Organics - thinking outside the Veg Box

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Maggie Sutherland’s Natural Vegetable Company on the outskirts of Inverness has been supplying organic salads and vegetables since 2004. Maggie aims is to produce a complete range of seasonal produce direct from the field to the customer. While most organic produce is brought into the region, the Natural Veg Company aims to supply only Highland produce of the highest quality.

natveg5As well as delivering veg boxes direct to 70 customers’ door, Maggie also works with a small number of restaurants and cafes in the Inverness area; from Café One to Velocity, Roc Pool to Harry Gow’s. Keeping in regular contact, she works with their chefs to provide them with a reliable supply of fresh leaves and seasonal veg.

When she began the business she sent a questionnaire to 25 local hotels and restaurants, asking then what they would like. The eight replies were enough to write a business plan and on acquiring organic accreditation she began what is now a thriving business employing two people.

With nearly ten years of growing experience behind her, Maggie now knows what grows
best and when; how to balance supply and demand to ensure all her veg box, hotel and restaurant customers get exactly what they want – fresh salads and veg of a consistently excellent standard – when they need it. By regularly circulating a list of what produce is ready now, what’s still growing and when it will be ready, her hotel and restaurant customers know what’s available and can plan their menus around what’s in season; an increasingly important factor in consumer choice of where to eat out.

natveg3 RocPool texts an order for their three times a week delivery, meaning there’s no waste and everything is as fresh and as good quality as possible. Spinach, tomatoes and mixed salad leaves are staples, while baby beets, baby courgettes and their flowers are grown especially to order. Maggie’s been working with Café One on a similar basis for three years, while Velocity Café has taken her organic produce right from the start, their flexible approach and simple, tasty menu meaning they can work with whatever is in season.

Having a blend of individual and business customers has proved a successful combination. Fraser Gow, son of the eponymous Harry Gow and great grandson of John Burnet who set up the famous Inverness bakery chain in 1898, was receiving Natural Veg’s veg boxes at home. Spotting that the organic salad leaves in his home veg box were of a better quality and lasting longer than the ones his business were serving in their Salad Boxes, he now orders all Harry Gow’s salad box leaves from the Natural Veg Company.

Maggie Sutherland
Natural Vegetable Company
T: 01463 250 440
M: 07890 189 676

Website: Natural Vegetable Company

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