The current global crisis with COVID-19 needs little explanation. With the current uncertainty in the UK, we wanted to take a moment to explain our situation and give some helpful advice for looking after your fermented starter cultures during this time.
28/03/2020 – We have now processed and shipped the majority of orders. If you have placed an order before the 27/03/2020 and have not yet received a dispatched email, that order will be processed before Tuesday.
Due to the UK lockdown and social distancing requirements, we have decided to implement our contingency plan. This involves a split shift system where only 2 workers are on-site at any given time who must adhere to the 2m distance rule. We are extending our opening hours to allow all staff to work. As a food manufacturer, we are unable to work from home.
We are a small business (6 people) and this will have an impact on overall business productivity. If you decide to place an order with us, we ask that you do so knowing that order will not be dispatched as fast as you would normally expect from us. ETA on any orders now placed is 7-12 days.
We have limited access to all ingredients and most of our products look likely to be out of stock for 1-2 weeks yet. We are working hard on this situation.
We will continue to operate until: A) Our premises become inaccessible either due to quarantine or government closure. B) Postal services are unable to collect/deliver orders. C) All staff are unable to work due to sickness. In the event that we are unable to operate due to the above, we will fully refund any order we have not shipped if the customer wishes. For any orders that have already been shipped and get delayed or stuck in the post, we will replace that culture if it fails to ferment on arrival.
We have disabled priority and next day shipping. We are unable to meet the demand.
Current ETA on any order placed is 7-12 working days.
Like the majority of food businesses, we are experiencing high levels of panic buying. While we who heartedly appreciate the purchases, this has placed a great strain on our small team of packers who are working day and night to get orders processed and shipped. Please only buy what you really require at this time. We reserve the right to cancel and refund any orders we feel are unfair to our other customers. We appreciate supplies and ingredients are in short supply, but that is now starting to change.
Royal Mail is struggling to cope with the demand. They have disabled special deliveries. We are expecting delays on all post, although now most businesses have closed this situation seems to be improving.
28/03/20 – Amazon Prime is now working as expected for any of our Amazon customers.
Parcel Force is coping. We have reports on some orders being delayed. Some collections from us have not happened. Overall the vast majority of the network seems fine.
APC Overnight – No issues. Coping well and we will ship most large orders now with APC.
We have now upscaled production to meet the demand. We have limited access to organic flour but have enough to see us through the next 2 weeks. This situation is likely to improve now as flour is being distributed to suppliers.
No bread flour – The issue with flour goes right up to the very top of the supply chain at the flour mill level. Wheat and grains are milled based on forecasting software that looks at historical data and trends. Nobody could have predicted what has just happened over the last few weeks with the panic buying situation. I want to reassure everyone that flour is produced in the UK. Even in the event of a countrywide lockdown, food manufacturers will still be able to operate. All food manufacturers are now upscaling production (including ourselves) but it will take time for these products to be distributed. We have implemented a rationing system already on our website. Once stock returns we will limit the amount of flour that can be purchased. In hindsight, we regret shipping out orders which often contained over 30 bags of flour. If you are one of those customers, we ask that you please share that flour with others.
MILK KEFIR PRODUCTS:
We have removed the organic status of our milk kefir grains and drinks allowing us to access all available milk. We will keep you updated on that situation as it evolves.
We are currently very well stocked on freeze-dried yoghurts. We could however at some stage face the same issues listed above with milk kefir grains.
We now have kombucha back in stock, albeit it still needs to be processed and we are working on that. Small amounts will start to go back into stock.
KITS AND DRINKS:
We have taken all kits out of stock. These items take longer to pack and are slowing us down further. We do have stock and aim to have these back up ASAP. We may place a small number of kits back in stock over the next week or two.
We are unable to manufacture drinks in the current demand crisis. Although some drinks with a short turn around time (kefir) will be available, we have directed all sales to our friends at Blighty Booch who makes some fantastic kombucha. You will find those products on our drinks menu.
THIRD PARTY PRODUCTS:
Despite current circumstances, from the government announcements today (20/03/20) it does not look like delivery services are not going to suddenly stop running anytime soon. We will continue to push on and get as many orders out as we possibly can from Monday.
We are arranging evening shifts and packaging from home roles so that parents can work during school closures. We are eligible for our children to attend as “keyworkers” but we are unsure if that is the ethical decision to make with what is going on.
The main reception desk for our premises is now closed. This is causing issues with deliveries and collections. We are working on this.
Freshly fermented hold a 5-star hygiene rating which was recently regranted after an unannounced inspection on 05/03/2020. You can view our rating by clicking here.
All of our staff are trained in food safety management and we are adopting even more stringent hygiene and cleaning routines to further aid in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Current evidence shows that the virus does not last for long on surfaces and any virus found on the packaging or food would be dead on arrival after shipping. COVID-19 requires a human host for survival. Food and food packaging is not high risk.
Should the situation arise that you are unable to obtain the ingredients to keep your ferments active, please follow these procedures:
Milk Kefir, Water Kefir, and Ginger Beer Plant:
Strain the grains, put them into something airtight and freeze them. Grains can also be left to dry or be dehydrated. Both methods will require some patience during the reactivation stage. They will fully recover within 2 weeks.
Sourdough is very hardy and will survive many months in the fridge unfed. However, we recommend that you freeze your starter. It will revive very fast once defrosted.
Kombucha and vinegar mothers:
These need to be stored in an airtight container with some starter tea/vinegar. Keep them at room temperature. They will keep for years. Just make up fresh batches when you are ready and continue where you left off.
Paste a thin layer onto parchment paper or a plate. Allow it to fully dry and dehydrate. Revive with fresh water, sugar, and ginger.
Sadly, yogurts do not always cope well with being frozen or dried out. We would recommend freezing them over dehydration for the best success. Freeze a reasonable amount and expect to use 4 times the usual amount of starter on the initial batch.