About The Vale Grocer

About us

who are We?

Our Story

On moving to a village just outside Denbigh in 2016 we were left a veg box in our new home as a moving-in present. Little did we know what a part this box would come to play in our future! ​

We signed up for a weekly box and soon realised how getting a vegetable box delivered revolutionised our approach to cooking. We became completely reliant on this surprise box of seasonal vegetables appearing each week on our doorstep, covered in mud and often containing veg we didn’t know quite what to do with.

​Instead of going to the shops to buy veg for a meal we wanted to cook, we were forced to become more creative and use what we had. [And now we hear this kind of thing time and time again from our customers  – ‘Having your box has changed the way I eat and I have discovered some great new recipes.’]

In 2018 the opportunity arose for us to take on the business ourselves, and we knew we just had to do it even though we had very little previous experience in growing or selling vegetables. We couldn’t imagine going back to life without our box and figured that other customers would feel the same.

​The business also tied in with our personal values around reducing packaging and food miles, doing something in the local community and having a work/life balance that we could dictate for ourselves. Growing/selling vegetables grown without chemicals just fits the bigger picture of trying to reduce the negative impact we have on the world. More on this here.

​Pre-Denbigh, we lived for 10 years in Sydney, Australia (by the beach in Manly). For a part of that time, as well as starting and running a dinghy sailing school (that’s a story for another day) Chris volunteered at a local food co-op which started him – and ultimately, us – on the journey of thinking more about what food we bought and how it was grown and packaged. This in turn led us to permaculture and no dig growing. There are plenty of thoughts and musings during the Tea break.

​We grow on about 1/2 acre of rented land in Prion, where we have 2 polytunnels and a greenhouse (it’s a 5-minute walking ‘commute’ for us). We use a 2-wheel walking tractor and grow using no-dig methods. We supplement what we grow with organic vegetables bought from our brilliant wholesalers, Organic North.  We place our order and the individual farms then pick according to our order which eliminates wastage and means we can sell the best and freshest produce available. We pack the boxes in the shop in Denbigh and then open the door on a Friday morning to sell the veg we have left after the boxes have gone out.

​Mentors – Charles Dowding and JM Fortier.

​Other team members – the lovely Rosie helps us in the field and does a fab job in all weather. We couldn’t do without her! We’ve also got a couple of extra pairs of hands helping us for an hour or so a week during the summer – you know who you are and you’re much appreciated! 

If you’re thinking of doing something similar or are just interested to hear more about how we started, please get in touch. We’re very happy to share our knowledge and experience with others and we’d love to see other businesses like ours doing well and helping people stay out of the supermarkets.