*This list has since been updated. The situation continues to evolve, and businesses pivot; we felt it was more important to spread the word about more and more fellow small food businesses offering their services direct to consumers, than to limit it to 10.*
With the situation being what it is - ever evolving, uncertain, unprecedented - many of us are suddenly finding ourselves in the confines of our homes. Whether or not we expected it, it's here, and we've had no choice but to turn to online delivery services [even the government said so]. Unless of course you happen to live near the wealth of independent shops and markets scattered across our vast city, and you can shop local; Borough Market, for example. The hospitality industry has also had to adapt to stay afloat; it's seemingly done a complete 180, almost overnight, resulting in an abundance of rather unique delivery services. Which is especially interesting, not only to support small businesses, but particularly as many of the larger, more obvious online delivery options for your groceries, baked goods, and cooked meals, are currently temporarily out of stock.
So, whether you are in lock-down, short on time as an essential worker yourself, self-isolating, or in quarantine, we have compiled a list for you, of brilliantly innovative small businesses, that will meet you at your front door, no direct contact needed, safely social distancing.
The essential ones:
- Groceries: Borough Market Online, for when you you don't live walking distance and can't make it safely to Borough Market to collect a bag or fill a tub of your favourite nibs etc. granola, jar of Butter Nut of London nut butter [personal favourite is the hazelnut and cacao, it tastes like Nutella] or Blackwoods Cheese, or your weekly veggies then head to the online store via GoodSixty, and have it delivered to you. Available to those living in a 3.5 mile radius [watch this space for changes as they expand].
- Produce: We have mentioned Odd Box before and will mention them again. Using wonky or surplus fruit and veg. that would have otherwise gone to waste, delivered to your door on subscription. Natoora and Pale Green Dot were supplying the food service industry - working with some of London's best restaurants. Things changed, that outlet is - temporarily - no longer. With a quick and impressive pivot, between them they now deliver some incredibly high quality, sustainably grown and locally sourced produce in and around London. And if, like me, you LOVE tomatoes, then fear not as you can still get the UK's best tomatoes thanks to The Tomato Stall's new home delivery service; grown right in our back yard on the Isle of Wight.
- Care Packages: Elysia Catering event-catering-company-come specialty-produce home delivery service, they are now offering a selection of food essentials from seasonal and artisan products delivered on a cargo bike, helping their suppliers divert food that might have gone to waste. Social enterprise Fat Macy's are also doing their own version, care packages that you can send to quarantined loved ones or to your isolated self. Working with other social enterprises to bring quality produce to you with a seasonal twist.
- [non]-Dairy: The Estate Dairy have teamed up with dairy, non-dairy producers alike to bring you all the [non]dairy you need, direct to your door. They have also teamed up with Crosstown Doughnuts as part of the Crosstown Collective grocery delivery box, saving jobs and produce that would normally serve the hospitality industry, from being wasted.
- Meat: Ethical Butcher 's sustainable, 100% pasture-fed meat, farmers honour natural systems and farm in ways that increase bio-diversity and regenerate the land. All kinds of boxes available for delivery.
- Baked goods: EK Bakery, home of the London-based letterbox brownie, and sending beautiful, seasonal treats, across the UK.
- Pantry: Hetu, one of the original bulk, packaging-free shops near Clapham Junction has transformed into a click-and-collect, to make sure you can stock up on the dry pantry stuff, safely. As has Re:Store another one of our favourite bulk shops, in Hackney - they even stock our granola [when we're not temporarily out of stock as we navigate the Coronavirus obstacles]. For sustainably British grown beans and pulses, you absolutely have to check out Hodmedods.
- Beverages: from Pact Coffee's 100% specialty grade coffee that goes above and beyond Fairtrade to support every farmer [a sustainable coffee choice to pair with your food waste fighting granola in the morning], to Good and Proper Tea loose leaf teas and Wunder Workshop turmeric drinks, being redirected to customers' homes from their previously allocated hospitality stock.
- Cheese and Wine [because, in times of lockdown, priorities].: The Cheese Bar London 's restaurants forced to close by COVID-19, and so was born the cheese-and-wine-hamper delivery truck, delivering to different postcodes on different days of the week. Head to their Instagram to see when you can get this groovy van delivering to your area @thecheesebarldn. You can also help Neal's Yard Dairy save British cheeses; all over the country artisanal cheese-makers have had their revenue and distribution channels slashed as the hospitality industry as we know it, ground to a hault.
- The General Crush one: for a bit of feel-good, we can always, always count on Pump St. Bakery. Our forever crush, based in Orford, delivering seasonal bread and cakes [think Eccles and Hot Cross Buns] across the country, just when we needed it most. NOW delivering 1kg bags of their phenomenal baking drops [you know, for all those Cookies and Banana Bread you're now making, thanks to social media]. And Calm Cocoa for a sip of chocolate that will - temporarily - wash all your worries away.