Purton House Organics, an organic veg box scheme near Swindon, has launched a quirky campaign urging women to support local female-run enterprises like themselves by choosing to shop at their local farm shops and suppliers – and sending in their bras.
“We had such a fantastic crop of exotic fresh Galia melons in our first year of growing them, I was struggling to stop them swinging too low and wondered how to suspend them,” explains farmer Rowie Meers. “My ‘Eureka’ moment came as I looked down – the answer was under my nose! We’ve been asking our customers to send in their old bras to help support our fruits as they grow – we appreciate their support in more ways than one!”
Rowie also thinks it’s important for local people to get involved in how their food is produced. “Many local businesses have been finding that more and more people are deserting them in favour of large out-of-town supermarkets. However, our customers tell us that in fact we’re much better value than even the big stores, plus they love knowing exactly where their food comes from – and getting involved themselves.”
Purton House seems to be a hub for female entrepreneurs: farmer Rowie took over the business when her husband Alex died of leukemia in 2006. “Alex was in charge of the growing side and I was more involved with making sure all the veg boxes went out on time,”says Rowie. “But in the last four years I have run the business with the help of Ros Holland, who has worked here for nine years. Ros is just about to set up her own community veg-growing business near Tetbury; and my sister Talia runs her catering business (Cotswold Cooks) from here, using our produce. My apprentice Kate is also just about to finish her two-year stint here, and will be going part-time as she sets up her veg new business near Bradford-on-Avon. There must be something in the water!”
Rowie is so confident about the taste, freshness and value of her produce, she is offering all new customers their first veg box free. “Buying a local veg box is a great way to support local people,” she says. “We are so committed to educating people about the benefits of healthy eating that we also regularly hold Open Days and free seminars, run by health and weight-loss coach Tim Beynon, where people can try out delicious raw veg and fruit for free. We just want everyone to join our local food revolution!”
The next free Healthy Food seminar will be on Thursday 16 September (7-9pm), introducing people to the benefits of raw food and how to ditch unhealthy habits; anyone interested is encouraged to book beforehand, online or by phone.
Purton House Organics is also holding an Open Day during Organic Fortnight (3-17 September), on Saturday 11 September, 11am-4pm: as well as a farm tour (and a chance to see the melons), there will be a mini farmers’ market, hot food, teas, coffees and cakes, animal adventures and of course a bouncy castle.
www.purtonhouseorganics.co.uk 01793 772287