Martyn Bragg at Shillingford Organics describes challenges facing his business during lockdown.
At the beginning of lockdown, we had a rapid increase in box delivery customers from our pre-covid numbers of 350 a week to a peak of 790 boxes in the first week of April. This number clearly was not sustainable for us especially with the Hungry Gap looming at the end of April. The demand for extra produce also went up dramatically, which ended up with us unable to buy in enough products like organic eggs and flour.
Over the last 6 weeks, demand for delivery boxes has normalised as people have been able to order online from their conventional suppliers once again. Hopefully this will leave us a core of around 650 good customers.
We have managed to keep the veg boxes going with mainly our own produce and as we come out of the Hungry Gap the range of our produce will be far better.
This must be set in the context that our farmers market sales halved and is only slightly rising now. Our wholesale demand has stayed up but again we are short of produce. Demand has been strong from other veg Box Schemes looking for produce to supplement their own.
The situation has taught us that we really need an integrated network of producers with an online platform for produce and a efficient logistics solution.