Riverford

riverford

David & Shelagh Savage - Landscove

Broad beans “All we do is veg – that’s it, organic veg,” says David Savage who farms 100 acres of organic vegetables near Riverford in south Devon with his wife Shelagh.

The farm includes 45 acres for Riverford, where they grow potatoes, radishes, broad beans, sugar snap peas, leeks, cabbage, turnips and more.

They’ve been organic since 1999 and although it’s been a “steep learning curve”, they’ve never looked back and grown from small beginnings to becoming a key supplier of the Riverford boxes.

“The fact our land is right by Riverford Wash Barn also helps,” says David. “We can muck in with what they need and grow the more fragile, perishable summery things for the boxes. That helps with cash-flow.”

David is positive about the future and believes the organic movement is growing in strength every year.

“As time’s gone on the South Devon Organic Producers Co-op has got more and more professional. We’ve gained more expertise and got better at what we do, as well as getting better machinery.”

Although farming organically means you are slightly more at the mercy of the environment than under the conventional system, David says it’s worth the risk, because of the better prices and the knowledge that you’re working as part of a more environmentally sustainable system.

"You might lose 10 per cent because of bad weather, But you just have to learn to adapt what you’re doing. We’re still learning, every day, all the time. But it’s worth it."