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Riverford is an organic farm and dairy based in Buckfastleigh in Devon, England, but with sister farms in four locations around the country.
Riverford farm was taken over by the Watson family in the 1950s and followed the normal history for UK farms until the mid 1980s, when Guy Watson decided to convert to organic farming. By the late 1980s this had been achieved. Guy aimed to find an effective way of distributing his produce. His idea was the weekly veg box scheme, which is delivered direct to customers' doors with locally grown produce.
Having five farms around the country permits economies of scale that approach those of supermarkets, whilst reducing the delivery time from field to kitchen and ensuring fresh food. Riverford also choose varieties for flavour rather than appearance and deliver earthy vegetables which again improves storage and taste. Another benefit of the lack of choice is that customers work with the rhythm of the seasons in their cooking and discover new vegetables that they have never tried before.
Starting from a weekly delivery of around 30 boxes to family and friends, by early 2010 Riverford were delivering to around 45,500 boxes per week and sending its