Derbyshire farm shop and café Croots puts the environment in the spotlight for 2020

Derbyshire farm shop and café Croots puts the environment in the spotlight for 2020

Popular Derbyshire farm shop and café Croots is pledging to make 2020 its most environmentally friendly year ever following a top-to-bottom review of its activities.

From asking customers to bring their own containers for fresh produce and reducing use of cling-film as far as possible to cutting out plastic water bottles and straws completely, the family-owned farm shop says everyone has a part to play in reducing the impact we have on the planet.

Steve Croot, who runs the farm shop and café at Farnah House Farm, Wirksworth Road, near Duffield, with wife Kay, said: “It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the environmental challenges that we face – but we have to do what we can.

“If all of us began to focus on the little things that we are able to change in our daily lives, it will soon start to add up. Here at Croots, over the past few months we’ve been taking a very close look at measures to make the business more environmentally friendly and ways that we can encourage our customers to reduce their impact too. We’ve spent a lot of time taking advice from experts and investigating alternative packaging so that we can make environmentally positive changes without compromising on the high standards that we set ourselves and the services and products that we offer.”

Having stopped giving out plastic bags for free in 2009 – years before the government introduced the so-called plastic bag tax in 2015 – and as a long-time advocate of reducing food miles by committing to local produce, Kay and Steve have been busy introducing further measures across the shop and its popular café.

They include:

  • Continuing to commit to local producers with the highest welfare standards for much of their meat and poultry
  • Recognising the growing demand for meat-free products by developing a range of their own vegan sausages, burgers and sausage rolls. They also have a vegan Christmas pudding infused with brandy and rum
  • Urging customers to bring their own reusable containers for meat and cheeses
  • Banning plastic carrier bags completely from this January, switching to brown paper carrier bags and hessian bags for a small charge
  • Wrapping deli products in greaseproof paper, rather than plastic
  • No longer stocking plastic water bottles and switching to paper straws – which has already prevented around 1,000 individual plastic straws from becoming waste since the beginning of 2019
  • Replacing clingfilm in the café and production kitchen with reusable containers
  • Switching trays used by the shop’s butchery team to a more recyclable type to reduce landfill. The thriving local meat counter gets through around 700 of these trays each week.
  • Removing plastic from much of the shop’s fruit and vegetables, with just some remaining to extend shelf-life and prevent waste.

“When we launched in 2008, Croots Farm Shop had a commitment to source as much as possible locally,” said Steve.

“We still have that commitment today and 50 of our suppliers are within 50 miles of the shop - supplying a wide range of produce from bread, milk, pickles, ice creams, cheeses, wines, beers, cakes, puddings and much more. We have turkeys from Staffordshire, our beef is from Hazelwood Hall Farm, our pork and free-range chickens are from Packington Pork at Barton-under-Needwood, and our lamb is reared on our farm. This all helps to reduce food miles and contributes to a more sustainable local economy.

“We’re continuing this commitment to local meat producers. However, we also realise there’s a growing interest in plant-based products and we have introduced an exciting new range of vegan options to cater for customers who are looking for meat-free and dairy-free options.

“The vegan range we produce ourselves in-house includes a vegan sausage roll, Lincolnshire and tomato vegan sausages, three vegan burgers - pinto bean & sweet potato, red pepper & smokey squash, smoked paprika, chickpea & sweetcorn - along with a vegan Christmas pudding.

“I am really proud of the way staff have embraced our efforts to put the environment at the centre of all aspects of the business and I hope our customers will join us by doing what they can for 2020. Green issues are very much on the agenda locally, so we hope we are making it easier for local residents to do their bit, reduce their plastic use and generally become more environmentally friendly.”

Croots Farm Shop has won numerous awards for its products, and Steve Croot was named Derbyshire Local Food Hero 2014 at the Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards. In the 2016 Derbyshire Life Food and Drink Awards, Croots won the accolade of Outstanding Ambassador for Local Produce in Derbyshire, while in 2017, Croots won the People’s Choice in the Midlands Award in the Family United Business Awards.

Croots Farm Shop is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm (Shires Eatery until 4.30pm) and from 10am to 4pm on Sundays. Croots runs Fresh Fish Thursdays between 9am and 1pm on Thursdays.

For more information, visit Find Croots on Twitter @crootsfarm_shop or on Facebook

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