Shop Local: former journalist's new Crouch End ‘urban farm shop’
- Credit: Julia Kirby-Smith
What were you doing exactly one year ago?
Few among us won’t have taken a step back in the last few months and recognised the degree to which our lives have been changed by Covid-19.
For Julia Kirby-Smith, who spent much of the last 15 years working in TV production at Channel 4 News, that moment came on the premises of her new "urban farm shop" in Crouch End, Fridge of Plenty.
“One day I was standing in the back room packing up a load of veg boxes, and I was like: ‘Oh right, I’ve now become a greengrocer!'” she told the Ham&High.
Julia’s new business at 132 Crouch Hill — which sells only “local, seasonal and sustainable produce” — opened its doors to consumers in December.
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The Stroud Green resident has always had a keen interest in food and, after leaving her job in July, the time felt right to pursue her passion professionally.
In her early 20s she went through “a phase of trying to make cheese at home” but now she spends much of her week tracking down the best sustainable cheesemakers — along with bakers, and vegetable-growers.
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The shop stocks items from a number of producers in and around North London. Organically reared meat comes from Forty Hall Farm in Enfield, and can be found next to charcuterie from Cobble Lane Cured in Islington, bread from Celtic Bakers in Tottenham and beer from Earth Ale Brewing in Wood Green.
Fridge of Plenty is open to customers but also offers "click-and-collect" and home delivery within a two-mile radius.
A "weekly shop" option for repeat orders is available, which Julia hopes will help the business grow its already promising base of regular customers.
Although the beginning of 2021 has proved challenging, Kirby-Smith said she is excited about what Fridge of Plenty can become – and the opportunity that’s been presented to her to finally make a living from of one of her great passions.
“Primarily, I want it to be about delicious food and the fun of eating and the fun of finding new products that you’ve not tried…trying to do sustainability in an inclusive way, not a preachy, dry, lentil-eating way!" she said.