One of the (very few) highlights of late has been seeing local food businesses go above and beyond; offering expanded services, like deliveries, to their customers.
I’m sure many of us are in the habit of ‘the big shop’ at our nearest giant supermarket for pure convenience. In a world where that’s become more challenging, consumers are reassessing how they get their food. Local businesses have become the heroes by stepping in and providing incredible solutions.
We have our master list of local food and drink companies offering takeaway services and deliveries, but wanted to highlight a few we’ve used personally and been particularly impressed by. It was very hard to narrow down this list!
There are plenty of businesses we’ve bought from that have been great, and we can’t include them all. These are the people who went above and beyond. We’ll be adding to this list as we try more.
Our favourite deliveries, in no particular order:
At the very start of lockdown, when everything was most chaotic and we were panicking about not being able to get food (as we couldn’t go out and there were no supermarket delivery slots), Bonners saved us. At the time, they were delivering piles of high-quality fresh fruit and veg the same day we ordered it, as well as fish and cheese from other market traders. They’ve been so busy that it’s now a next-day delivery service, but I will always remember and be grateful for how this friendly, family-run business was there for us when things were very stressful. – Hannah
A couple of weeks ago, I was late getting my act together for ordering a friend’s birthday present (because who really knows what day it is any more?) and didn’t remember to sort it out until the night before her birthday. At 8.30pm, I ordered her a box of chocolates to be delivered from Coco Noir, reasoning that they wouldn’t be with her for the actual day, but that it would be better for her to get a late birthday present than not have one at all. The (very delicious, beautifully wrapped) chocolates were with her BEFORE 9.30AM THE NEXT MORNING. – Hannah
I am really missing going to restaurants – basically my only hobby, pre-lockdown – and even I’m getting sick of cooking. I know this is pathetic in the grand scheme but it gets a bit relentless. Three meals a day, every day? Really? Forever? I have to make everything? So I was excited to order a restaurant meal for delivery from The White Hart, and they did not disappoint. Not only was the food wonderful, but so much thought was put into making the experience special, which was a very welcome treat. They included flowers, candles, post-dinner chocolates and cantuccini, and even a little bottle of fizz, free of charge. – Hannah
I’ve been a very loyal Jericho Cheese customer since the day they opened, and have been delighted to be able to get boxes of cheese completely unreasonable in volume for a two-person household delivered to us these past few weeks. Somehow we bravely finished them, despite the excessive quantity. Jericho Cheese have been offering weekly special selection boxes, featuring cheeses from producers who are struggling due to the restaurant trade coming to a standstill. It’s been great to genuinely feel that we’re helping independent businesses while also getting to eat a lot of cheese. Special shout out to Adam who, when I accidentally ordered a box for collection rather than delivery (totally my own fault), came and delivered it to my door in person, knowing that I was isolating and wouldn’t have been able to collect. – Hannah
Will’s has really stepped up in recent weeks, with a wide range of items for delivery on their easy-to-use website. Next day delivery is available if you order before 8pm, same day if you order before 10am. I ordered a box of treats very late one night and they arrived before noon the next day, with some free bananas thrown in. The strawberries were beautiful, the asparagus had literally been picked that morning. And, very excitingly for me, they have FLOUR. Loads of it! Many different types! The fancy stuff from Shipton Mill! Even gluten-free options! – Hannah
I’d not visited Grape Minds before this started. When I was after some wine for actual drinking, rather than just chucking in sauce, I started looking for somewhere local who’d be able to help me find something interesting. I had a really lovely email exchange with Graeme, who was very patient with my vague and ignorant descriptions of what I liked, and recommended beautiful wines tailored to my tastes that arrived the next day. I’m now on their mailing list, and love the friendly, accessible approach they take to wine and the effort they’re putting into keeping customers and community connected. – Hannah
Many are still unaware of the warehouse-style butcher’s shop Aldens have on Osney mead, but it’s a treasure trove of produce; along with their sister business Aldens Fishmarket, previously Haymans Fisheries. The business, which was a key supplier to professional kitchens, quickly adapted to provide delivery services directly to consumers. The online shop has built up to include meat & fish, fruit & veg boxes, deli meats, drinks, coffee, everyday essentials and more. I’ve been particularly impressed with the consistent quality, and the meat selection boxes have been fantastic fridge & freezer fillers, without breaking the bank. Way better than anything you’d get in the supermarket. Who needs queues anyway! – Jacqui
Curry and momos from Taste Tibet were a delicious treat for the whole family. And not only that, they’re offering meals for the NHS, if you buy vouchers when you’re ordering your meal. Food arrives chilled for reheating at home, and instructions are provided for achieving the perfect dumpling crust! Family-sized portions are also available, so you can feed yourself, the family, or fill that freezer for another day. – Jacqui
What better way to cheer up while locked up at home? CAKE! I ordered some Easter treats to deliver to friends, then became the happy recipient of cake for my own birthday. And it was insanely good! My husband is a steadfast Victoria Sponge evangelist and said this was the best he’d ever had. Big praise indeed, but well earned. Julia lives in Summertown and delivers by hand locally, either personalised celebration cakes, cupcakes or baby cupcakes. – Jacqui
The Cowley Road Japanese restaurant has long been a favourite of mine, so when asked what I’d like for my birthday lunch, it was an easy pick! A full-on feast of katsu pumpkin & chicken, various sushi rolls and seaweed salad meant the whole family were well fed. And happily so. – Jacqui
The bicycle courier company were quick to offer an online shop after we settled into lockdown. The store provides fruit & veg, baked goods, coffee, soap, chocolate and more from a variety of local producers, all delivered by their bike couriers. It’s a brilliant way of accessing a number of local businesses without harming the environment in the process. – Jacqui
Also worthy of a mention are businesses my Mum kindly bought birthday gifts from for me: TOAD, Gatineau & The Wonky Food Co. The businesses, in her words, all provided excellent customer service with same or next day delivery by hand. Even on a bank holiday! – Jacqui
Some of these companies are selling day-to-day purchases, and some of these products definitely fall on the ‘treat’ end of the spectrum. However, I personally have found that my general expenditure has fallen sharply lately. Funny how not being able to leave the house will do that! It’s also been a real pleasure spending money supporting local businesses while indulging in one of the few recreational pleasures still available to me – eating and drinking excessively.
Have any local businesses stood out to you for going above and beyond during the past three months of madness?
Have you tried and enjoyed any of these?
We’d love to hear about them it so! Let us know in the comments below, or on socials @BittenOxford.