Full shelves and no queues – farm shops say now is the time to buy Norfolk food
- Credit: Polly Steggles
Norfolk’s farming industry is continuing to produce quality food despite the coronavirus crisis – and the county’s farm shops have urged shoppers to grasp the opportunity to stock their cupboards while supporting local businesses.
While some supermarket shelves are being stripped bare as concerns over the outbreak deepen, there is a wealth of fresh produce to be found in small shops and box schemes run by countless farms across the region.
Rebecca Mayhew is one of the owners of Old Hall Farm at Woodton, near Bungay. Alongside its Jersey dairy herd, the business also runs a cafe and farm shop – which has introduced a take-away and a home delivery service for meals and groceries to help people who can’t leave their homes due to self-isolation.
“We have had amazing offers of help from all over the county, talking about the best ways to distribute anything and everything to people,” she said.
“We stock everything Norfolk has to offer, in terms of cheese, yoghurt, fruit and veg, meat, honey, apple juice and even local wine and gin.
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“In times like this, many more people are going to have to turn to their local retailers because of the smaller supply chain and the fact we can still source local produce. It spreads the business around, and helps keep people trading and people employed.”
READ MORE: Royal Norfolk Show cancelled amid coronavirus crisisSam Steggles makes goat’s cheese at Fielding Cottage in Honingham, outside Norwich, where his Goat Shed self-service farm shop also stocks food including meat, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflowers, chutneys and free-range eggs – all sourced within a 20-mile radius.
“I think it is now more important than ever to understand where your food really comes from,” he said. “It does not just come from the supermarket - the farmers and growers are the ones behind it. You can go and get a complete cupboard full of local seasonal products from any farm shop that has their doors open for you.
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“Our shelves are full and we don’t have a queue. What better time to buy British than now? Let’s all get behind it. We are all going into self-isolation, but farmers work in self-isolation every day of every week. They are the ones putting the seed in the ground, milking the cows, or collecting the eggs.”