How The Online Greengrocer became the ultimate destination for fresh produce in Milton Keynes

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If I want good quality, fresh veg, I know that I am better off heading to my local greengrocers or local market stall rather than a supermarket. Greengrocers are a recognised, essential part of any traditional high street and offer a service and quality that you just can’t find elsewhere. During the lockdown, I witnessed an attitude shift as people realised these wonderful businesses still existed. With supermarket shelves empty of most essentials including the fresh stuff, businesses like The Online Greengrocer who launched as COVID struck, suddenly found themselves becoming the go-to for groceries.

The Online Greengrocer is one of lockdown’s success stories. When everything was closed and supermarkets were empty, they received between 300 and 400 emails daily, and were delivering up to 200 home orders a day!

For this feature, I spoke to Dan Taylor who runs the business alongside his colleagues, Terry and Gerald. In this post, you’ll find out more about this fantastic local business and how The Online Greengrocer has grown from market stall to a fully operational online store and the lessons learned from lockdown.

The Fruit & Berry box from The Online Greengrocer.

Who is The Online Greengrocer? 

You may be familiar with Best Fruit, a large fresh produce stall in Milton Keynes market that has been going for 30 years. It’s a busy, bustling stall with rainbow aisles packed with fresh fruit and vegetables. From strawberries to citrus fruits, pumpkins to pineapples, it truly is the ultimate place to stock up on fresh fruit and veg!

Pre-lockdown, it was retail only and a favourite destination for many locals looking for fresh fruit and vegetables. But as we head into the final few months of 2020, it has expanded massively and continues to deliver fresh produce to customers across Milton Keynes, as well as supplying some of the town’s favourite restaurants and food vendors.

“The Online Greengrocer embraces the modern age of the greengrocer, bringing the personal service of a small, family-run shop and pairing it with an online storefront and delivery straight to your door.”

The stall gets daily deliveries of produce from Spitalfields market in London. It arrives in Milton Keynes at 6am and is on the shop floor by the time it opens, so whatever you buy is fresh and of the highest quality. The team has great relationships with the suppliers, who are from all over the world. This ensures the highest quality and the best value which is passed onto the customer.

The Online Greengrocer embraces the modern age of the greengrocer, bringing the personal service of a small, family-run shop and pairing it with an online storefront and delivery straight to your door. We had a few deliveries during the lockdown and the quality in comparison to a supermarket was beyond compare – cauliflowers bigger than my head, succulent summer berries and beautiful fresh fragrant herbs. My godmother started buying from The Online Greengrocer during the lockdown and she hasn’t looked back since!

Coming to life in lockdown

Dan decided to bring The Online Greengrocer to life at the start of lockdown. Two weeks before everything closed, he explained that the panic buying had reached their stall – in particular, potatoes were the most popular purchase! With very few people were venturing out, it was time to go online. 

Initially, they were managing orders via Facebook, and experiencing incredibly high volumes of enquiries and orders – upwards of 300 a day. As things progressed, a web shop was launched, making it easier for customers to order and giving the team some breathing space!

Dan explained that it was always the plan to take the shop online, but the lockdown gave them the opportunity to make the move. And it certainly paid off. During lockdown, word was spreading like wildfire that they were offering deliveries so for vulnerable people that couldn’t leave their homes or busy families, home delivery of high-quality fresh produce was the perfect, convenient choice.

“The quality in comparison to a supermarket was beyond compare – cauliflowers bigger than my head, succulent summer berries and beautiful fresh fragrant herbs.”
An order of fresh produce I placed during lockdown.
The Fruit & Berry box.

Supplying the best to the best

The Online Greengrocer doesn’t just serve customers – it supplies fresh produce to some of Milton Keynes’ favourite food vendors and restaurants. For over a year, they have supplied the likes of Saf’s Kitchen, The Cross Keys, Tasty MK, Pin Petch and Murati’s, but with a new website and online storefront, it’s easier than ever for local vendors to get on board with their fresh produce.

The Cross Keys just happens to be one of Dan’s favourite restaurants in the area. I visited again recently, and I have to say, the quality of their food is second to none. Great ingredients create great dishes!

If you own a local restaurant, you can order direct for wholesale here.

The Online Greengrocer supplies local street food vendor, Saf’s Kitchen, with fresh produce so she can bring you epic creations like the Double Besharem Punjabi Burger!
The Cross Keys in Woolstone also uses fresh produce from The Online Greengrocer. Look at that asparagus!

Learnings from lockdown

The secret to their success? Customer service. Dan told me that this is key for all areas of their business. By maintaining the core values of a traditional greengrocer, The Online Greengrocer ensures that it is front of mind when someone needs to do their shopping. Dan says this includes building and maintaining a rapport with customers, seeking out a particular vegetable if it’s not available and driving across Milton Keynes to deliver a missing item! A happy customer is incredibly important.

As well as customer service, he says that the quality of the produce keeps people coming back for more. And it is great quality and superior to that of a supermarket.

“The secret to its success? Customer service.”

The story of The Online Greengrocer is an inspiring one. And they don’t show any signs of stopping! With new modern tills coming to the market stall, a booming online business and a growing wholesale market, it is wonderful to see a local business thriving in what has been a horrendous year for many.

And it is great to see so many different people embrace their service. The older generation is very good at shopping on their local high street, but I think us young ‘uns could do better and support more local businesses in our everyday grocery shopping. The Online Greengrocer makes it easy to do this in a way we are familiar with (i.e not leaving the house…!) and delivers on insane quality that makes it hard to return to the supermarket again.

When you’re next in Central Milton Keynes, I highly recommend heading to the stall. You won’t want to come away empty handed!

Will you be giving The Online Greengrocer a go this autumn?

The Online Greengrocer is open for home deliveries Tuesday – Saturday. Click here to shop via the website. You can also find the store in Milton Keynes market which is open 7am – 5:30pm Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and 8am – 4:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

DISCLAIMER: This post is part of a paid content campaign. Click here for my full disclosure policy.

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  1. Adele wrote:

    I have used this greengrocers a couple of times now and been really impressed with the quality of produce, thank you.

    Posted 1.30.21 Reply
    • Sophie wrote:

      They’re brilliant! Such great quality veg – I’m so glad you love them too! Sophie x

      Posted 1.30.21 Reply