THE Island’s largest vegetable producer has made its final deliveries, ending a 135-year family farming tradition.
Woodside Farms has produced 80% of Jersey’s fresh vegetables for seven years, since Amal-Gro ceased operations in 2015, and was the main supplier of local produce to Waitrose and the Co-op, among others.
Owner Charlie Gallichan, a fifth-generation farmer, previously cited spiralling operational costs as the reason behind the decision to stop. He confirmed yesterday that deliveries had now ended but declined to comment further.
Jersey Farmers’ Union president Peter Le Maistre said Islanders would feel the loss. ‘Obviously, it reduces food security because we lost our biggest vegetable producer,’ he said. ‘There are others but they don’t have as wide a range or supply of veg.’
The Island will now be largely dependent on UK produce, he added, and may see shortages of fresh vegetables, particularly in the winter months. ‘Consumers will certainly miss the fact that it was Jersey produce in the winter months,’ he said. ‘Being an Island, you get days when the boat can’t go because of weather. When we are relying on imports, there will be points when foods are not available.’
Mr Le Maistre said the smaller, remaining producers would try to find ways to fill the gaps.
The news was met with ‘sadness’ by the Co-op, but the group also assured Islanders they would not see a difference on the shelves. ‘It is with great sadness that Woodside Farms has taken the decision to cease production,’ said chief retail officer Mark Crean.
‘The Channel Islands Co-operative Society has had a long and proud relationship with Woodside and we continue to support local trade wherever possible.
‘We’d like to reassure our members and customers that they will not notice any change to supply as a result of Woodside’s closure and our Society will continue to strive to secure the best offers in terms of range, value and quality for our members.’