In July 2021 I received an email…

“Just to make you aware we are prewarning all of our customers of a huge lack of HGV drivers in Europe and the UK which is affecting ourselves. We are advising (you) to keep stock in to cover in case of a delay in your delivery.

As much as we will try not to let our customers down, we are just asking… to keep in mind. Due to this, from 1 July our order minimum has been raised to £300. Sorry for any inconvenience.”

BIimey, I can’t believe this supplier had just doubled their minimum order from £150 to £300!

They were trying to persuade me to take more produce, to order greater quantities, take it early, take loads…

The problem is that I am a small producer – a single hander. There are plenty of us, we are small and we don’t have so many places that we can store all this food we are now expected to buy twice as much of.

But then they didn’t have it anyway:

“We do not currently have any stock of… And I have not put them on backorder as we do not expect them to be here until 2022″

What’s someone like me to do? The answer is to go even deeper into something I’ve been doing for years: making use of local suppliers.

I’ve been buying from other small producers, many single-handers like me, all the years I’ve been baking professionally.

I use the sausage meat and beef from a small butcher just down the road. I get most of my dairy from Blackmore Vale. Cheese comes from Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar, the Book and Bucket Cheese Company, Dorset Blue Vinny – there’s so much fantastic cheese around here.

Windfalls from my lovely local neighbours are exchanged for a loaf or croissants. I forage for wild garlic and blackberries. My flour comes from Stoate’s Mill, eggs from a local farm, and so on … That’s how the local economy thrives. I buy from a small producer, s/he gets money in their pocket and can then make more, or grow more, or produce more.

And in supporting small local businesses, I know they will call me if they don’t have what I need and offer me something else. It works.

Maydown-Farm

That’s why I believe everyone must be encouraged to shop locally.

They talk of food shortages this year, but I doubt we won’t be able to buy food per se. We simply may not be able to buy, for example, bananas when we want them, or Spanish chorizo. But we will be able to get apples from places like Elwell Farm, or locally smoked meats from artisans like the Real Cure. We won’t go hungry.

During lockdown, many people gratefully turned to small suppliers when their choice was limited in the big stores – but once lockdown ended, they went straight back to the supermarkets. I think this is a mistake. I believe our food security lies continuing to support in our local producers. It’s a case of scratching one another’s’ back so that we all end up gaining.

Come on, let’s work together and sort it out – lets keep our small suppliers going. We must create a food community – people buying their groceries from small producers who in turn buy what they need from the smaller suppliers. It’s the only way that we can keep the local economy going.

“Please be aware we are currently looking at the routes and there is a chance that this delivery is going to be a day late. If it’s not with you (on Tuesday) it will be for the Wednesday … however the order must still be placed today …. Minimum order £300 please…”

And next time I’m told …

“Please be aware we are currently looking at the routes and there is a chance that this delivery is going to be a day late. If it’s not with you (on Tuesday) it will be for the Wednesday … however the order must still be placed today …. Minimum order £300 please…”

I just won’t care! I shall be buying from the small guy who is just like me.

Instagram
James's Cheese

Feel free to share my blog

1 Comment. Leave new

  • Lynne Arthur-Grannell
    November 3, 2021 1:21 pm

    Thankyou for your cake recipe, I have shared this on Facebook, a great idea.
    I am trying this….

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Menu
X