Unicorn has what is probably the North West's largest choice of organic fruit and veg. We focus on regionally produced, seasonal fruit and vegetables and we are always careful which growers we buy from. Over the years we have built strong
relationships with both UK farmers and European producer groups, so we can sell good quality, fairly-priced organic produce. We only sell organic and 'in conversion' fruit and vegetables and typically offer around 70 lines on any day. As we don't sell conventional (non-organic) produce we don't have to prepack to distinguish at the till, this means you avoid the extra 15-20% price penalty added at the multiples. Another benefit of loose fruit and veg is that you can choose which selection you want and really see and smell what you’re getting, while avoiding having to deal with piles of packaging at home.
Click image for the full version of Sallets Lost and Found
We are keen to support our growers, who are typically at the bottom of the chain in the food system. We try and balance affordable prices for customers with a good return for the growers, a very difficult thing to achieve given the market realities of UK horticulture. Cheap overseas labour, low fuel-mile costs and low grocery expenditure in the UK have all combined to muddle our shopping perceptions. In real terms, fresh fruit and veg has never been cheaper. Farmers (including ours) are surviving on very low wages because prices we have all come to expect don’t meet true costs of production, and trading systems generally favour the buyers rather than the growers. Although we can’t change the market overnight, we have long supported our growers in other ways, helping them out when times are hard, and always dealing with them in an honest and human way. They tell us they much prefer dealing with us to the supermarkets.
We also own our own bit of farm land, just outside Manchester, 14 miles by road from the shop. This is farmed by Moss Brook Growers, a three-strong workers co-operative who supply directly to Unicorn, and to catering outlets through a buyers and growers co-operative called Manchester Veg People.
Our direct buying approach will still make our certified produce at times cheaper than non-organic supermarket produce (particularly UK field crops but rarely fruit). The organic range at supermarkets has yet to compete with us on price, availability, range and quality.
Below we list some of the local and seasonal vegetables
Lettuce Spring green Parsley Salad leaves Sorrel
Mint Spring onion Rhubarb Chard Pak choi
Recognising the unacceptable and avoidable carbon impact of air-freighting food, we do not transport ANY of our fruit and veg by air. Unlike the supermarket model, which involves large numbers of motorway miles between farms, depots, packaging sites and stores, we receive produce direct from the farmers, or in the case of some overseas produce, via just one distribution centre. Direct relationships help us to maintain both freshness and human contact.