SG Danby & Sons and Abel & Cole

SG Danby & Sons and Abel & Cole

Winner of the fruit and vegetable category for their Chioggia Beetroot.

Company profile

Chioggia Beetroot from Abel & ColeAbel & Cole is an organic box scheme that’s been around for over 20 years. Keith Abel started delivering potatoes door to door in 1988, then, with help from a couple of organic farmers, branched out into a vegetable box scheme in the early 1990s.

Abel & Cole build close, trusting relationships with farmers and food makers. We help customers enjoy and understand sustainable, seasonal eating.

We minimise food waste and unnecessary packaging (boxes not bags since 1988), and promote biodiversity and animal welfare alongside Fairtrade and organic farming.

Customers can exclude things they don’t want from their box and we deliver a wide range of quality organic groceries to around 30,000 homes across England every week.

Can you give a short background to the winning product?

Last year we asked John Danby, who grows lots of veg for us throughout the seasons, to try some Golden and Chioggia Beetroot, as we thought our customers would like a bit of variety from the traditional pink stuff. John was game and planted both Golden and Chioggia. John is an excellent grower, so he’s all modesty when he told us: “This is the first year we’ve grown Chioggia so I suppose it’s beginner’s luck!”

What does organic mean to you?

Organic means many things to us as it’s a holistic approach to food and farming. Animal welfare, biodiversity, food free from chemical residues, sustainable farming methods; we strongly support the environmental, ethical and social fundamentals of organics that have guided our business for the last two decades.

When Keith started delivering spuds door to door in the '80s, one of the farmers (that we still work with to this day) opened Keith’s eyes to the amount of chemical sprays that are used on conventional crops. From then Keith offered his customers the choice - and, understandably, everyone chose the chemical free option. Organic just made sense, for many reasons.

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