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Unicorn News

Veg News March 21st

At the risk of repeating ourselves, the purple sprouting broccoli is really a little bit special at the moment!

The mainstay of our supply continues to be from Cornwall’s Francis Sampson. Great to see him having such a bumper crop off the back of what was a challenging 2015/16 season for him. With the stems and leaves being particularly tender at the moment, nothing should go to waste. We also feel that our price offers particularly good value when compared to the multiples. The same is true of our flower sprouts (Brussels/kale cross), which continue apace from the Wasses in North Yorkshire.

From the northwest, there’s a bountiful supply of spring cauliflowers from the Gieltys near Ormskirk, alongside spinach, coriander, and little gems. For those who’ve enjoyed Libby Flintoff’s Preston watercress supply of late, make the most of this weekend’s as there will be a gap in succession next week.
In Europe, Italian kiwis continue to offer good value, as do Spanish courgettes and (increasingly) broccoli. The European avocado season is drawing to a (tasty) close, and the same is unfortunately true of Sicilian blood oranges.

Price comparison – March 21st 2017 (Morrisons non-organic Vs Unicorn Organic)

Lemons: Morrisons – 31p each, medium (Spain), Unicorn – 32p each, large (Spain)

Kiwis: Morrisons – 35p each, huge (Italy), or 15p each (small), Unicorn – 18p each, medium (Italy)

Sprouting broccoli: Morrisons – £10/kg (UK), Unicorn – £5.28/kg (Sampson, Cornwall)

Flower sprouts: Morrisons – £6.25/kg (UK), Unicorn – £5.69/kg (Wass, Yorkshire)

Vine tomatoes: Morrisons organic – £4.48/kg (Spain), Unicorn – £2.62/kg (Spain)

Last Modified - 21st March 2017

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Visiting our Stockport tomatoes!

We loved seeing where our Stockport tomatoes are coming from yesterday on a visit to Glebelands Growers' new site at Woodbank Park.

Long celebrated by their customers as a model for sustainable urban food production, Glebelands have almost doubled in size in the last year, adding the new site to their existing one by the River Mersey in Sale. Their successful evolution is thanks to a highly skilled and incredibly dedicated team of co-op members who not only not how to grow amazing veg, but also know how to grow a sustainable business.

We’ve been really proud to help support their strategic vision by linking the co-op to a loyal and engaged customer base (YOU!!!), and providing some investment to help turn their vision into a reality. The ventilation system we helped purchase at Woodbank means they can benefit from the advantages of undercover growing without having to be there all the time to manually control the temperature. This is turn means they can split their time between two sites and produce lots more local organic veg!

Winter is when we'll particularly notice the difference in terms of our veg range - we'll have UK salad leaves all year round without the gap from December to Febuary that we usually experience.

It was fascinating to hear more about the growing techniques they employ and the commercial realities of being small scale organic growers. We also explored the point at which local veg that needs a lot of fuel to produce (in heated polytunnels – they don’t use these) becomes less climate-friendly than veg that is transported further but with fewer inputs. We also got to meet the The Kindling Trust's FarmStart co-ordinator who told us about training up new organic growers at the site.

The partnership between the council, Kindling, Glebelands and community growing groups has brought life back into a party derelict ex-plant nursery site, it's now a thriving 'hub' for urban agriculture in Stockport.

Look out for Stockport tomatoes in the shop for the next few weeks - get them while you can!

Last Modified - 9th September 2016

Grow a Grocery

We think there’s room for a Unicorn-type store in every city, and perhaps more besides. We have no plans to expand outside the one shop, so we’ve put together a guide intended to help facilitate the emergence of new stores run on similar lines.

Starting a new business is a daunting process. The guide is based on the model Unicorn has tried & tested since 1996, and walks potential grocers through all areas of the business, in the hope that it will make starting a new shop an easier process and help existing shops improve and/or expand.


Read the guide here

Last Modified - 10th October 2013

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