by Robert Veitch
As the seasons change and winter eases into spring, The Seasons in Forest Row remains reassuringly familiar, albeit in a new home.
To walk into The Seasons is to walk into a shop with a difference. Rich olive green décor gives the place a cultured touch and elicits a warm glow, while a friendly welcome from the staff, makes customers feel at home straight away.
The Seasons have been helping to feed and supply groceries to Forest Row and the surrounding area since 1971. Over time the business has flourished and it’s now a second-generation, family run concern. At the end of last year The Seasons relocated to Lower Road, just a stones throw from its’ previous home on Hartfield Road.
Stocking over 5,000 products, the owner Robin Walden is justifiably proud of what he is achieving. “It became hard to manage the business across our previous sites,” admitted Robin, “but we’re in one building now, over two floors and with plans for further improvements.” Outside, there is free public parking for over 50 cars, making this a one-stop shop.
To walk around the store is to notice produce like organic graffiti aubergine and sunflower sprouts, which customers would struggle to find elsewhere. “We have a very loyal customer base,” declared Robin, “regulars come from as far as Guildford, Croydon and Hastings, as well as Lewes, Tunbridge Wells and East Grinstead.”
Robin mentioned, “95% of the stock has organic origins, and we use local suppliers as much as we can. Our bread, fruit and vegetables are all sold loose to minimise packaging.” There’s also plenty of gluten free and vegan food as Robin noted, “we have a great range of gluten free pasta and bread, and vegan cheeses and pâté. We also stock biodynamic produce, which is farmed in a way that nurtures and improves farmland.” He continued, “it’s perfectly feasible to do the weekly shop here. We even do environmentally sustainable baking foil.”
Robin is equally adept at helping out on the shop floor, stocking shelves, manning the tills and chatting to inquisitive customers who want to know that little bit more about the organic daikon radish.
Robin told me, “we have taster days from time to time. They’re positive interactive experiences for customers to try new products for free.” With a beaming face he continued, “most of our produce is better priced than equivalent products in the supermarkets.”
Seasons is an organic shop that’s growing organically, the kind of place that knows the difference between pumpkin gnocchetti and pasta. “We’re a community based shop, in the centre of the village, helping to drive the heartbeat of Forest Row,” says Robin. In 2018, as seasons change, and The Seasons changes, its’ underlying ethos remains reassuringly, the same.
Address: Medway Buildings, Lower Road, Forest Row, RH18 5HE
Telephone: 01342 824673