Autumn is upon us and the harvests are underway: delicious organic Herefordshire apples for cider & perry-making, seasonal vegetables such as pumpkins, cabbages & beets and the delicious array of mouth-watering berries used in home baking (think blackberry crumble or raspberry jam). You only have to visit the Ross-on-Wye markets to find plenty of local produce on offer, including organic fruit, veg, preserves, relishes and pickles made by local producers.
Every September, Organic Food Month is a time where organic produce is pushed to the top of the agenda and organisations like the Soil Association and Go Organic campaign to promote the health benefits or adopting a more organic lifestyle. According to the Soil Association, if the whole of Europe switched to an organic or agroecological food and farming system, we would see a 40 % drop in emissions and half of this drop would result from a cut in the use of fossil fuel-based nitrogen fertiliser.
So – what is organic apart from being perceived as a healthier way of living and eating? It’s a system of more ethical and environmentally friendly food production or farming that gives consumers higher quality food – benefitting the planet and animal welfare right across the board. And with climate change, diet related ill-health and widespread decline in wildlife, the need to change our food systems has never been greater – a transition towards ‘agroecological’ farming systems, like organic, can make a world of difference.
In Ross-on-Wye, you won’t have far to look to find organic produce, from local retailers to weekly markets, there’s plenty on offer for you to enjoy if you’re choosing this healthier lifestyle.
Field Fayre ~ The Organic Store
Field Fayre – The Organic Store on Broad Street in the town centre, owned by mother and son partnership Pam and Luke, stocks everything you could possibly need for your healthy lifestyle. From fresh fruit, veg, meat, eggs and dairy products to organic tea, coffee, chocolate, cereals, wine, beer and breads. They also have a huge range of gluten-free and dairy-free items as well as cruelty-free natural toiletries. There are lots of unusual and award-winning products to try – how about Equinox Organic Kombucha drink or award winning Peter Cooks Bread, baked in the Malvern Hills? Pop in and discover something new to add to your organic shop.
Visit: Field Fayre Organic Store, 18-19 Broad Street, Ross-on-Wye HR9 7EA
Hank’s Meat & Game
Hanks’ Meat and Game is a family-run, award-winning butchers (Best Game Butcher 2021, 2022 & 2023) in the centre of Ross-on-Wye, supplying the finest, fully-traceable local meat and game to both retail and trade both in-store and online. They pride themselves on offering the highest quality produce and Tim, master butcher, can advise on the provenance of anything they supply. Try local wild boar for the ultimate autumn stew, sourced locally, fully organic and absolutely delicious. Hank’s also supply organic local jams, chutneys, eggs and other delicatessen items.
Visit: Hank’s Meat & Game, Broad Street, Ross-on-Wye HR9 7DY
Tucked away in The Maltings (next to Sainsbury’s), Grape Tree is your one-stop shop for healthy foods and snacks including fruit, nuts, seeds, pulses, beans, lentils, grains and more. They also sell their own 100% organic range of free-from, raw and vegan products as well as beauty ranges, minerals, vitamins and supplements. Try their organic drinks including Pukka teas, Beet It Organic Beetroot Juice with Ginger or Biona Organic Cranberry Juice to kickstart your day.
Visit: Grape Tree, The Maltings, Broad Street, Ross-on-Wye HR9 7YB
Located on an old-fashioned farm in Welsh Bicknor around 5 miles south of Ross-on-Wye, Wye Organic has been operating as an organic farm for over 20 years, combining a traditional market garden producing vegetables and flowers, with extensive pasture for rearing beef, lamb and wild venison. Pedigree Hereford cattle and sheep graze contentedly in their ancient pastures alongside fields of vibrant wild flowers which attract scores of birds and wildlife. Their weekly meat and veg boxes, as well as hand cut flowers, delivered locally, ensure a fully sustainable operation, fresher food, reduction in food miles with fewer preservatives and less packaging. Check out their events page here for workshop and wreath making courses.
Visit them online here: Wye Organic
Model Farm Shop
Model Farm Shop, a few minutes’ drive from the town centre, has a fantastic range of local, organic produce including vegetables grown onsite and pasture-fed organic beef and lamb plus free-range pork and locally farmed chicken. Selling only seasonal organic veg, expect to see a huge array of multi-coloured produce – including yellow, green and speckled courgettes, rainbow chard, golden beetroots, cavolo rainbow kale, purple French beans, yellow onions and much more (visit the shop or check online for the latest availability). There is also a fantastic range of preserves, jams, chutneys plus award-winning organic dairy products from the wonderful Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm Milk located in Hardwicke, Gloucestershire. Try their organic kefir, cultured buttermilk, cream, yoghurt and regular organic milk. Open from Tuesday to Friday, 0800-1700.
Order online or visit: Model Farm Shop, Hildersley, Ross-on-Wye HR9 7NN
Read our other blog on Wye Valley producers here.