About Vital Veg
We are an awarding-winning market garden, based at North Tillydaff Farm just outside Aberdeen. We provide sumptuous organic veg, delivered straight to your door. No need to buy a spade and venture into the garden, nor to head off on yet another of those tiresome shopping forays. Relax and put your feet up - we’ll do it all for you.
Ever have that Too Much To Do feeling? Ever need to “veg out” so you can rest and recharge your batteries… but still get those Vital meals that Jamie Oliver and the Dinner Lady recommend? That’s how we felt too. Determined to reclaim some quality time and to get some quality veg into the bargain before the onset of old age we started growing our own organic veg. Food that goes straight from plot to pot, or plot to plate, depending on our mood and the veg in question – can’t beat it!
Pretty soon we discovered that there are loads of other people out there who are in search of quality time and quality veg, but who don’t own a pair of wellies, or don’t rank pottering in the veg plot as quality time (takes all sorts!).
So, Vital Veg was born in May 2005, “manned” by two vegetable devotees, and Vanessa (the Vital Veg Van). Our chief aim – to provide mouth-watering organic veg to those who need it, but don’t have enough time (or wellies) to get it for themselves.
Actually, we’ve been into veg for years – Anne grew her first carrots in a window box when she was three (though she’s a bit coy when it comes to admitting how successful the crop was!). Wendy was a comparatively late starter, with a first crop (peas – still a great favourite) at five. We have to come clean and admit that there were a few veg-doldrum years after these first crops (when we packed our spotted handkerchiefs and set off to get a wider experience of the world working as plant scientists and marketeers) before our paths crossed and we started growing veg on a respectable scale. We have won a few awards along the way, including Wendy being runner up to Mary Mead (of Yeo Valley scrumptious yoghurts) in the BBC food and farming awards Farmer of the Year.
We grow organic because we prefer to eat our veg without additives, just as Mother Nature intended. The farm land used for growing veggies at North Tillydaff is certified as fully organic by the Soil Association. Who are the Soil Association?? They are the most well known UK organisation controlling standards for organic production, and have a list of stringent rules as long as both of your arms. You can find out more about them here.
Just to dispel a few myths and set the record straight – we don’t wear kilts on the farm, and have resisted the temptation to have a tartan outfit for our drivers. We do, however, love the bagpipes, the fiddle, and Scottish music and dance in general, and Anne is a much sought-after musician and ceilidh dance caller. Follow the links to hear a few tunes from her band, the all-girl Danse McCabre!
The original Vital Veg team of two is now supported by Assistant Grower Jason, and Chief Driver, Tom. Gordon, Allan and Duncan do a fantastic job on the tractor. Fiona and Chris are Chief Packing Angels, and Michael is our IT Hero. We also have additonal help from wonderful people each summer who help with weeding, and with the big potato harvest in the autumn.
Where are we?
The Vital Veg team are based at North Tillydaff, a small farm 16 miles west of Aberdeen in North East Scotland. Our 130 rolling acres nestle at the foot of the heather-clad Barmekin hill, where Lewis Grassic Gibbon was inspired to write Sunset Song - voted as Scotland’s favourite book, a (small) stone’s throw away from one of the many (big) stone circles, next door to a couple of stunning Scottish castles, and within sniffing distance of a few whisky distilleries. All in all a rather fine location – though the winters can be chilly! 130 acres is roughly equivalent to 100 football pitches, in case you were wondering (and on the off-chance that you know how big a football pitch is)…
Making a difference
We’ve been lucky in that we’ve always had good food. We are even more lucky now that we have enough space to grow tractor loads of scrumptious organic veg. We know that there are lots of people who don’t have good food, and don’t have a place of their own to grow veg – so we want to make a difference. We have set up a scheme with the Cyrenians (a charity for homeless people, ) so that our regular customers can choose to give their veg boxes away when they are on holiday. The veg in these “holiday” boxes is prepared and cooked by the Cyrenian chefs for the people who have no cooking facilities of their own. We've also discovered that The People's Operator will contribute 10% of our mobile phone running costs to our favourite charity, so we've requested Aberdeen Cyrenians as our nominated beneficiaries.
We are keen to help conserve vegetable diversity. Did you know that over 90% of vegetable varieties have been lost over the past 100 years? We are members of Henry Doubleday Research Association for organic growing (now called Garden Organic), and Vital Veg regularly "adopts" a range of heritage vegetable varieties kept by the HDRA to help preserve the gene pool. Wendy is a past Chairperson for the Scottish Organic Forum, working with the Scottish Government and many other stakeholders on developing an Action Plan for Organic food in Scotland, and was part of the Industry Leadership Group creating a new strategy for Scotland's Fruit, Veg and Potato sector. We are members of the Organic Growers Alliance (Wendy was their Research Leader for many years), the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the National Trust for Scotland.
That’s us… If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, drop us a line or give us a call - we love to hear from you!
Tel. 01330 833 823