We are officially in asparagus season, and at Wells Farm Shop in Abingdon their home-grown asparagus is already flying out of the fields and into their delivery vans.
Ordinarily, The Wells Farm Shop and Café located at Peach Croft Farm in Abingdon is busy selling cheese, fruit and vegetables, its cafe open for lunch and drinks.
But having closed their onsite shop due the pandemic, instead they opened an online shop within 48 hours, which proved an immediate success.
Over 800 new customers have already registered with Wells Farm Shop, and the team has processed just over 600 fruit and veg box orders since.
Wells Farm Shop is also a proud supporter of Oxford Hospitals Charity and doing all it can to raise precious funds for the NHS
Boss Bertie Wright said: “We really did set up our online shop in just 48 hours, it’s amazing what you can do when you really need to.
“We have only been running the farm shop for seven months and it would have been very easy to close,” Bertie admits, “but firstly I am a chef and my job is to feed people, and secondly we wanted to provide something for our community.”
Which means, for the last two weeks Bertie Wright and his team have been flat out delivering customer orders.
Bertie and Lucy Wright only took over the Wells Farm Shop and Café last summer. Both have a vast amount of experience within the hospitality industry and have worked at some of Oxford’s finest restaurants – Gees, Quod and The Old Parsonage.
READ OUR OXFORDSHIRE FARM SHOP AND FOOD PRODUCERS DIRECTORY HERE: https://www.oxinabox.co.uk/the-oxfordshire-farm-shops-and-local-producers-doing-a-roaring-trade-during-the-current-crisis-eat-local/
So is Bertie pleased? “It’s all going so well considering the circumstances,” he says. “We’ve had a very good two weeks since closing the shop and starting online.”
As for the asparagus season, customers are already enjoying the freshly harvested delights. Bertie adds: “We have loads of asparagus growing at Peach Croft Farm and are selling it separately, and in our boxes. We could have a growing season of up to eight weeks depending on the weather.”
“This is quite a special time and asparagus is a precious ingredient. It is amazing eaten raw with salt and pepper or cooked for 30 seconds to one minute in boiling salted water and served with pheasant eggs as asparagus soldiers. Pheasant eggs have a very large yolk which is great for dipping. It is equally good with anchovy mayonnaise or soft butter – it’s just so good!” Bertie adds.
Does Bertie think that the recent surge in interest in home cooking will continue when the lockdown ends?
“I think people will become more interested in the provenance of the ingredients they use and will demand better quality produce. So the fact that people are cooking more from scratch can only be a really positive thing.”
Bertie is also keen to support other local producers, and this week a new Oxfordshire Producers Box will be launched. This collection of local cheeses, meats and other produce will include Peach Farm’s own asparagus.
“English cheesemakers are really suffering, they rely on hotels and restaurants for 90% of their business and that has now gone. We are trying to promote their products as much as we can and a box that contains local produce will do just that.”
Wells Farm Shop is also a proud supporter of Oxford Hospitals Charity and doing all it can to raise precious funds for the NHS staff living away from home during the coronavirus, providing hot meals, welfare items and psychological support and equipment where it is most needed.
Wells Farm Shop can be contacted on 01235 535978.