Local farm shops across North East Wales saw a dramatic increase in business during lockdown. This video shows how people chose to shop locally due to safety or lack of supermarket slots.
Wrights Food Emporium in LLanarthne @wrightsfood is run by Simon Wright and his wife MaryAnn they, together with their team, are truly inspirational. During lockdown they diversified their business model into selling food online for collection, which included dishes that had been made by them, with local delicious ingredients that you could take away. Not being near enough I relished their weekly recipes that took you on a virtual journey to places that they had visited. Beautifully illustrated by @leighsinclair they were visually beautiful as well as delicious. This is my attempt at their beetroot and feta dip so earthy and fresh truly wonderful. Each week I tuned in to their Instagram Live feed known as Elevenses- in which Simon interviewed interesting figures from the food world, which included chefs, writers and campaigners. I urge you to watch them. They have now reopened working with the guidelines so if you are near by I urge you to call them and see if you too can experience a little bit of their magic. Simon has aslo turned his hand to campaigning launching the Welsh Independent Collective @w_i_r_c on Insta giving the voice of the independent eatery in Wales the one they deserve. Truly inspirational.
Swper. Box CIC sets out ambitious goals ahead of its Launch this October.
Two Welsh Chefs made redundant during lockdown set up pioneering social enterprise Swper. Box. Ahead of their main launch online in October they have a clear and ambitious strategy to create sustainable jobs and support the regeneration of local Welsh communities.
It’s Wales’s First Recipe Box Subscription Service and the only in the UK operating as a Community Interest Company.
Creating Sustainable Jobs at a Living Wage, Supporting a Supply Chain Network of Sustainable Family Farming/Fishing Communities here in Wales, Ensuring Access to Fresh Nutritious Food and Gaining Tasty-Healthy Cooking Skills.
“There is no choice to make, if you are setting up a new business in the current circumstances it just has to be a Community Interest Company. The challenges ahead of us all are great;
We know there will be people in our communities who need sustainable jobs, training and food education.
We know that people are finding it hard to get access to fresh, nutritious and healthy food.
We know that we all want to support Welsh Fishing, Farming and Sustainable Agriculture.
We know that we need to rebuild our nation for a Healthier, Wealthier and Greener Wales.
That’s why Swper. Box was created”
– co-founder Alex Cook
Early March Alex could see the immediate needs of the local community, involved in setting up a local food bank, by April they were coordinating the delivery of 140 meals daily to the Covid Staff at local hospital Glangwili, isolating their home and kitchen to become a production line for six weeks. But it became clear that the needs of the community were changing and looming redundancies across the local hospitality sector hit home when close friend and co-chef Stuart was out of work with no access to extra support.
“we knew we had to do something to create jobs, we just didn’t know what yet, then we discovered (as a lot of people did at that time) home-delivered recipe boxes and quite honestly thought we can do better.
Better ingredients, better recipes and tastier food, simple. And all the time supporting our local economy, sustainable farming and community regeneration” Alex
Set up during lockdown, Swper. Box CIC has already been shortlisted in the Welsh Start-Up Awards for Social Enterprise of the Year, less than 3 Months after incorporation. They are Wales’s First Recipe Box Subscription Service, the first and only in the UK operating as a Social Enterprise, Community Interest Company; harnessing the Seasonal, Organic and Sustainable Ingredients from here in South Wales. They boldly aim to establish Swper. Box as brand leader here is Wales, gaining position in the market through intelligents collaborations and marketing capabilities.
They really care about making sure they can create and safeguard jobs here in Wales, so ahead of their main online launch in October this year they are limiting the amount of subscribers. This is to make sure they deliver on freshness, quality and support their suppliers as they grow together.
The two things I hated most about lockdown were a) lack of mobility and b) lack of pubs. My response was to engage in a kind of global beer tour, reliving happy times from the past. Of many personal ‘happy places’, the happiest of all is probably relaxing outside an Austrian mountain hut, the satisfaction of a long day of Alpine mountaineering behind me, and kicking back with a local ‘helles’ beer, or perhaps a dunkel. So I recreated it in my tiny north facing back garden with this order of German beers from one of the many small suppliers of obscure brews that sprang up to service lockdown requirements. Having worked my way through the lot, I delved into the highly obscure world of the new wave of Dutch ‘Bock’ beers, ordering from a tiny company that was rushed off its feet. Each order brought a surge of joy into the dull routine of lockdown life, lovingly arranged in the cupboard. Dreaming of Alpine peaks, confined to sea-level: these bottles helped a lot.
Our local pub was not known for its food delights. Just before lockdown the owners decided to retire and the new owners took over at the worst possible time. The word started to spread on the village Facebook site that the new landlord was doing a much revamped menu for delivery only give that we are still under Welsh Covid restrictions. We have it a go. Beef and bone marrow burger, goose fat chips and a spiced jackfruit salad. Delicious and a brave improvement on the former fare. Will this Gastro pub to our dining room become a habit or will we brave the Swans tables when we can?
I bought 4 ‘luxury hot cross buns’ just before lockdown, made by the social enterprise Big River Bakery, Shieldfield, Newcastle. I resisted eating them straight away- the heavenly aroma of spices and orange was almost too much – popped them in the freezer and ate them on Good Friday . Well worth the wait and thanks to Andy Haddon and all at the bakery. Hope you can open your amazing project again soon https//big river bakery.com