IF you are the type of person who cares where their food comes from AND how it is delivered, a new partnership between a vegetable retailer and delivery company is a match made in heaven, says Jake Swinhoe of Riverford Organic Farmers.

Oxford organic food company Riverford Organic Farmers is now getting its fresh fruit and veg delivered by bicycle courier company Pedal & Post.

The arrangement sees Riverford customers in parts of East Oxford getting their fresh produce delivered to their doors by riders on custom-built cargo trikes that can carry up to 40 veg boxes.

Riverford was founded over 30 years ago by farmer Guy Watson who recently sold the company to its own staff making it an employee-owned venture. Steady growth and expansion over the last few years has led to Riverford being the largest organic retailer in the country, making over 60,000 deliveries every week – more than 1,500 of these are in Oxfordshire.

We’ve been delivering to the homes of Oxfordshire since 2002 and have seen a large rise in new customers around East Oxford recently, so have enlisted the help of Pedal & Post to help look after these veg-loving people.

At Riverford all the food we sell is produced to be as kind to our planet as possible with no pesticides, heated greenhouses or harmful farming methods being used. The carbon footprint of deliveries is also of huge importance to us as climate change looms and the ways of getting seasonal food from the field to the table while maintaining freshness can be a complex matter.

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While the pursuit of electric vehicles big enough to deliver is currently (no pun intended) a tricky issue as they are either very small vans or unrealistically expensive, we still endeavour to move away from using diesel vehicles.

Oxford Mail:

When a van takes our food to 80 or so homes each day within a given part of Oxford, it is saving those 80 trips to the supermarket. So, straight away, we are helping the environment but as we get our partners at Pedal & Post to deliver the goods it reduces our carbon footprint even further so is an even bigger plus.

Having run a few trials across East Oxford with the bikes, we are confident that they can play a part in our delivery network. My initial fears about food getting damaged on the way have been entirely unfounded. We’ve not even had a single egg broken on the way thanks to the amazing new bikes.

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We’ve seen campaigns for both local and national government to raise the agenda of climate change with regular protest marches raising the issue on the the streets of Oxford.

Oxford Mail:

If we are to continue to have Oxford as a city that leads the way in reducing carbon emissions with a zero emission zone, then all delivery companies need to plan for this.

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Riverford has always aimed to be ahead of the curve with all environmental issues, so we are looking to find the best solution.

It’s a complex matter and will carry a financial cost, but this is clearly not as important as the environmental cost of taking no action.

Fortunately the eco-bike delivery option is one that can benefit everyone so we are keen to move forward with this.