2019 has been my most challenging year yet since I started growing and allmost certainly also one of the hardest I have had to deal with personally for a number of reasons.
So I have taken the decision to stop doing Mail order veg and move on to something new I will still be doing my Tomatoes for now at least But I am working on other projects for the future and not sure therefore what my plans are beyond 2020 But for next year at least I will still be doing the Tomato business but on a much smaller scale.
To be honest how I have kept going over the years is hard to comprehend many of you won’t know But this is my 8th Nursery I’m renting since I started my first one in Fife in 2003, A combination of wanting to move and a huge amount of bad luck meaning I had to move from certain nurseries. I even through unscrupulous removers the first time during the move from Scotland to Cornwall and an owner of a nursery I rented going bankrupt lost everything twice in 2007 and 2012 about £30,000 worth each time and had to start again entirely from scratch with nothing. And that’s without all the everyday issues that can trip you up in any unexpected moment such as the weather, germination issues, pests and diseases, staffing issues, ill family members and everything in between you have to deal with as small business owner where one hat fits all and you have to be the grower, the packer, the sower, the customer service operator, credit control, delivery guy, Admin and even tea boy
Over that time the business has evolved a lot its been Fun (some times) Challenging (all the time) Darn right miserable (occasionally) Tiring (always) and lots more besides.
But my one saving grace has always been my passion for growing tomatoes and thats where from 2020 my path will go Vegetable Plants Direct will go I will only be growing veg to sell locally and on site, Tomato Plants Direct will go in its current form and be replaced by The Tomato Growers Club.
I was going to chuck it all in entrirely mail order wise and just grow for sale on site and locally, But it seams that I have quite a few fans of my Tomatoes out there and after some wonderful messages I decide that yes I will serve those of you that still want my Tomatoes, But it would have to be in some way that is completely different that I can control.
The issue has always been since I started the Tomato business I end up taking too many orders and then alienate and upset people by not managing to deal with them all in a timely manner and whilst I know people get upset and angry over this it still does not excuse the amount of threats and abuse I recieve particularly this year which has been horrendous and I now know how celebrities feel when they get trolled on social media which is a sad reflection on the world we live in today its like no one can a make a mistake in business anymore.
At the end of the day I am human and I am dealing with perishable goods I am not Amazon or Ebay I can only do what I can do if thats not acceptable then don’t buy off me its as simple as that.
So I looked into what could be done going forwards and the decsions have been made :
Firstly as I said earlier I have decided to make my Tomato website a Tomato Growers Club with a small membership fee of £5 per year and to make this possible I have added plugins to my WordPress website that allows me to firstly hide the shop from general public view and search engines so it can only viewed by members and only members can order, A plugin in to run the memberships side of the site and also another plugin that allows you to pick a delivery slot at checkout
Also, as a member you will still have access to the rewards points scheme it is temporarily suspended at the moment But don’t worry any orders placed I will top your points up when its live again
I will also get the forum up and running properly so you can ask questions and post your pictures of your efforts
And I hope to add much more things to the membership site as time goes by so that you can reap real tangible benefits from being a member such has too sheets, Possibly a course and a Magazine, much more info on varieties and what Tomato for what situation.
But above all I want this to be the time when you get what you want when you want it and for us to all grow some the best varieties from around the world together that taste great look great and bring us Joy
So why not sign up for membership today order your tomatoes and let’s start this journey together