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Unicorn News

Veg News 22nd Feb 2017

For the veg growers or aspiring veg growers among you: we’re stocking a lovely selection of seed potatoes. They are supplied to us by Newfield Organics near York in North Yorkshire, who also supply many commercial growers. There are some 1st earlies (Accent), 2nd earlies (Marfona) and a choice of main crop varieties (Desiree, Rudolph, Kestrel and Alouette). You don’t need an allotment or big garden to get into growing your own potatoes…it can be done in very small space, such as compost bags or containers. Start now by chitting your seed potatoes; leaving them upright in a light area of around 10 degrees. This encourages them to sprout, which helps to speed up growth once planted.
In UK veg news: Squash season is coming to a close. Crown Prince from Duncan Gielty is the last variety standing, offering good value and flavour. He’s also delivering the first batch of Lancashire coriander later this week!
We have been raving about Sicilian co-operative Agrico-op’s citrus for some time now, but this week the flavour of their oranges is nothing short of sensational! Really well balanced and juicy. Their deliveries this week also include the first strawberries. You may have noticed the supply of Spanish produce has eased, with broccoli, courgettes and aubergines fully available again and at increasingly lower prices.

Last Modified - 22nd February 2017


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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