Norfolk farm shops see the positives in changes to Christmas plans
- Credit: Rebecca Mayhew
“It’s not all doom and gloom” as farm shop owners see the positive in Christmas changes, and last-minute orders are flooding in.
As the government’s announcement has forced families to rethink the festive period, butchers and farm shops across Norfolk were left worrying if large Christmas orders will be cancelled.
But Rebecca Mayhew, the owner of Old Hall Farm, south of Norwich, said it’s important to remain positive and find different ways to celebrate the festive holiday – even if you can’t be with your loved ones.
She said: “We have not had any cancellations yet and I am feeling cautiously optimistic that it’s going to be okay.
“There is no point being doom and gloom about it. My family aren't coming anymore and now we have 10 kilo turkey to eat between the four of us.
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“Some people might be thinking, ‘what on earth do we do with the left overs?’. But we have lots of answers to that in our shop, including locally made curry sauces.
“It's about being creative and finding different ways of doing things.
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“Also, a lot of people are now looking for Christmas dinner who originally had it planned with someone else.
“We had more orders for Christmas hampers overnight and we have been sending them across the country. We write Christmas cards to go in them, which say things like, ‘Dear mum and dad, you can’t come to Norfolk but Norfolk is coming to you’. You just do what you can.”
Rob Hirst and Becca Hirst are the owners of Hirst’s Farm Shop in Ormesby, near Great Yarmouth.
With pre-orders of turkey, meats, vegetables and Christmas hampers, Mr Hirst said there is a lot at stake after months of preparation.
But so far no one has cancelled their order.
He said: “Most people have pre ordered but that was when they thought they would be spending Christmas with other households.
“Currently, we haven't had anyone ring to say they are cancelling but is it still early days. Everybody has paid a deposit, so hopefully we won't lose many orders from this.”
After selling 75 Christmas hampers, Mr Hirst said more families may now look to gift them to their loved ones who can no longer come to visit.
He added: “We have worked hard to get to where we have and it's so nice to see regular customers coming back, but also new customers coming in. We hope that will continue into the new year.”
Sam Steggles is the owner of Fielding Cottage, in Honingham, and said they have seen an increase in demand since the announcement yesterday.
He added: “We haven't had any cancellations. We have actually seen an increase in demand.
“Already this morning we have had a few new faces come in which is good. But we will see what happens today.
“I think what we are going to see - and we are already seeing it filter through - is that the people who were going off to see relatives and travel to be part of a bubble, are going to be staying at home now. They may want to treat themselves to something they maybe wouldn’t have had otherwise. I think we will be busier not quieter.
“It's devastating for people who haven't seen their families or loved ones for an extended period, through no fault of their own.
"But I think as an individual and a country, we are doing what's right and we should absolutely follow the guidelines.”