New Melbourne based social wholesale food business; Spade & Barrow have developed a holistic approach to their operations by advocating a direct plough approach which ensures that farmers are able to harvest their entire crop – irrespective of size and shape.
Spade & Barrow pride themselves on celebrating the fact that fresh, natural produce can be either be wonky or straight, large or small, and chefs around the state are embracing the company's commitment to Nature’s Grade produce.
“At Spade & Barrow we view food as nature intended – it may be aesthetically imperfect – but after all not every carrot can be a supermodel!” said Spade & Barrow creator Katy Barfield.
Barfield says that the company purchases 80 percent of its fruit and vegetables directly from Australian farms.
“Our customers love our Nature’s Grade produce. It’s fresh, seasonal, locally grown and arrives on their doorstep, direct from farms, at a fraction of the regular cost.
“Our farmers are getting a fair price for their whole crop so we are helping them to stay on their land and reduce unnecessary waste,” she said.
Head chef of St Ali and owner of Duchess of Spotswood, Andy Gale, said that Spade & Barrows’ business model is ‘massively important for the future of the industry.’
“Chefs are always after the best quality produce. When prices go up we struggle because we can’t just increase our prices. It is far better to get produce directly from the farm and understand where it comes from and chefs really want that information,” said Gale.
“Farmers get the recognition and money they deserve and we get amazing quality asparagus at a third of the price,” he said.
Proud Mary’s head chef, Chris Hamburger agrees with Gale by stating that; “Chefs are now at the forefront of food production and they have to get behind this initiative.”
“Having an edge as far as sustainability is concerned, as well as a great connection to the farmer through Spade & Barrow, gives us a sense of what is really happening in the farming community," said Hamburger.
“The range is always seasonal and that is exactly how it should be and how we should be cooking, when produce it at its best, most available and cheapest. We have to learn to value what fresh produce should really be like and that means it comes in all shapes and size.”