Nature's Choice

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Nature's Choice's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Nature's Choice is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett, MP
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles, MP

Commercial Director
Vernon Mascarenhas
Selecting the ripest avocado
Nature’s Choice is a well-established wholesale distributor
of fresh produce, with firm roots in New Covent Garden
Market. Through the use of innovative growing plans
and harvesting programmes, they aim to deliver produce which
has been harvested within 24 hours to ensure chefs have the
freshest ingredients possible. Commercial Director, Vernon
Mascarenhas, discusses the need to embrace urban farming and
change consumer attitudes to ensure the best possible result for
consumers and the wider environment.
Since 1997, our family-owned and run business has been supplying some of
London’s most prestigious events, restaurants, bars, hotels and nightclubs. We
also supply chilled, prepped and frozen produce and sundries such as specialist
oils and dried goods, exotics and dairy. Consolidating orders such as dairy
and fresh produce means our customers can save time as well as reduce their
We are committed to sourcing the finest produce available, which has been grown
using the most sustainable methods. We pride ourselves on working closely with
our growers and farmers, helping them devise growing plans and operating in the
most environmentally friendly ways possible. As well as working closely with our
growers, we reflect this by working alongside our customers too so that their needs
are met every step of the way.
»Commercial Director:
»Established in 1997
»Based in London
»Services: Wholesale
distribution of fresh produce
»No. of employees: 70
Natures Choice
Highlighting best practice
Driving efficiency and
environmental awareness
We are always striving to make our
production and sourcing as efficient
and as environmentally friendly as
possible. The key to this is trying to
maximise the yield of food that is
produced per square foot every year.
To achieve this, we must consider
good husbandry, efficient use of
natural resources and limited use of
environmentally damaging chemicals.
Efforts that have been made in order
to make this happen include capturing
rainwater and directing it to reservoirs
and ponds on our farms, ensuring that
all natural run-offs are maintained. This
also allows growers to invest in trickle
irrigation instead of overhead boom
bar irrigation methods.
We have also moved away from
trading produce as if it were
a commodity. Instead, we use
technology to increase yields rather
than relying on genetically modified
seeds. In order to account for seasonal
differences, and the undeniable
change in growing seasons that has
been caused by global warming, we
have introduced a more accountable
pricing policy, and will be instigating
fixed prices for each season soon.
Additionally, we sow and harvest in
sequential periods to ensure a constant
flow of produce, with the aim of
eliminating the occurrences of spikes
and troughs.
We are aiming to improve distribution.
A key part of this is educating the
consumer: educating them to eat
more seasonal and local produce and
to engage with the farmers to ensure
they grow what is required rather
than subsidised crops. To achieve this,
we work with farmers to consolidate
distribution and draw up harvesting
plans which involve the end user. The
use of local and seasonal produce,
both by farmers and end users, cuts
down on the need to freight produce
to the consumer. We are also looking
to embrace urban farming, searching
for ways to bring farms closer to
Only the best artichokes
We must
consider good
efficient use of
natural resources
and limited use
the population through the use of
technology and vertical farming. By
using disused urban sites, we can
establish more modern and efficient
urban farms.
To aid our aim of educating the end
consumer, we constantly use all
forms of communication available to
ensure they know which produce is in
season. We also explain the benefits
of certain produce over others. For
instance, purple sprouting broccoli,
unlike calabrese, keeps reproducing
shoots when harvested properly.
This increases the amount of food
produced per square foot, which is
one of our key aims. Partially because
of the dominant attitude among
consumers about non-perfect produce,
20 per cent of all crops that are sown
are deemed surplus to requirement.
We are working with Waste Knot
to demonstrate why “imperfect”
produce is just as valuable as its so-
called “perfect” counterpart. With
this in mind, we are aiming to harvest
the entirety of the sown crop, with
certain consumers classifying this
additional produce as “rescued veg”.
In order to make food production
more sustainable overall, we are also
encouraging consumers to switch to a
more plant-based diet.
Continuing these efforts into
the future
As we look into the future, we must
keep pressing these vital issues.
Urban farming must be encouraged
and we now have the technology to
grow salads, herbs and vegetables in
the centre of urban conurbations. In
order to grow in this environment,
hydroponics, light frequency and
climate control technology are used. As
the use of robotics has increased, we
can now weed fields 24 hours a day
and deliver nutrients and water plants
when required. This has eliminated
the spraying of weed killer and also
served to cut the cost of plant feed as
it can now be delivered to the most
beneficial part of the plant.
Beyond improving production
techniques, we must also focus on
discouraging end users from relying
on produce that has been flown
in from distant parts of the world.
We must show the damage done
to South American rainforests by
growing asparagus and blueberries
This awareness must also spread
to supermarkets. Consumers must
change their attitude to products that
are past their best-before date and
what is acceptable in appearance on
the shelf. Supermarkets and food
producers need to be accountable for
the percentage of farm gate product
that is used and how much is wasted.
This should become a compulsory
published statistic.
By continuing to focus on these key
areas, and driving progress forward,
we will be able to change the way
food is produced and distributed, to
the benefit of both the end consumer
and the wider environment.
We are
working with
Waste Knot to
produce is just
as valuable as
its so-called
Checking which
varieties of strawberry to

This article was sponsored by Nature's Choice. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster