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Increase in honesty boxes sees business boom for farmers

Hedge veg stall Photo: ITV News

A traditional sight on Jersey's roadsides, the humble honesty box is becoming more of a modern phenomena.

Vegetable growers in the island are picking up more and more direct sales from shoppers and say these stalls are genuinely becoming a source of extra income.

One young farmer who's expanding his empire one box at a time is Powell Le Feuvre.

Powell Le Feuvre's stall Credit: ITV News

I actually started when I was about seven or eight years old, selling flowers by the roadside and then later on we decided to put a few potatoes by the road in St Mary's. That started doing well and then not really until about two years ago, we put more than one honesty box out and now we've got four.

– Powell Le Feuvre, farmer
Honesty box Credit: ITV News

Farmers say they're making the most of the passing custom and direct sales are becoming a real boost for business. Even though it requires a lot of effort, on top of what's already a busy season.

We get down to the fields for around 6 o'clock in the morning, we dig a few trays, go back to the farm, bag up a few bags, take them round the honesty boxes, during the day we'll drive by a few of them, see which ones need topping up and then collect the money at the end of the day.

– Powell Le Feuvre, farmer
Freshly picked Jersey Royals Credit: ITV News

It's a tradition based on islanders honesty, paying into the pot when they take their produce, but a series of thefts across the island where shoppers aren't paying for their goods has meant sellers have needed to install security measures.

Whether that's CCTV, or shaming those who took items without paying, sellers say the misbehaviour of a handful of shoppers isn't going to stop their success.

I think we've got a really good system in Jersey, with roadside stalls, farm shops and the supermarkets. There's a place for everybody and it's a great route to market - either direct selling or through the retailers - and long may it last. I think Guernsey have done it really well for years and I think Jersey have picked up on it. We've got more roadside stalls now appearing than I can remember, a lot more Jersey Royal stalls, that's for sure.

– John Garton, Genuine Jersey