I look forward to my weekly organic veg box delivery from Riverford as much for boss Guy Watson’s notes as for his tasty veg. His latest note illustrates the honest, open tone that – no matter how hard some other brands try – you just can’t fake.

In the note above, Guy’s open about his struggle to find the right ownership model for his business, and in his dislike of the route rival Abel & Cole has taken. In my experience, this is pretty typical of Guy’s notes.

In the past, he’s written as much about Riverford’s failures as about its successes. And that’s helped customers understand just how difficult it is to get a business like this right when you’re at the mercy of the weather as well as the market.

In notes like this one, Guy opens out the conversation about organic food. It’s not just about taste, chemicals, or the environment. It’s about how we do business and how we want to live. As we explored a while ago in our post on the language of organic food marketing, talking about these things is what makes small producers stand out from the supermarkets.

You could argue, of course, that Guy’s approach is simply a fiendishly clever marketing ploy. It is fiendishly clever but that’s because it isn’t a ploy, it’s just the truth.

And people seem to like the truth almost as much as they like great food.

From notebook

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