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‘Hard Brexit will lead to empty shelves,’ say Highbury greengrocers

Warning to customers – stay in the EU or you’ll lose your basics

29 March, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

Rabiye Cinar and Rosie Phipps at Seasons and Blossoms, in Blackstock Road

FRUIT and vegetable sellers in Highbury are calling on their customers to back the People’s Vote campaign, warning an exit from Europe will cut back on what they can offer.

Protesters took to the streets last Saturday for the put-it-to-the-people protest against the government’s handling of Brexit and calling for a second referendum.

A chalk board reading “Help save our shop and join the march against Brexit. We love the EU” was placed outside Seasons and Blossoms in Blackstock Road last week.

Rosie Phipps and Rabiye Cinar live together in Hackney and run the shop together.

Ms Phipps said: “Our shop focuses on local and seasonal vegetables. We are in March now and nothing grows locally in March. With a hard Brexit we will have nothing on the shelves. In March we just get rhubarb and wild garlic, turnips and swedes, beetroot and leeks. But the basics like tomatoes come from Spain and Italy. Everything from the Mediterranean diet would be missing.

“It makes no sense not to trade with our neighbours. There will be shortages and prices will soar.

“We source directly from farms. Our apples, eggs and strawberries here are picked by EU workers. Without them the fruit will rot in fields.”]

On Valentine’s Day, Seasons and Blossoms had a board outside their store saying: “Roses are red, violets are blue. We are better off in the EU.”

Ms Phipps said: “We get a really positive reaction from our customers. We really value them [customers].

“It is a special area. This road is full of independent shops but if Brexit goes ahead we will see more and more shops boarded up.”

Ms Cinar, who used to be a painter and decorator, said: “I started this five years ago. I wanted to see more women running small businesses.

“I come from Turkey and the area is really multicultural. But with Brexit, people will become separated from their families.”

The site, which used to be a launderette, opened as a greengrocer five years ago.

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