The Geordie folk of the north east always were a canny bunch and when it comes to producing and sourcing organic local produce its no different. The north east is without doubt one of the strongholds of local, organic production.
North East Organic Growers is a small worker co-operative operating on land in the village of Bomarsund, near Bedlington in Northumberland. Its twelve miles north of Newcastle and since 1995 they have been supplying organic vegetables and fruit in the north east through a weekly box scheme based on produce grown on their ten acre site. It was the most northerly site that I visited on my travels.
The day I was there was a relatively quiet one with just two of the half dozen or so co-op members – Phil and Stuart – on site with a couple of young local volunteers. It was none the less fascinating to look around such a relatively small space which is growing over 50 different varieties of vegetables and fruit spread across open fields and a small bank of poly tunnels. All produce is certified organic and guaranteed to be free of added pesticides, herbicides and GMOs, and grown using ecologically sound and sustainable methods.
Since NEOG started, now over 20 years ago, both Phil and Stuart note that the interest in organic food has increased dramatically. They like to emphasise the local element of the NEOG operation, in particular stressing that they only deliver to the North East. Geordies to Geordies!! Whilst they aim to grow as much as they can on their own land, they do need to turn to wholesaling partners from time to time and when this happens the priority Is to buy local. With the experience of working together since 1995, it’s also stressed that customer service is second to none!
A wonderfully calm site with everyone working hard but things seemingly being under control – give or take a few head scratches! Lovely guys.
For more on NEOG and their veg box scheme see the NEOG website
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