John Garton is the Chief Executive Officer of the Genuine Jersey Products Association, a non-profit making association which raises the awareness of goods that are produced in Jersey. The Association was established in June 2001 by a group of local organisations and today has 160 members from bakers to farmers; jewellery makers to textile artists and cake makers to fishermen. Genuine Jersey’s lovely red logo is appearing on more and more items around the island as a stamp of quality and of course as a guarantee that the product is local.
John is involved in all aspects of the organisation and we are pleased today to be asking him a few questions.
Let’s start with the most straightforward of question: What are the star products under the Genuine Jersey banner?
As the success of Genuine Jersey is down to a combination of a strong local rural economy, the entrepreneurial zeal of the members – and the fantastic variety of quality fresh produce and locally made products – it would be unfair to single out any one. All our members, from the largest to individuals, have taken business ideas and used their skills to make products that the Island can be justifiably proud of and, in the process, they have helped to diversify the economy to offer a wider choice to consumers and visitors.
Genuine Jersey isn’t only about food so what are the main criteria for a product or item to become ‘genuine’?
Only goods that have been reared, grown or caught in Jersey or are created by accredited Islanders and local businesses can qualify to be members of the Genuine Jersey Products Association.The distinctive Genuine Jersey mark is seen as a byword for the best the Island has to offer, so if you want to buy local look for the mark before you buy.
Local markets and supermarkets are proud to sell Genuine Jersey products, are there other type of outlets around the Island?
In addition to the craft and farm markets held in St Aubin, Royal Square and Weighbridge Place and in supermarkets, Genuine Jersey produce is available from a variety of local outlets. These include galleries, studios, tourist attractions and heritage sites, farm and corner shops, roadside and ice cream stalls, St Helier’s Central Market and Jersey Airport. It can also be sampled in restaurants, pubs and cafés – and is even exported to Guernsey! Our organic farming members also sell their produce through weekly home deliveries.
How can businesses which do not meet the membership criteria support Genuine Jersey?
Businesses that do not qualify to be a member, but who share the Association’s ethos and want to support its work, can become sponsors. The financial assistance or expertise our like-minded sponsors provide is invaluable in meeting our key objectives of raising awareness of local goods and supporting all those involved in their production. In return for supporting the Association, sponsors are permitted to use the Genuine Jersey Sponsor mark, are featured on the Genuine Jersey website and are invited to attend a range of events and activities organised by and involving Genuine Jersey.
We noticed on your website the opportunity to organise Genuine Jersey conference gifts, can you tell us more about this service?
Many of our members can package selected products as gifts packs for conference delegates visiting the Island. These can be bought ‘off the shelf’ or made to order according to product preferred product selection and price. Information is available on our website but I am always ready to offer advice and to point prospective clients in the direction of the appropriate members. Either visit our website – www.genuinejersey.com or call me on 01534 448114.
Is there a long term plan for Genuine Jersey development?
Our long-term plan is to keep increasing the membership – which currently stands at 160 – and promoting the fantastic range of products, which can hold their own against produce worldwide, to Islanders and visitors. We want the locals to support local producers and the Island’s economy by buying the fantastic range of products available on their doorsteps. Moreover, what better souvenir of a holiday in Jersey to take home than one that has been made or grown here or created by a member of Genuine Jersey?
And finally, where is your favourite place to enjoy life here in Jersey?
I love the farm where I live and spend most of my time outside work there. Being in-land we usually choose a restaurant with a sea view and plan evenings out around the high tides.
At the 2013 Jersey Enterprise Awards, the Association was named Guiton Group Ambassador of the Year in recognition of more than a decade of ‘flying the flag both here and overseas for Jersey producers, and because its reach had stretched far beyond our the Island’s shores.’
Well done Genuine Jersey and thank you for talking to us!