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Unicorn News

Veg news 27th September 2016

Spinach is in good supply for the next few weeks. We’ll have a mixture of ‘true’ (regular) spinach and spinach beet, which has an earthier flavour. It’s all coming from Lancashire/Cheshire growers, including Glebelands in Stockport.

Some of our growers are reporting a good year for Conference pears. At the moment they require a bit of home ripening in the fruit bowl, but they are worth the wait in terms of flavour and texture. They also make a lovely flavour combination with bitter salad leaves such as chicory and radicchio.

Cavolo nero (also called black or Tuscan kale) offers good value in bags from Strawberry Fields (Lincolnshire) or loose from Lucy Mason (Herefordshire). The same can be said for purple sweet potatoes from Spain. They are a starchier and denser cousin of the more familiar orange sweet potato and are quicker to cook according to some of our members of staff.

The arrival of Satsumas has kicked off the citrus season - also a sign that autumn is really here! Italian green satsumas are a real sweet juicy treat; don’t be fooled by the green skin. Satsumas have a short season that tends to peter out later in October when clementines make their debut.

Last Modified - 27th September 2016

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Veg News 26th September 2016

There is new addition to our squash display this week: Galeux d’Eysines squash from Glebelands’ Sales site. It is a French heirloom variety with a unique appearance. Its skin is covered with peanut-shell-like warts caused by sugar leeching from the flesh while maturing! The arrival of butternuts from Carey in Herefordshire will be the final piece in a burgeoning UK squash jigsaw!
Sweetcorn should be available into October this year, with September sunshine providing a late boost for Strawberry Fields in Lincolnshire, plus a smattering of northwest cobs from around Ormskirk.
UK cherry tomatoes are getting closer to the end of the season, with numbers dwindling. Make the most of those from Libby Flintoff near Preston, and Glebelands-Stockport in the next week or two, still tasting great.
Kale is abundant from several different growers, with more varieties coming up in the next few months. Cavolo nero is looking very good as well, from both Lucy Masson (Herefordshire) and Strawberry Fields.
From further afield, more Autumnal fruits are becoming available, like persimmon or cherimoya (or custard apples). Mangoes from Spain continue to impress and are good value. And of course, there’s an ever growing range of English apples!

Last Modified - 26th September 2016

Meet the Producers

Meet the Producers. Monday 3rd October 7-9.30pm, here at Unicorn Grocery.

Join us at the shop for a special evening of good food, drink and chat with some of our favourite local, organic and co-operative suppliers.

You're invited to meet some of the farmers, bakers, brewers and other producers who put food on your plate. From Eswatini Kitchen's FairTrade Swaziland pickles to Glebelands City Growers market garden just down the road in Sale, a varied selection of Unicorn’s suppliers will be bringing samples and stories to the shop.

Plus, as Unicorn undergoes the accreditation process, hear how the Fair Tax Mark is providing a label for good taxpayers; companies and organisations that are proud they pay their fair share of tax.

Ale for sale from Todmorden's Little Valley Brewery plus free soup and bread at the deli.

Tickets only in advance, £3. Available in the shop now or from the link below. Hope you can make it!

Book here

Last Modified - 19th September 2016

Grow a Grocery visit, Tuesday 8th November

Want to grow a grocery co-operative?

Come along to a free study day this November! As a workers' co-operative, we are keen to do what we can to support the establishment and growth of like-minded co-ops and social enterprises, who seek to provide affordable, wholesome, well-sourced food to their local communities.

Whether you’re looking to start-up, scale up, or simply spend time with a like-minded business, come and join us for a day covering all the key aspects of how we operate.

The study visit will include a tour of the shop and site plus meetings with co-op members involved in buying, HR, marketing and co-op structure.

Tuesday 8th November, 10 - 3, at Unicorn Grocery, 89 Albany Road, M21 0BN.

Email Leah@unicorn-grocery.coop for details and to book.

Last Modified - 19th September 2016

Visiting our Stockport tomatoes!

We loved seeing where our Stockport tomatoes are coming from yesterday on a visit to Glebelands Growers' new site at Woodbank Park.

Long celebrated by their customers as a model for sustainable urban food production, Glebelands have almost doubled in size in the last year, adding the new site to their existing one by the River Mersey in Sale. Their successful evolution is thanks to a highly skilled and incredibly dedicated team of co-op members who not only not how to grow amazing veg, but also know how to grow a sustainable business.

We’ve been really proud to help support their strategic vision by linking the co-op to a loyal and engaged customer base (YOU!!!), and providing some investment to help turn their vision into a reality. The ventilation system we helped purchase at Woodbank means they can benefit from the advantages of undercover growing without having to be there all the time to manually control the temperature. This is turn means they can split their time between two sites and produce lots more local organic veg!

Winter is when we'll particularly notice the difference in terms of our veg range - we'll have UK salad leaves all year round without the gap from December to Febuary that we usually experience.

It was fascinating to hear more about the growing techniques they employ and the commercial realities of being small scale organic growers. We also explored the point at which local veg that needs a lot of fuel to produce (in heated polytunnels – they don’t use these) becomes less climate-friendly than veg that is transported further but with fewer inputs. We also got to meet the The Kindling Trust's FarmStart co-ordinator who told us about training up new organic growers at the site.

The partnership between the council, Kindling, Glebelands and community growing groups has brought life back into a party derelict ex-plant nursery site, it's now a thriving 'hub' for urban agriculture in Stockport.

Look out for Stockport tomatoes in the shop for the next few weeks - get them while you can!

Last Modified - 9th September 2016

Grow a Grocery

We think there’s room for a Unicorn-type store in every city, and perhaps more besides. We have no plans to expand outside the one shop, so we’ve put together a guide intended to help facilitate the emergence of new stores run on similar lines.

Starting a new business is a daunting process. The guide is based on the model Unicorn has tried & tested since 1996, and walks potential grocers through all areas of the business, in the hope that it will make starting a new shop an easier process and help existing shops improve and/or expand.


Read the guide here

Last Modified - 10th October 2013

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