David Leech digs out and roots up this latest hidden gem!
Part 9 – All Seasons
Did you know the modern use of the term “veg out” originates from the 1990 film, Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts says: “Let’s watch old movies all night… we’ll just veg out in front of the TV.”?
However, at one time if you were to “veg-out” you were more likely to run a marathon than sit in front of a TV like a couch potato! Why? Because the original meaning of the word “vegetable,” was derived from the Latin “vegetus,” meaning whole, vigorous, active.
The original meaning of this word well describes Hayley Upton owner/manager of All Seasons on Stone High Street who is clearly dedicated and hard working in meeting the needs of her customers.
After taking over the business from her father she clearly recalled his advice, “Be prepared for a long hard slog!” he said, “Put your heart and soul into it and do whatever it takes to ensure its success.”
Take a walk up through Stone High Street any day of the week, (and during the summer the shop was open on Sundays as well,) you’ll always come across a feast of colour with all the plants, fresh cut flowers and fresh produce on offer and on Farmer’s Market days especially, there’s very seldom any time for Haley and the staff to stop even for a short coffee break, but as she says, “we just keep going.”
Previously, Hayley worked for the Staffordshire Ambulance Service for six years but, “after running the shop for several years, I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to office work.”
Haley, Alex and Sue, go out of their way to provide a constant and excellent personal service for all their customers. For example, they are more than happy to assist with carrying produce to the car park, since it is some distance away from the centre of town, “Its hard work,” she says, “but it’s worth it. You get to meet lots of lovely people too.”
Everything on offer is freshly brought in from Birmingham which requires a 1am start for partner Mike Cashmore to ensure all their stock is ready and available each morning from 8am. “I keep a close eye on prices and quality,” explained Haley, “I check local supermarket prices regularly since people are more aware these days when it comes to value for money and quality especially, in fact very often I find our prices are almost half what you find elsewhere locally.”
In recent years Haley has built up a very popular service with her seasonal fruit and veg box delivery service. “H’s Veg Boxes” are made up to individual customer order and home delivered each week, usually on Fridays from 5pm to about 7pm. The “veg, salad and fruit boxes” are priced in the £10-£20 region and they also deliver wholesale to other local businesses including Stone baked and the Thai restaurant as well as a number of care homes in the area.
There is something for every season of course and Haley’s Xmas festive boxes are also in demand each year. “I’ve come to know our regular customers very well,” she explained, “Each festive box is unique since one person may not like ‘this or that’ and over time I’ve come to know what people’s preferences are.” Where else can you get such a great personal service?
Yes, it’s hard work but it’s clearly paying off as more and more people are beginning to realise the value of shopping locally and just like the seasons of the year, All Seasons have built up a reputation for offering a good service that is reliable and consistent throughout the year.
As for the future, Haley is always looking to improve the range and variety of produce on offer and intends to continue to develop and expand her seasonal Fruit and Veg Box delivery service too.
So next time you decide to do your fruit and vegetable shopping – remember “vegetus” – get out of the car and “vigorously and actively” take a walk into the High Street and discover this not so ‘hidden gem’ for yourself, that is if you haven’t done so already.
Finally if you didn’t know, here are a few interesting facts about fruits and vegetables:
- Tomatoes are a fruit not a vegetable. Tomatoes are the most popular fruits in the world;
- A strawberry is not an actual berry, but a banana is;
- Banana is not a fruit it is an herb and …..
- Eating an apple is a more reliable method of staying awake than consuming a cup of coffee. The natural sugar in an apple is more potent than the caffeine in coffee.
46 High Street
Tel: 01785 813788
H’s Veg box’s 07737390772