF, many were approved when scrutiny was comparatively lax. Even current testing does not adequately investigate the long term effect of low doses or the 'cocktail' effect of different pesticides used together. These chemicals may be absorbed when food is growing and they are not always removed by washing or peeling. Many pesticide poisonings are reported in the UK each year, and common ailments like depression, asthma and rashes may be caused by frequent exposure to agricultural chemicals. There is also increasing evidence that the UK's high level of breast cancer is linked to the use of Lindane. Sprayed on dairy cows in order to kill tics, Lindane has been banned in the USA but is still in use here.
Enrich your nutrition and enjoy better taste
There is tentative evidence that food grown organically is richer in essential fibre, vitamins and minerals. Of course, taste is a more subjective matter. We at farmaround firmly believe that organic food is richer and more succulent and many of our older customers tell us that it tastes how food used to in their youth.
Avoid Genetically Modified Organisms.
Organic produce is totally free of GMOs. Although the long term effects of genetically modified food are unclear, leading scientists and other public figures have warned of its potential dangers to human and animal life. Better safe than sorry.
No synthetic chemicals are used in organic agriculture. However certain naturally occurring substances are permitted and sometimes used. Copper and sulphur can be used to treat mildew. Calcium is used to strengthen the skin of apples to make them less fragile during transportation. The vegetable insecticide Rotenone, which is an extract of a South American plant and is biodegradable with no residue, is also employed. Organic farmers do not rely on these substances and seek to avoid them. A skilled grower will select tomatoes that are not over susceptible to do diseases like verticillium which are naturally suited to his or her climate and soil. If a grower has a crop failure due to disease, natural pesticides may be used but only as a last resort and under strict conditions.
Farmaround only sells and has only ever sold fully certified organic produce. Our farmers work to rigorous specifications set down by UKROFS (United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards). Their standards are maintained by monitoring bodies such as the Soil Association and OF&G (Organic Farmers and Growers). We use OF&G, who audit us every year to ensure that all our suppliers' produce is completely organic. To find out more about OF&G, click here. [weblink] Abroad, standards are maintained by bodies such as Agricultore Biologique in France, AIAB in Italy, CRAE in Spain, and SKAL in Holland. Our suppliers began farming organically long before the current surge in demand and at a time when it was barely viable to do so. They therefore have years of experience; and you can be sure they are farming organically for ethical reasons as well as in order to make a living.
We endeavour to give you the very best quality that we possibly can throughout the year. But please remember that because organic fruit and vegetables are not treated with potentially dangerous chemicals, they may not always look as perfect as intensively farmed produce and they have a shorter shelf life. Also, because organic food is harvested in tune with nature's seasons, it is not always possible to obtain certain varieties all year round.
We ask you to understand that in nature all that glistens is not necessarily gold. A miserable looking runt of a vegetable may have integrity and taste far superior to a 'perfect looking' cousin. Because our fruit and vegetables ripen naturally, we have a very short time to get them to you in their peak condition. Farmaround prefers to occasionally fail than to give you fruit picked too early that will never ripen. In addition, some of our smaller farmers can not afford the refrigeration facilities that larger farms have. As a result, delicate produce like spinach won't be chilled until it gets to us. In order to fulfil our policy of supporting small growers who are committed to the environment, we may sometimes take chances, knowing that their produce is fine if used quickly.
There are also times of the year when it is difficult to obtain some types of produce in their prime. For example, English potatoes, carrots and onions are harvested in the autumn and then stored through the winter. It is the natural tendency for such crops to start sprouting in the spring. In conventional agriculture they are sprayed with chemicals like Tecnazene which is a sprout inhibitor. Because these chemicals are not used on organic vegetables we occasionally have difficulties in March while we wait for the new season Spanish, Italian or Sicilian varieties to become available.
Finally, fruit and vegetables do occasionally deteriorate during packing at the farmaround depot or in transit to your door. Our packers and drivers are conscientious people who are extremely careful with the delicate produce they handle. But they are only human and every now and again they may unintentionally let bruised or damaged items slip through. We may not become aware of a problem until customers bring it to our attention, so please do not hesitate to tell us and we will do our utmost to rectify it.
Organic food deteriorates more quickly than conventional food because that is what nature intended. Conventional produce is routinely treated with chemical preservatives after harvest to stop spoilage and prolong its shelf life. These chemicals are different to those used in production. The most common one that blights British fruit is Thiabendazole, which has been banned in the USA because of concern about its safety. Others such as Diphenyl Orthophenylphenol are suspected human carcinogens and mutagens. The price consumers pay to artificially prolong the shelf life of their fruit and vegetables may, therefore, be a high one.
We are committed to supporting British organic farmers as much as we possibly can. However, availability is limited; so in order to give farmaround customers the variety they expect, it is necessary to import some produce. By April 2000 there were over 400,000 hectares of land under organic management in the UK, a quarter of this area being fully organic and the rest in conversion. Thus less than 0.6% of total agricultural land area being fully organic with 1.7% in conversion. Furthermore, with the exception of apples and pears, most British fruit has an extremely short season; and, of course, citrus fruit and items like grapes must come from the Continent because they are rarely grown successfully in the UK. We find that most of our customers support our policy. They like the fact that, while they primarily support British growers, buying from farmaround means that they are also supporting the world wide development of organic agriculture.
Organic food production is more labour intensive and it is produced on a smaller scale. Weeding is done by hand rather than by spraying herbicides. Organic fields are usually smaller than conventional ones because farmers need to plant hedgerows and borders in their fields to encourage natural predators. Also, because organic crops are more vulnerable to natural disease, yields tend to be smaller. An organic chicken flock is typically between 100 - 500 compared to between 3000 and 15000 in a conventional free range system; non free range are larger still. Although we pay more over the counter for organic food, a recent French study showed that if the environmental cost of intensive farming is accounted for, then organic actually costs 5% less. In the UK, Professor Jules Petty has put the damage done at £2.3 billion, a total of £208 per hectare. This includes: £120 million to take pesticides down to the level required under the EU drinking water directive; £60 million a year for removing nitrate and phosphate pollution; £23 million a year for combating cryptospiridium; £124 million a year for replacing lost biodiversity, hedgerows and stone walls. It is also worth noting that the BSE crisis cost the UK taxpayer £4 billion, while food poisoning costs us £1 billion every year.