“Knock knock open wide, knock knock anymore, come with me through the magic door” do you recognise this? I thought I would bring you through the magic door of this last week on our farm.
Frozen kale and purple sprouting broccoli, frozen cabbage and sprouts, frozen swedes and beets and leeks, frozen ground with parsnips and carrots, lettuce and spinach in our tunnels frozen, luckily, all survived but harvest was impossible. We had anticipated poor weather conditions in January and had prepared by bulk harvesting many of the more stable crops, like swede, parsnips, beetroot and carrots and we were lucky to get some greens harvested before Monday as all work on the farm came to a halt on Monday. We had also taken the pre-emptive step of getting all our other supplies in before the 1st because of Brexit. All of this did not prepare us for week 1 of 2021. It has been a challenging week, we have been insanely busy for many reasons, the lock down contributing its part and we have struggled.
Normally you will never hear of any of the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes into getting your boxes onto your doorstep, and rightly so. This week though, I thought it only right to give you a glimpse into our world. This week getting organic produce has been difficult, one of our main Irish organic farm suppliers cancelled two very large orders due to pressure from supermarkets to get produce out because of the lockdown, our Irish mushroom supplier could only give us half of our normal order. A supplier we work very closely with in Spain cancelled all their key produce, their organic farmers were also struggling with an intensely and unusual cold spell that had brought production to a rapid end.
The icing on the cake was Brexit which has meant further delays and requirements for extra paperwork and customs checks. There has been the behind the scenes scrabbling to get produce, the delays of pallets arriving, the poor-quality produce that has to be graded by hand because of frost damage, the long conversations, the hundreds of phone calls, all remains hidden. The turmoil of the crazy packing, the days have been exceptionally long, and it takes two shifts, the first one starting at 5am and the final one leaving at 10.30pm most days to get your boxes out the door. The temperature in the packing shed has been close to zero on most days and the packers have put in a phenomenal effort.
The frozen tractors that won’t start in the mornings, the fleeces that need to be added to the crops to keep the produce from freezing, the numb fingers and the layers upon layers of clothes that are worn to maintain a modicum of normal body temperature – these are the things you will not usually hear about. The crazy amount of administration and the long hours of the admin team and the tireless work of the drivers who are putting in long, long days in treacherous driving conditions to get the boxes onto your doorsteps.
Usually, the result is the same, the boxes go out, they get dropped to your door on time with what you expect. This week was a little different for some of you and for that I apologise. There have been delays, contents in boxes have been changed, and some items were not available to send to you.
Next week will be better. We are grateful as always to be of service and to have the business when many don’t. We know we are lucky and most of all we are thankful for your understanding, patience and continuing good will and custom.
PS. Ordering early or setting up a weekly subscription helps us a lot so please get next weeks orders in here or email us to set up a subscription (for Dublin and Wicklow addresses email firstname.lastname@example.org, for everyone else email email@example.com and our friendly team will call you back and get you set up).
All of our set boxes are plastic free and much of our grocery list is too.