Peterborough farmers and milk suppliers in 'overwhelming' demand

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Fresh meat, produced at Moor Farms

When the public became aware of the coronavirus at the start of the month, panic buying by consumers left supermarket shelves empty.

Now that has ended, but the benefits were passed to some local grocers and farmers. Local farms and dairies have also seen a rise in demand, as people are turning to organic options for fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. 

In-fact, due to high demand, some milk delivery companies have now had to turn away new customers in order to cope. 

Milk and More, who do door-step deliveries, have shared this message on their site: “We are really sorry, but due to the unprecedented demand on our service and the huge numbers of new customers that have signed up in the last few days, we have had to temporarily stop accepting new customers. 

“Our apologies for the inconvenience this may cause, but we have had to take this decision to ensure that we can continue to deliver to our existing customers and provide the same high level of service that we pride ourselves on. As soon as we are able to accept new customers our signup page will be switched back on.” 

Peterborough Matters spoke to Thomas, from the sales department of Peterborough Dairies. He said: “We are seeing a very high demand. But I think we are coping all right. This could also be because of long supermarket queues.

“We have had to cut down on the delivery of certain products, such as bread. Our phones are ringing constantly. But we are coping well.” 

One farmer in Peterborough is enjoying an overwhelming success, with hundreds of new customers requesting local produce. 

Moor Farm on Decoy Road, Peterborough, is a friendly, family-run business. They produce free range beef and lamb on their farm that matches the British Farm Standard and butchered to meet individual requirements. These are all sold alongside other local produce, including vegetables, eggs,  cheeses, cakes, jams and chutney at their Moor farm shop. 

Proud farmer and owner of Moor Farm, Judith Jacobs, says they are seeing hundreds of new customers every day and hopes to serve each and everyone.  

Speaking to Peterborough Matters, Judith said: “We are proud to be doing what we are doing. We are really positive. Hundreds of new customers have joined us in the last two/three weeks. This is our third ‘mega week’ if you want to call it. 

“We don’t depend on other suppliers for meat and produce our own, so that’s also helping us. However, we have got good contacts with other local growers and have been able to source local fruit, vegetables, flour from a local mill, and bread for the customers. 

“We have a fantastic staff, working beyond their capacity. We are also delivering to vulnerable people. Our deliveries have increased ten times!  

“Our farm shop is open for people to come and buy their requirements. However, we are mindful and maintaining a strict one-in, one-out measure to ensure social distancing is maintained.  

“I have been banging on about how people should trace back to see where their food comes. I think the pandemic has made it happen. An increasing number of people want to know how and where the food is being produced, this is evident from the rising customer numbers. The 'field to fork' concept is finally being looked into by consumers.

“People are grateful that we are able to provide them with the locally-sourced and produced food products.” 

The farm also invites up to a hundred local schools for visits and has an open day for the public during the lambing season, which is currently ongoing. However, disappointingly, it has had to cancel all the social engagements in response to the virus.   

Judith said: “It’s a shame we won’t be able to have any visitors to the farm this spring unlike previous years. However, we will try and keep everyone updated on social media with pictures and regular updates.” 

There have been reports of farmers struggling due to shortage of labour. The majority of the workers on farms are migrants and due to the lockdown, not many have been able to return to work from their home countries, leaving fruit unpicked on farms. 

Commenting on this situation Judith said: “It’s all migrant labour. English people don’t want to do it.  

“This is not unskilled labour- farming requires a lot of skill and handwork. It’s a manual job but very skilled. The farming labour is underrated.” 

Earlier this month we reported that a potato farmer from the Fens was enjoying queues of customers (before social distancing was introduced), waiting to get their hands on the organic spuds.

Roy Plummer has been a farmer for over 50 years. His business was booming due to the coronavirus. 

His home-grown quality potatoes are very popular with residents living in and around Peterborough. He has been selling his produce at the Notcutts lay-by on Oundle Road for the last ten years. However, he says ‘things have gone crazy over the last couple of weeks'.

Moor Farm shares first pictures of this year's lambing season - a mother gave birth to live quadruplets