Even before lockdown on March 23rd in the UK, the supermarket shelves were emptying. It was reminiscent of my first supermarket trip after being snowed in for 4 days during the Beast from the East in 2018 – when almost all of the aisles in the local Tesco were empty. This time, toilet rolls, tinned goods, pasta, flour and eggs were impossible to find.
Empty vegetable crates and empty tinned goods aisle in Asda
However, our experience of lockdown has been very positive as far as food is concerned. Because the catering industry closed down, its usual suppliers needed alternative sources of income and turned to home deliveries. Many local food and drink businesses which were closed down also created a home delivery system. Local agricultural suppliers did the same and, since East Lothian is the ‘Food and Drink County,’ there is no shortage of produce. Our local vegetable suppliers have included The Mart in East Linton, East Coast Organics and George Anderson in Tranent, but we also indulged in an occasional delivery from Valvona & Crolla in Edinburgh.
My attempt at a Covid-19 related food rainbow
So, we have benefitted by being able to obtain high quality local produce. Meat from John Gilmour butchers in Tranent normally destined for fine dining restaurants in Edinburgh; vegetables grown locally which taste far better than the supermarket variety; flour from Mungoswells malt milling; Ballencrieff sausages; gin from North Berwick distillery; dairy produce from Yester Farm Dairies; artisan cheeses from The Cheese Lady in Haddington.
Yester Farm Dairies makes its first home delivery; Svetlana Kukharchuck, affineur, aka The Cheese Lady
We also discovered The Veg Shed vending machines in Athelstaneford - albeit late on during lockdown - a fantastic source for potatoes, free range eggs and other veg. It is hardly surprising that I have put on a few Coronavirus pounds despite daily exercise.
The Veg Shed, Athelstaneford Mains Farm
Tony’s Roaming Chippy parked up in a number of East Lothian villages once a fortnight serving delicious pre-ordered fish & chips and we have been regular customers during lockdown. The highlight, however, was a home delivered fine dining three course dinner from Wedgwood on the Royal Mile to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, with sirloin steaks the star of the meal.
Tony's Roaming Chippy van in Athelstaneford Village
Here are some of our deliveries and meals created during lockdown. My husband is the cook and I take no credit for the food, only the photographs. We have been happy to support local business and hope that many of the businesses mentioned here will continue to make home deliveries despite lockdown easing.
A 'two-person' meat pack from J Gilmour butchers; a vegetable delivery
One of our deliveries from The Cheese Lady; another fresh vegetable delivery
A North Berwick gin delivery
More fresh vegetables and more cheese :)
Recipes from 'Roasting Tin Around the World by Rukmini Iyer': highly recommended
Another recipe from the book: crabmeat mixed with cream cheese and spices on puff pastry with a tomato salsa; a fresh salad
Brunch courtesy of John Gilmour and the Veg Shed for the eggs