Vicki and Roo, you opened your beautiful shop last year and it already plays an integral role in the life of the village. Can you tell us more about what you offer?
The Little Green Pantry opened in the centre of Lambehurst last August and we offer a range of local produce and handmade gifts. In our store you’ll find everything from local artisan breads, fruit and veg, milk in glass bottles and pantry essentials to local craft beers, spirits and wine, houseplants and seasonal flowers and much more. We also support our wonderful community by offering a space to craft and create, with regular competitions, special events and workshops. We are constantly finding new suppliers so stock changes frequently and we’ve plenty of new seasonal items coming in. We will soon be offering take away coffee too, which is exciting.
How do you know each other and how did the partnership come about?
We have known each other for a few years now. We worked together in our separate professions; Roo as a nurse and Vicki as a paramedic for Hospice in the Weald. During the first lockdown we would meet for our daily walk at Dunorlan Park with our dogs Bert and Poppy. One day Roo shared a dream she’d had the night before about being a florist, and Vicki said she’d always longed to own a shop. A few weeks later we found out that the Parish Office in Lamberhurst was available and we thought why not take a look? The rest, as they say, is history!
How would you describe your business ethos?
We feel passionate about the world we live in and providing sustainable products is part of our ethos. This is why the little pantry is ‘Green’. We use glass milk bottles that customers return to recycle back at the farm. All our packaging is either recyclable or has already been recycled. For example our houseplant pots are made from reused computer tech items. We are also in the process of getting a selection of food refills, where customers can bring their own containers for refill pantry supplies. We give our food waste each week to a Tunbridge Wells charity that supports low income families.
Why is local so important to you?
We live in an amazing area with good quality, sustainable supplies all around us. We therefore wanted to gather as much as possible in one place to make life easier whilst supporting the local economy. It also benefits the environment, reducing packaging and transport costs. We love local people, local food and our local community and have met the most amazing, talented people – many of whom are now life-long friends.
Speaking of community, tell us more your hub concept?
Working as medical professionals through the pandemic, we both saw first-hand how isolation is a struggle for many. Making The Little Green Pantry a community hub was therefore paramount to both of us. While The Little Green Pantry is a farm shop, we are also a community hub to bring people together. For example, we have a free children’s library, we run children’s competitions and events and we also fundraise for our local hospice throughout the year.
Lamberhurst loves Halloween so each year we create a village Halloween trail and scavenger hunt with goodies for the children and mulled wine for the adults! We host private events from Christmas wreath making to wine and gin tasting evenings.
Do you live in Lamberhurst and how would you describe the village?
Vicki lives in Lamberhurst while Roo is from Tunbridge Wells. Lamberhurst is a small and quaint village yet it has a large and spirited community, just how villages used to be. Everyone knows everyone and we support each other whenever possible.
Why did you join the TN card and how do you reward members for supporting local?
We joined on our opening day last August. We wanted to be involved as the TN card shares our ethos of supporting local. We give members a 10% discount on all our items.
What is next in store for The Little Green Pantry?
We have a lot of exciting new things in the pipeline! We have lots of fabulous events planned for July: a wine tasting with Yotes Court, a macrame workshop with TN card partner Hope & Cotton, a gin tasting with Birch Gin and a print making workshop. For more details and to book head to the events page of our website.