Farm shops across the UK are launching home food delivery services to keep the nation fed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Panic buying has set in across the country with shoppers reporting empty shelves and large queues as people alarmed by the virus ignore government advice and continue to stockpile.
Some supermarkets, such as Iceland, have introduced shopping hours exclusively for elderly or vulnerable people.
See also: Map: Find a farm shop near you
Farm shops are responding to the increase in demand for food by allowing customers to order fresh, local produce to be delivered to their doors.
Farmer Patrick Deeley and his team at Flower Farm, in Godstone, Surrey, have been working around the clock to get the online food delivery system set up.
Delivered to door
Mr Deeley said: “We’ve set up a simple online system, where people can get essentials from the farm, delivered to their door.
“Leaving the house at the moment may be tricky for some, so this is our way of staying in touch with and supporting the local community.”
Mr Deeley said he wants to provide jobs for anyone who has suddenly found themselves out of work. On Friday (20 March), he will do just that, when he takes on the first of his new team of delivery drivers at the farm.
“With things as they are at the moment, any help we can give to people in the community – near or far – has got to be a great thing I think, so we’re gonna give it a try,” he added.
The online delivery system, which went live on Thursday (19 March) will deliver to anyone within five miles, with first deliveries starting from Friday.
He and his team have created a “ration box scheme” that includes vital daily essential food items, such as eggs, meat, milk, beans, fruit and veg. For more details, visit the Flower Farm website.
Elsewhere, Newlyns Farm Shop, in North Warnborough, Hampshire, is open for business as usual and they are offering a home delivery service for those in isolation. For details call 01256 704 128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gates Farm Shop in Oakham, Leicestershire, has launched a free delivery and collection service that aims to “support customers with access to food essentials during these uncertain times”.
To place an order, locals can call 01664 454 309 or email email@example.com.
From Friday, Birchwood Farm Shop, in Dedham, Essex, is starting a fruit and veg box delivery or collection service for the over-70s. For details, call 01206 323 797 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trading Post Farm Shop in Lopenhead, Somerset, is also offering a food delivery service to customers who are self-isolating. For details, call 01460 241 666 or email email@example.com.
Food box delivers from established companies such as Riverford and Farmdrop are continuing as normal.
Farmers Weekly is getting behind the #FeedtheNation campaign to back UK farmers working flat out to produce safe, affordable and reliable food to feed the nation during the coronavirus crisis.