2020 marks the seventh year that we’ve been operating our all-Tasmanian vegie box service, and whilst it started out largely like every other year, back in April the world went upside-down and we went from doing a leisurely 200-odd boxes a week to frantically scrambling to upsize all aspects of the business to cope with almost 350 boxes a week, in the middle of the serious threat of a deadly pandemic! Luckily over the six years preceding Covid we had been able to build relationships with some amazing growers all across Tasmania who were able to meet our increased demands, enabling us to safely deliver fresh food to more homes than ever in what was a fairly volatile situation.
In a record year, we’ve prepared around 13,000 boxes of fresh, local produce, many of which were delivered by a range of local courier agencies, putting over $30,000 into employing locals in these jobs. I’ve personally weighed out over 10 tonnes of potatoes, but wait, there’s more: four thousand bunches of spring onions, eight and a half tonnes of apples, almost nine thousand cos lettuce, two tonnes each of swede and beetroot, eight thousand corn, six thousand cauliflowers, almost nine thousand bunches of herbs, and twelve thousand bunches of carrots! We’ve also bought almost three thousand loaves of bread and three thousand bread rolls of various types from our locally owned and operated bakeries on your behalf, and an army of Tasmanian chickens has supplied almost 50,000 eggs (ouch!) for you to enjoy in no doubt a wide variety of delicious dishes.
The economic effects of the pandemic of 2020 have been wildly variable – whilst it’s actually significantly increased our business, it’s also hit the hospitality sector very hard, and sadly not all the restaurants we were supplying before social distancing have survived. However, over the second half of the year it’s been gratifying to see many of them bouncing back and carrying on despite the many challenges that are still present in this sector. Please don’t forget to support your favourite restaurants, especially those that champion local produce (we can definitely vouch for The Glass House, Gastown East and Driftwood in this regard, but there are plenty more) – you’re not only supporting the people that work there, but all the levels of local people who work to ensure that these restaurants can access quality ingredients for their delicious creations.
One of the aspects of our business I’m most proud of is that it encourages people to switch to a healthier, plant-based diet, by making it easy and convenient to access fresh, in season, nutritious fruit and vegetables. In uncertain times like these hopefully we’ve been able to provide reliable and affordable food, without some of the risks involved in crowded shops, and given consumers like you the confidence to not need to resort to stockpiling pasta, mince and tinned tomatoes for the apocalypse! We really appreciate that you’ve put this confidence in us, and look forward to what will hopefully be a slightly less topsy-turvy year eight of Backyard Bounty.