Biodiversity is of vital importance to our food system, which is threatened by the commercial demand for constant, uniform quantity over quality and flavour. Growers are often forced to favour aggressive monocultures, seed hybridisation and excessive intervention, to create the illusion of year-round availability. We actively seek out growers producing incredible varieties that can’t be found in the mainstream, such as Francesco and his variety of Datterini tomatoes, which was being pushed out by commercial varieties bred to stay on the vine at the expense of flavour.
Many of our growers are working with seeds perfected over generations of farmers growing on the same land: Martin’s Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Robert Tomlinson’s prewar Rhubarb crowns and Raffaele's Bull’s Heart Tomatoes. Seed selection recognises that the soil is a living, dynamic ecosystem. A seed which has been selected from the best performing plant of the season, fully adapted to the local soil, climate and the producer’s growing ethos.
We look beyond organic certification, which only tells us what a farmer has not done to their crops. We want to know more: how the singularities of their growing methods have produced a crop unique to their land and in balance with the environment. Their growing methods allow the plant to fulfil its natural potential, without the use of pesticides or industrial fertilisers. At the core of their practice is regenerative agriculture: the rebuilding of soil fertility, protection of biodiversity and restoration of ecosystem health through the preservation of heritage varieties, seed selection and minimum intervention in the soil.
We source locally where relevant to the produce but our commitment to flavour, varietal diversity and sustainable growing methods comes first. We’re not tied to local because we want to revolutionise the supply chain on a global scale. Certain heritage varieties are in danger of extinction today because they have no reach beyond local markets and we believe that maintaining the biodiversity of our plant life is the first and most important step towards creating a scalable, sustainable food system.