COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown has led to a healthy growth in sales of organic food across the county and for local companies.

Demand for home delivery during the pandemic has led consumers to think harder about what they eat, preferring to look for local supplies of the best ingredients.

Two companies - The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes), in the Eden Valley, has been supplying food delivery service Eva’s Organics, based at Low Luckens Farm, near Carlisle, with locally produced free range, organic eggs since the start of the year and both businesses have seen sales growth.

Debbie, Mike, and Robert Simpson own and run Eva’s Organics, the organic fruit and veg box delivery service which prepared their first boxes in 1998. They were looking for an organic partner to extend the range they could offer customers.

Mr Simpson said “Being a conscious consumer and knowing where your food comes from is important. We’re not just a family business – we’re developing a way of life that can be sustainable.”

David and Helen Brass who own and run The Lakes Free Range Egg Company, have followed ethical egg production since 1997, with animal welfare and environmental provenance at the heart of their business. Recognised as industry leading, they hold a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Production and an International Gold Apple Award for Environmental Best Practice.

Mr Brass, CEO at The Lakes added: “Consumers have been keen to support local suppliers during lockdown and here is real evidence that they are looking for quality ingredients.

“And whilst the economy is in recession, consumer evidence suggests that most consumers aren’t ready to trade down.”

This local trend mirrors what is happening across the UK where sales of organic food and drink have grown for the eighth consecutive year, rising by 4.5 percent to a record £2.45bn.

According to industry research, the biggest single growth channel was online retail and home delivery – including organic veg box schemes – where sales rose by 11.2 percent.

The rise has come as part of #OrganicSeptember, a month-long campaign, organised by the Soil Association, to raise awareness of the benefits of organic food and farming.