North Aston Organics
North Aston Organics, based in North Aston, 16 miles from Oxford, is one of our main three suppliers of our fruits, veggies and salads. They are an organic market garden producer and, amongst many other things, make the best mix leaf salad on Oxfordshire.
North Aston Organics began in 1997 when we (Mark and Ginny Stay) moved to the village, slap bang in the middle of 900 acres of organic farmland, with a two-year-old, another baby imminent and a Big Idea.
We come from families of farmers and gardeners, and Mark was bitten by the vegetable bug when we were living in Sussex with an allotment. The obsession grew, we moved to Suffolk so that Mark could go to agricultural college and learn all about organic crop production – then followed several years of rewarding work in a horticultural therapy project, but still yearning to have our own smallholding. We spent holidays traipsing about the wilder shores of western Ireland, Wales and anywhere with land we might be able to afford, until we met Jeremy Taylor, the landowner here in North Aston, who has a largish amount of land, a welcoming disposition and a conviction that organic farming is the only sane way.
So, here we are, renting a house in the village and 12 acres of farmland, complete with wonderful views of the Cherwell valley. We grow on three sites, with different soil types and aspects so we can produce as wide a range as possible, from Aubergines to Zucchini (sorry, courgettes, but what else begins with ‘z’?)
We have a great team working alongside us, seven people both full- and part-time. We belong to the Soil Association apprenticeship scheme, so are fortunate to have enthusiastic young aspiring growers to keep us on our toes – Mark is one of the growers teaching seminars for the scheme.
We’ve learned a lot over the years, acquired a fair few lines and grey hairs (and a third child ) but still have the same drive to grow delicious, healthy vegetables, and sell them locally.
Find out more about them from their website.