AN ECO-FRIENDLY couple have expanded their zero-waste store by returning to where they started their business nine years ago.

Jonathan and Lucy Bowden, joint owners of The Market Garden, opened their new shop in Eynsham Emporium on Tuesday - nine years after they started selling fruit and vegetables outside the venue.

The store is the first in Oxfordshire to offer zero-waste shopping on a large scale, with customers asked to bring their own containers and choose from more than 100 products.

The Market Garden's organic produce has seen the shop's popularity rise and it now offers a range of products including home-made ready meals, cleaning products and shampoos.

Tuesday's grand opening was the realisation of a dream for the married couple from Long Hanborough and Mrs Bowden revealed Eynsham residents played their part.

She said: "It was hectic in a very good way.

"My face ached from smiling so much and everyone was so happy to have us there.

"It's something we have wanted to do for a very long time but we didn't have the space."

The pair met while studying for a National Certificate in Horticulture at Abingdon & Witney College and bonded through their mutual love of the great outdoors.

Mr Bowden started developing a smallholding and planted the first few trees of what eventually became an orchard in 2007.

They started growing produce on a three-acre plot in Long Hanborough and sold their goods at weekend farmer's markets as a hobby.

In 2009, The Market Garden's association with the Emporium began with the car park stall, before moving into an old betting shop across the road three years later.

Specialising in local, ethically-sourced products saw villagers by into their ethos and Mr Bowden explained demand forced them to search for a bigger space.

He said: "We had outgrown our existing space and couldn't cram any more in.

"We were overjoyed at the turnout and the response we received on Tuesday."

Although they have barely moved geographically, The Market Garden has come a long way in the last decade and now employs five part time staff.

As well as aiming to eliminate waste, the couple are hoping to capitalise on the publicity generated by the BBC's Blue Planet series and reduce the amount of single-use plastic in the village.

Mr Bowden said: "We aren't against plastics and we don't want to eliminate them completely.

"The zero waste shopping is where we can eliminate single use plastic.

"Children like that they can bring their own containers - they love the process of putting it on the scales.

Mrs Bowden added: "More people are becoming aware of it and they now want to shop this way."